Friday, October 28, 2005

And In Other Indictment News...

Politics News Article |
"CHICAGO (Reuters) - A prominent Republican fund-raiser for President George W. Bush in Ohio has been charged with illegally funneling money to Bush's re-election campaign, a federal prosecutor said on Thursday.

A federal grand jury in Toledo charged Thomas Noe with making illegal contributions in the names of others to the Bush campaign and with making false statements to the Federal Election Commission"

The culture of corruption marches on and on and on.

Serious Stuff

The Washington Monthly:
"...Fitzgerald didn't charge Scooter Libby with mistakenly making a few unimportant false statements to the grand jury. He charged him with deliberately constructing a false story about how he learned about Valerie Plame, and then repeatedly telling this story to both FBI agents and the grand jury. That story was a lie, and it was a premeditated lie designed to cover up the fact that he had engaged in a long and persistent effort to uncover information about Joe Wilson's wife and disseminate it to reporters.

Libby could have told the truth, but then he would have had to admit his role in outing a CIA agent in order to score political points against a critic of the administration. He didn't want that campaign to become public, so he invented a cover story, repeated it under oath, and stuck to it on multiple occasions.

It's serious stuff, and that's what this is all about."

And that's what I hope the prosecutor and others pursue. I want them to find out and explain why the WHIG exposed Plame's identity, what it was supposed to accomplish for them, and why they tried to cover the whole thing up afterward. This article is the best explanation I've read so far, and I want justice brought to bear. It's about time the real reasons were discussed (as they are finally starting to be), and it's about time those who profited by the invasion of Iraq were made to explain themselves and charged as necessary. That will truly honor the dead and wounded. That will finally vindicate those who made the actual sacrifices.

Iraq II?

Bush calls Iran and Syria 'outlaw regimes' - Yahoo! News

Fitzgerald seen as incorruptible - Yahoo! News

Fitzgerald seen as incorruptible - Yahoo! News:
"Plucked from New York in 2001 to run the Chicago office of the Justice Department, the Brooklyn-born son of Irish immigrants, has a reputation as an incorruptible prosecutor in the mold of Chicago crime-fighter Eliot Ness, who took on Al Capone's criminal empire.

Fitzgerald has won convictions of the 1993 bombers of New York's World Trade Center and members of the Gambino crime family, and he secured an indictment of al Qaeda leader
Osama bin Laden, whom Fitzgerald has said he would like to try some day."

This is an excellent, though short, article on Fitzgerald which includes some scathing retorts to the "criminalization of politics" talking points.

Libby Indicted In CIA Leak Case - October 28, 2005

Libby Indicted In CIA Leak Case - October 28, 2005:
"While not charged today, Karl Rove, President George W. Bush's chief political adviser, remains under scrutiny by Fitzgerald, who reportedly plans to continue his probe of the 2003 leak (the original grand jury panel's term expired today). Libby today resigned his White House post as a result of the criminal charges, which were handed up in U.S. District Court in Washington."

Libby was the obvