Saturday, October 22, 2005

Beached Party

Beached Party:
"REPUBLICANS PREPARE FOR LIFE AFTER BUSH.
Beached Party
by Ryan Lizza
Post date 10.21.05 | Issue date 10.31.05

That was fast. Last month, George W. Bush was the leader of the conservative movement. This month, he's a traitor. 'I don't think that Bush was ever one of us,' says Bruce Bartlett, the conservative columnist and former Reagan and Bush 41 official. 'And conservatives knew that. He was the anointed one. You can tell if someone is really part of your movement or not or whether he's someone from the outside. He's never said or written anything that would lead one to believe he has any clue what movement conservatism is all about. You were stuck with what you had, and I think conservatives made the best of it.'..."


Wow. Thanks to gnostinews for this. Gee, they really do eat their wounded.

Fitzgerald Has Web Site Up And Running!

Special Prosecutor in CIA Leak Case Starts Web Site:
"Special counsel Patrick J. Fitzgerald told attorneys for administration officials late last week that he was nearing decisions about possible charges. Without fanfare, the office put up a site at http://www.usdoj.gov/usao/iln/osc .

'It sure doesn't look like he's folding up his tent and going home without some charges,' said one lawyer involved in the case who asked not to be identified."

A Palpable Silence at the White House

A Palpable Silence at the White House:
"For a president and a White House accustomed to controlling their political circumstances in a one-party town, the culmination of the leak investigation represents another in a string of events beyond their grasp. Like Hurricane Katrina, the Iraq war and rising gasoline prices, there is little at the moment that Bush strategists can do to alter the political equation."


Beyond their grasp? They drove us into the war in Iraq, which is one of the reasons for the rising gasoline prices (others include the lack of a responsible energy strategy, the closing of refineries by the oil companies in order to drive prices up in the first place, and Katrina, of course, but that means that three out of these were their own doing if you believe that Bush IS big oil), and now they can't get out of it as winners because nobody can win against a committed insurgency (just ask the Romans, the Germans, the Russians, the U.S. -- don't we ever learn?) without wiping out the entire populace or at least destroying the target nation's ability to survive.

It was the war itself, their obsession with Iraq, that created this scandal in the first place. This incident is not "beyond their grasp," it is what happens when events are IN their grasp! The political repurcussions of Katrina are the result of who and what they are and what they did not do because of these.

But the road that led them to this moment is paved with potholes that Bush aides privately concede they could have avoided, and many Republicans are examining the situation for deeper issues to address. From the failed effort to restructure Social Security to the uproar over the Miers nomination to the Supreme Court, Bush's second-term operation has been far more prone to mistakes than his first.

In the view of many Republicans, fatigue may be one factor affecting the once smooth-running White House. Chief of Staff Andrew H. Card Jr. gets up each day at 4:20 a.m., arrives at his office a little over an hour later, gets home between 8:30 and 9 p.m. and often still takes calls after that; he has been in his pressure-cooker job since Bush was inaugurated, longer than any chief of staff in decades. 'He looks totally burned out,' a Republican strategist said.

Others, including Rove, Bolten, counselor Dan Bartlett, senior adviser Michael J. Gerson and press secretary Scott McClellan, have been running at full tilt since 1999, when the Bush team began gearing up in Austin for the first campaign."


Yeah, it's fatigue all right! We are all sick and tired of being handled like third rate servants and cannon fodder for the rich and powerful. We're tired of being ripped off as our tax money flows into the coffers of Haliburton and Exxon and Bechtel and Raytheon. We're tired of deregulating big corporations that never have our interests in mind as they rape and pillage the planet and pollute our air and water. We're tired having our important life-supporting institutions being dismantled or mismanaged while our civil liberties and personal freedoms are systematically stripped away by ever-increasing government invasiveness and control in the name of fighting an enemy that the conservative, selfish, greedy, ideological wingnuts themselves created.

We're tired of increasing poverty here and abroad while the rich get obscenely richer. We're tired of being ridiculed on the world stage because our "leaders" lie, cheat and bully to get their way while disregarding international law and worldwide crises.

We're tired of having our democracy destroyed by a handful of powerful men and women who are willing to fix election results through gerrymandering and disenfranchisement to get their way at any cost.

And most of all, we're tired of this administration and its culture of corruption. We're sick and tired enough to get off our asses and do something about it, and that's what it takes to make a change.

Times: Miller May Have Misled Editors

Times: Miller May Have Misled Editors - Yahoo! News:
"'Judy seems to have misled' Times Washington bureau chief Bill Taubman about the extent of her involvement, Keller wrote.

Taubman asked Miller in the fall of 2003 whether she was among the reporters who had gotten leaks about the identity of covert CIA officer Valerie Plame.

'Ms. Miller denied it,' the newspaper reported in a weekend story.

[...]

Keller said he might have been more willing to compromise with Fitzgerald over Miller's testimony "if I had known the details of Judy's entanglement with Libby."

In response, Miller told the Times that Keller's memo was "seriously inaccurate," the newspaper said in a story for Saturday editions. It reported that in a memo to Keller, Miller wrote she "never meant to mislead Phil (Taubman), nor did I mislead him."

As for Keller's remark about "my `entanglement' with Mr. Libby, I had no personal, social, or other relationship with him except as a source," Miller wrote.

Miller's attorney, Bob Bennett, told The Washington Post that it was "absolutely false" to suggest she withheld information about a June 2003 meeting with Libby, saying the conversation hadn't seemed like "a big deal at the time.""


Didn't seem like a big deal?! Gee, Judy, I guess you were wrong about that, too.

Judy is toast. Keller was her last legitimate supporter, and he's obviously trying to drop her like a hot potato now. She better get her act together and come totally clean with the feds or face a much longer stay in the pokey than she's already had. The pose as media martyr is crumbling like a ten year old twinky.

The Suspense Is Killing Me

Cover-Up Issue Is Seen as Focus in Leak Inquiry - New York Times:
"Mr. Rove and Mr. Libby have been advised that they may be in serious legal jeopardy, the lawyers said, but only this week has Mr. Fitzgerald begun to narrow the possible charges. The prosecutor has said he will not make up his mind about any charges until next week, government officials say.

With the term of the grand jury expiring in one week, though, some lawyers in the case said they were persuaded that Mr. Fitzgerald had all but made up his mind to seek indictments."


I'll be disappointed if the indictments stop at the aides and don't continue all the way to the WHIG, but seeing a mug shot of Rove will be sweet. This is going to be an interesting week, for sure.

Friday, October 21, 2005

Bird Flu Getting Closer

Bird flu found in parrot in British quarantine - Yahoo! News:
"Traces of the highly pathogenic H5 avian flu virus were found in the parrot imported from Suriname, South America, and held with other birds from Taiwan, a ministry statement said."

Frist Donated to Campaign After HCA Sale | Democrats.com

Frist Donated to Campaign After HCA Sale | Democrats.com

Firedoglake Rules

firedoglake

For an incisive and very readable workup of the Traitorgate case and the leadup to the pending indictments, firedoglake is one of the very best. RedHedd, you are a goddess!

Fitzgerald Got Report On Forged Niger Uranium Document

A Tiny Revolution: Actual Real News

If this report is true (I highly recommend reading it), the Plame affair could ignite a conflagration of charges and topple the administration itself, should Fitzgerald decide to go public with all the details. The American people, gullible as they may be, were purposely hoodwinked into going to war for all the wrong reasons, and the people responsible must be brought to justice sooner than later.

Yee-haaa! Go Dennis, Go!

Kucinich Uses Resolution Of Inquiry To Demand Documents From White House Group That Developed Strategy To "Sell" War | AfterDowningStreet.org:
"'This group, comprised of the President and Vice President's top aides, was critical in selling the Administration's case for war,' stated Kucinich. 'We now know that the Administration hyped intelligence and misled the American public and Congress in their effort to 'sell' the war. After over 1,900 American troops have been killed in Iraq, it is long past time for this Congress to ask serious questions about WHIG and its role in the lead up to the war.'"

It's time for Dennis Kucinich to let his inner bulldog out. Dennis as VP to Hillary? I wish!

DeLay Delays With Two-Step Shuffle By Lawyers

DeLay in Court; Lawyers Request New Judge - Yahoo! News:
"In respectful tones, DeGuerin noted that Perkins had donated money to MoveOn.org, a liberal organization that he said has been 'selling T-shirts with Mr. DeLay's mug shot on it.'

'Let me just say I haven't ever seen that T-shirt, number one. Number two, I haven't bought it. Number three, the last time I contributed to MoveOn that I know of was prior to the November election last year, when they were primarily helping Sen. Kerry,' responded the judge.

'All we want is a fair trial and a fair tribunal,' DeGuerin told reporters outside the courthouse.

Prosecutor Ronnie Earle signaled he intends to contest the request for a new judge.

'What this means is if a judge had contributed to Crime Stoppers that judge could not hear a burglary case,' Earle said. 'Carried to its extreme, that is what I think this motion means and I think that's absurd.'"


You go, Ronnie! I've seen the mugshot. It sucks! Where's the real shot, you know, with the numbers and height lines?

And Then He Had To Go Out And Buy Shoes...

FEMA Official Says Boss Ignored Warnings - Yahoo! News:
"WASHINGTON - In the midst of the chaos that followed Hurricane Katrina, a Federal Emergency Management Agency official in New Orleans sent a dire e-mail to Director Michael Brown saying victims had no food and were dying. No response came from Brown.

Instead, less than three hours later, an aide to Brown sent an e-mail saying her boss wanted to go on a television program that night — after needing at least an hour to eat dinner at a Baton Rouge, La., restaurant."


This guy really makes me sick. I'm surprised the CF's aren't using Brownie as a case against human cloning. And the email was sent two days after the storm struck!

Fire In Rove's Pants

Possible cover-up a focus in CIA leak case: lawyers - Yahoo! News:
"While Fitzgerald could still charge administration officials with knowingly revealing Plame's identity, several lawyers in the case said he was more likely to seek charges for easier-to-prove crimes such as making false statements, obstruction of justice and disclosing classified information. He may also bring a broad conspiracy charge, the lawyers said.

Legal sources said Rove may be in legal jeopardy for initially not telling the grand jury he talked to Time magazine reporter Matt Cooper about Plame. Rove only recalled the conversation after the discovery of an e-mail message he sent to Stephen Hadley, then the deputy national security adviser."


Rove reminds me of those administrators that you had to have confirmation replies set for in every email so he couldn't pretend not to have read the note at the next meeting. "Oh, yeah! Now I remember..."

Defense lawyer in Saddam case abducted and killed

Defense lawyer in Saddam case abducted and killed - Yahoo! News:
"BAGHDAD (Reuters) - A defense lawyer for one of Saddam Hussein's co-defendants was shot dead after being abducted, police said on Friday, in a grim new twist to a case meant to turn the page on Iraq's bloody past."

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Majikthise : There has never been a hurricane like Wilma

Majikthise : There has never been a hurricane like Wilma:
"This is an incredibly compact, amazingly intense hurricane, the likes of which has never been seen in the Atlantic."

Chertoff Says FEMA's Lack of Planning to Blame

Chertoff Says FEMA's Lack of Planning to Blame - Los Angeles Times:
"WASHINGTON -- The Federal Emergency Management Agency's lack of planning, not the failures of state and local officials, was to blame for much of what went wrong with the government's response to Hurricane Katrina, Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff told member of Congress today.

The assessment by the most senior administration official to answer legislators' questions since the hurricane struck in late August contrasted sharply with testimony offered earlier by former FEMA Director Michael Brown. Brown had blamed the 'dysfunction' of Louisiana state and local officials for the problems that hobbled the relief effort."


I missed this one. Thanks to America Blog for the catch. Chertoff actually shows some backbone here. I wonder if he'll be invited to the WH Christmas dinner this year.

Bush whacked Rove on CIA leak

New York Daily News - Home - Daily News Exclusive: Bush whacked Rove on CIA leak:
"Bush has always known that Rove often talks with reporters anonymously and he generally approved of such contacts, one source said.

But the President felt Rove and other members of the White House damage-control team did a clumsy job in their campaign to discredit Plame's husband, Joseph Wilson, the ex-diplomat who criticized Bush's claim that Saddam Hussen tried to buy weapons-grade uranium in Niger.

A second well-placed source said some recently published reports implying Rove had deceived Bush about his involvement in the Wilson counterattack were incorrect and were leaked by White House aides trying to protect the President."


This is the article that opened the door to the pResident's being guilty of lying to the public and hindering justice in the Plame case. It could also lead to the conclusion that Bush was in on the deceptions being promoted as excuses for invading Iraq. Impeach him now!

New York Daily News - World & National Report - Prez Iraq team fought to squelch war critics

New York Daily News - World & National Report - Prez Iraq team fought to squelch war critics:
"WASHINGTON - It was called the White House Iraq Group and its job was to make the case that Saddam Hussein had nuclear and biochemical weapons.

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

[...]

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

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

Originally published on October 19, 2005"


Heads should be rolling. Where's the outrage, people?! The facts are starting to pile up, and I want more than the dubious pleasure of saying "I told you so," I want these people in jail!

Wilma Sets Barometric Pressure Record

Wilma Sets Barometric Pressure Record - Yahoo! News:
"Wilma dropped from 982 millibars to 882 millibars in 24 hours, or a rate of 4.2 millibars an hour. Gilbert dropped at 3 millibars an hour over 24 hours. Wilma also fell 9.7 millibars an hour over six hours early Wednesday, beating Hurricane Beulah's drop of 6.3 millibars an hour in six hours in 1967.

The lowest pressure ever recorded in a tropical cyclone was 870 millibars in Typhoon Tip in the northwest Pacific Ocean in 1979."

Army Guard Short of Equipment at Home

Army Guard Short of Equipment at Home - Yahoo! News:
"As of June, Army National Guard units had left overseas more than 64,000 pieces of equipment worth more than $1.2 billion, and more than half cannot be accounted for by the Army, according to the report by the Government Accountability Office.

On average, National Guard units at home have only 34 percent of their essential war-fighting equipment, said the report released at a hearing of the House Committee on Government Reform."


This verifies what many were saying after Katrina hit, that The Guard didn't have the equipment they needed here at home because it was in Iraq. The GAO keeps pointing out the idiocy of this administration because they have to keep an accounting of funds and materiel. They're about the only place any "accountability" takes place in D.C. these days.

Guess He Didn't Get The Memo

FEMA Official Says Boss Ignored Warnings - Yahoo! News:
"Marty Bahamonde, regional director of FEMA, told a Senate panel investigating the government's response to the disaster that after the storm hit on Aug. 29, he gave regular updates to then-FEMA Director Michael Brown of the worsening situation at the Superdome, where many of the evacuees were sheltered.

[...]

'I told him that the Superdome conditions were deplorable, and that we desperately needed food and water,' Bahamonde said in testimony to the Senate
Homeland Security panel. 'I believed at the time and still do today, that I was confirming the worse-case scenario that everyone had always talked about regarding New Orleans.'

His testimony contradicts Brown, who has said he didn't learn of the conditions until days later and that local officials were most responsible for the sluggish response."


Somebody telling the truth in Washington? He must have dumped the kool aid in the planter. Get this guy a flack jacket and a medal!

Iraq Now A Grad School For Terrorists

Iraq now a terror training center-Canada spy boss - Yahoo! News
"Jim Judd, director of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service, told the Toronto Star newspaper that a new generation of militants was using the war in Iraq to get first-hand experience.

"We all obviously hope the conflict in Iraq ends soon, but then worry about what all these people are going to do," he said. "They will re-migrate around the world and return home."


This was predicted by those who opposed the war in Iraq citing the lack of any connection to al Qaeda (before the war), the lack of WMD programs in Iraq, the lack of a legitimate reason to invade, and the lack of any brains in the White House. Some American generals have said the same, before being ushered off into the background.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

The Wolves Are Circling...(heh-heh!)

:
"The Daily News account appeared to contradict assertions earlier this month by sources close to the case that Rove had kept his role from Bush, assuring him in a brief conversation in the fall of 2003 that he was not involved in any effort to punish Wilson by disclosing his wife's identity.

The Daily News said those earlier reports implying Rove had deceived Bush about his involvement in the Wilson counterattack were incorrect and were leaked by White House aides trying to protect the president.

'I urge you to immediately and publicly clear up the record,' Schumer wrote.

'When was the president told?' asked the ranking Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee, Rep. John Conyers of Michigan."


I haven't felt this good since '73!

Did Bush Lie To Fitz?

The Anonymous Liberal: The President's Story: Take Two

For some excellent coverage and analysis of the salient points of traitor-gate, this is a great source.

As far as Bush having lied, well, when has he ever told the truth? Can it be proven? Let's hope Fitzgerald has the goods. If he does, and if he has same for the whole White House Iraq Group, he will go down as the greatest prosecutor in American history.

Agent Reinstated After 9/11 Criticism

News from The Associated Press:
"CHICAGO (AP) -- The Justice Department ordered the FBI to reinstate a Chicago anti-terrorism agent who had faced possible dismissal for accusing the bureau of not doing enough to prevent the Sept. 11 attacks.

The FBI had suspended and was trying to fire Agent Robert G. Wright Jr. for alleged insubordination, unprofessional conduct and talking to the media without bureau approval.

[...]

Wright held a news conference in 2003 during which he referred to FBI's International Terrorism Unit as a "complete joke" and also appeared on a network news program."


Nice to see a whistle blower win his case, but why do they always have a case to win or lose in the first place. Isn't there a law against punishing whistle blowers in the first place?

Insider Helping With Traitor-gate Investigation

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

[...]

"Fitzgerald may be looking at a broader conspiracy case of pre-war machinations by the White House Iraq Group (WHIG) and by the Pentagon’s ultra-secret Office of Net Assessment, the former operating out of Dick Cheney’s office and tasked with “selling” the war in Iraq, and the latter operating out of Defense Under Secretary for Policy, Douglas Feith’s office and tasked with creating a war to “sell,” as some describe.

[...]

"Hannah is currently under investigation by U.S. authorities for his alleged activities in an intelligence program run by the controversial Iraqi National Congress (INC) and its leader, Ahmed Chalabi."
-- thanks to ATR

I don't know about anyone else, but it sure looks to me like this investigation is climbing the tree all the way to the Oval Office, although it will probably stop at Cheney's desk unless some incriminating piece of evidence escapes the dungeons of the White House information sink hole.

If the WHIG is indicted as a whole, and found guilty, that would take Condy Rice out of contention for any run at office after Bush. For some inconceivable reason, she's being touted as the one Republican who could beat Hillary in '08. Why anybody likes this woman as a leader of the free world is beyond me, but then again, so is Bush.

Wilma strongest hurricane on record!

Wilma strongest hurricane on record - Yahoo! News:
"The season's record-tying 21st storm, fueled by the warm waters of the northwest Caribbean Sea, strengthened alarmingly into a Category 5 hurricane, the top rank on the five-step scale of hurricane intensity.

A U.S. Air Force reconnaissance plane measured maximum sustained winds of 175 mph, with higher gusts, the U.S.
National Hurricane Center said.

The plane also recorded a minimum pressure of 882 millibars, the lowest value ever observed in the Atlantic basin. That meant Wilma was stronger than any storm on record, including Katrina, which devastated New Orleans in late August, and Rita, which hit the Texas-Louisiana coast in September"


Wilma could be the worst disaster yet waiting to happen. It's a good thing it's not heading for New Orleans, but Florida could be in for big trouble.

Ironically, just when most people were starting to feel like we must be over the worst of it, this storm shows up and breaks the records for power and strength. There's still six weeks left to the season, and it doesn't appear as though the waters of the Atlantic basin have cooled any.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Oh, Crap!

Wilma upgraded to hurricane:
"Miami - Tropical Storm Wilma strengthened into a hurricane on Tuesday on a path that could threaten Florida by the weekend, tying the record for the most hurricanes to form in an Atlantic season.

Wilma is the 12th hurricane of the season, a number reached once before in 1969 since record keeping began in 1851. <>At 11:00 (15:00 GMT), Wilma had top sustained winds of near 121km/h."


Fred and Barney were unavailable for comment.

Leak Discrepancy Effect Unclear

Top News Article | Reuters.com:
"It is unclear how the discrepancy might affect the investigation. The former intelligence official said the WINPAC error could bolster Libby's defense, if he were charged with intentionally compromising the identity of a covert operative, since most Winpac employees are not undercover.

'It may actually be helpful to him by showing he was acting under a misimpression and it wasn't an intentional outing of a known undercover officer,' the official said."


OK, but if Libby thought she wasn't undercover, what's the motivation for "outing" her identity? How does that do anything for their cause? It doesn't make sense, but then, why should it?

Report: Fitzgerald Focusing On Direct Cheney Involvement

Think Progress » Report: Fitzgerald Focusing On Direct Cheney Involvement:
"From Bloomberg News:

A special counsel is focusing on whether Vice President Dick Cheney played a role in leaking a covert CIA agent’s name, according to people familiar with the probe that already threatens top White House aides Karl Rove and Lewis Libby…Fitzgerald has questioned Cheney’s communications adviser Catherine Martin and former spokeswoman Jennifer Millerwise and ex-White House aide Jim Wilkinson about the vice president’s knowledge of the anti-Wilson campaign and his dealings on it with Libby, his chief of staff, the people said."


Cue the Darth Vader theme music, please.

Think Progress » Fox News Pushing “Criminalization of Politics” Talking Point

Think Progress » Fox News Pushing “Criminalization of Politics” Talking Point:
"Conservative defenders of Karl Rove and Scooter Libby have settled on their No. 1 talking point: the grand jury investigation into the CIA leak scandal represents the “criminalization of politics.”

In other words, they say, the outing of a covert CIA agent in a time of war to punish a whistleblower is just everyday “politics” — nothing out of the ordinary, certainly nothing criminal. In fact, according to conservatives (as articulated by the National Review), the “criminalizing of politics” is actually “the most dangerous fire of this ordeal.”

To spread this talking point across the nation, the right has received a major assist from Fox News. According to a database search, every single television reference to the CIA leak scandal as the “criminalization of politics” in the last 30 days has been on Fox. Even more stunning: on every occassion, the phrase was introduced into the segment by a Fox News anchor or correspondent, never by a guest."


Fox News is pretty much a total propaganda channel at this point. It reminds me of the "news" people in Babylon 5 after the VP assassinated the elected president and took control. Of course, that couldn't happen here and now; we don't have an elected president.

Monday, October 17, 2005

Incorrect Info To Help (Or Hinder) CIA Leak Investigation

uticaOD.com - The Observer-Dispatch:
"WASHINGTON (AP) -- Information attributed to Vice President Dick Cheney's chief of staff in New York Times reporter Judith Miller's interview notes is incorrect, offering prosecutors a potential lead to tracking the bad information to its original source.

Miller disclosed this weekend that her notes of a conversation she had with I. Lewis 'Scooter' Libby on July 8, 2003 stated Cheney's top aide told her that the wife of Bush administration critic Joseph Wilson worked for the CIA's Weapons Intelligence, Non-Proliferation, and Arms Control (WINPAC) unit."


Was it a mistake, or something more sinister? Unknowingly leaking the identity of an undercover operative is not a crime. Is this how Libby and the others expect to get off? Is it a red herring thrown out to muddy the already mirky waters of the case?

Even if the inaccuracy helps determine the source, what does it do for the case as a whole? The perpetrators are experienced obfuscators and conspiratists. Remember how Olly North got off from criminal charges in the Iran-Contra debacle due to legal technicalities? It didn't matter that he did break the law, he wasn't convictable. These people know how to manipulate the law, how to subvert the rules. Fitzgerald will have to be on his toes, and a veritable superman when it comes to seeing through the walls of political subterfuge. I wish him all the luck in the world, because he's going to need it.

The Talent Show: Rule of Law?

The Talent Show: Rule of Law?:
"Based on the GOP party line about 'Criminalizing Politics' and 'Criminalizing Conservatives', you'd think that something that was previously legal was being...y'know, criminalized. I've been under the impression that money laundering, insider trading, and treason were already considered crimes...

If history is a reliable indicator of conservative wonkishness, the next logical step will be a Republican movement to 'deregulate' any blatantly criminal behavior that benefits the GOP. After all, it worked so well with price fixing, environmental destruction, and union-busting."

Abramoff investigation has GOP holding its breath

Abramoff investigation has GOP holding its breath: "Abramoff is at the center of ever more complicated inquiries that touch on subjects as wide-ranging as allegations of influ- ence-peddling in Congress and the White House, a gangland-style slaying in Florida and political shenanigans in Guam.

[...]

Abramoff has had close connections with leading Republicans, including Bush; U.S. Rep. Tom DeLay of Sugar Land, the former House majority leader; Sen. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania; party strategist Grover Norquist, head of Americans for Tax Reform; and strategist Ralph Reed, the former Christian Coalition executive director and Bush campaign official who is now running for lieutenant governor of Georgia."

Cue soundtrack: Twist and Shout!

Dobson Was Told Meiers Would Overturn Roe v. Wade

OpinionJournal - John Fund on the Trail:
"On Oct. 3, the day the Miers nomination was announced, Mr. Dobson and other religious conservatives held a conference call to discuss the nomination. One of the people on the call took extensive notes, which I have obtained. According to the notes, two of Ms. Miers's close friends--both sitting judges--said during the call that she would vote to overturn Roe.

[...]

Harriet Miers is a "superstealth" nominee--a close friend of the president with no available paper trail who keeps her cards so close to her chest they might as well be plastered on it. If Ms. Miers is confirmed, it will reinforce the popular belief that the Supreme Court is more about political outcomes than the rule of law."

How a Lobbyist Stacked the Deck

How a Lobbyist Stacked the Deck

Sunday, October 16, 2005

An Open Blog To Bill O'Reilly From Theodore Roosevelt

Kung Fu Monkey:
"Teddy explained in 1918 that the president is merely the most important among a large number of public servants, and:

'He should be supported or opposed exactly to the degree which is warranted by his good conduct or bad conduct, his efficiency or inefficiency in rendering loyal, able and disinterested service to the nation as a whole.


'Therefore it is absolutely necessary that there should be full liberty to tell the truth about his acts, and this means that it is exactly necessary to blame him when he does wrong as to praise him when he does right. Any other attitude in an American citizen is both base and servile.

'To announce that there must be no criticism of the president, or that we are to stand by the president, right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public. Nothing but the truth should be spoken about him or anyone else. But it is even more important to tell the truth, pleasant or unpleasant, about him than about any one else.'"

Think Progress » Rice: After 9-11 “We Could Decide the Proximate Cause Was Al Qaeda”

Think Progress » Rice: After 9-11 “We Could Decide the Proximate Cause Was Al Qaeda”:
"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…or we could take a bolder approach."

We could go after the people who attacked us, or we could use it as an excuse to go into Iraq?! Yeah, that's bold all right! And criminally insane!!!

Let's face it: the administration wanted to go into Iraq before 9/11, and were only waiting for the slightest excuse. We probably would have attacked them even if 9/11 didn't happen, but when it did it gave them the chance to do it ahead of schedule. The Plame affair is all about this monomaniacal scheme, it's tenuous grip on reality, and the machinations involved in convincing a nation of it's eroneous justification. Thousands are dead, tens of thousands continually victimized and exploited, and America is less safe from terrorism than ever.

Oh, and that Bin Laden guy is still at large! George Bush should be impeached, and he and his advisors should be indicted and tried for war crimes in the international courts. Why are they still in power? When is enough, enough?!

Meanwhile, the corruption, cronyism and incompetence continues.

Life during wartime » Third Country Nationals

Albany N.Y. -- timesunion.com -- Life during wartime » Third Country Nationals

This is an excellent description of what it's like in Kuwait for the people brought in from poorer nations to do the dirty work for practically nothing. The writer is a major in the U.S. Army. He's leaving there soon and can't wait to get back "when all this heat, dust and ugliness will rapidly fade into memory." Read it and weep.

What's A Little Human Trafficking Among Friends?

Cheap labor flows to Iraq -- Page 1 -- TimesUnion.com:
"The United States has long condemned the practices that characterize this human trade as it operates elsewhere in the Middle East. Yet this very system is now part of the privatization of the American war effort and is central to the operations of Halliburton subsidiary KBR, the U.S. military's biggest private contractor in Iraq.

[...]

Some U.S. subcontractors in Iraq -- and the brokers feeding them -- employ practices condemned by the U.S. elsewhere, including fraud, coercion and seizure of workers' passports.

The State Department has long expressed concerns about the treatment of foreign workers in the same Middle Eastern nations the United States relies on to supply labor for bases in Iraq. In June, the department added four of these nations -- Kuwait, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates -- to the top tier of its human trafficking watch list for not undertaking 'significant efforts to combat forced labor trafficking.'

U.S. law calls for sanctions in such cases. But last month, citing Kuwait's and Saudi Arabia's efforts in the 'global war on terror,' President Bush waived the sanctions against them. This allowed more than $6 billion in combined military sales to go forward. One reason laborers from developing countries are sought for work in Iraq is the U.S. military fears that hiring Iraqis would allow insurgents to infiltrate its bases.

[...]

The U.S. military has outsourced vital support operations in Iraq to KBR at an unprecedented scale, a deal that has cost U.S. taxpayers more than $12 billion. KBR, in turn, outsources much of that work to more than 200 subcontractors, many of them based in the Middle East.

[...]

Asked what it was doing to stop the flow of workers from these nations or to monitor its subcontractors, KBR said questions "regarding the recruitment practices of subcontractors should be directed to the subcontractor."

The U.S. Army, which oversees the contract, said much the same. "Questions involving alleged misconduct toward employees by subcontractor firms should be addressed to those firms, as these are not Army issues."

An estimated 10,000 Nepal citizens are now in Iraq despite policies restricting such work."


Our taxes are being used to subsidize international wage slavery; now that's capitalism!

This article really made me angry. The whole "plausible deniability" stance of KBR and the military, along with Bush letting it slide with his friends the Saudi's, etc. really turns my stomach. Privatization is one thing, outsourcing is another, and human trafficking is virtual slavery. These people have got to be stopped, that's all there is to it.

New Questions Arise in CIA Leak Probe

New Questions Arise in CIA Leak Probe - Yahoo! News:
"WASHINGTON - New details about Judith Miller's decision to cooperate in the CIA leak probe raised questions Sunday about whether Vice President Dick Cheney's chief of staff and his defense lawyer tried to keep the New York Times reporter from testifying and tried to steer what she would say under oath."

They say the truth will set you free, but it can also land your ass in jail. Looks like Scooter is about to find out. "Stupid is as stupid does," Scooter.

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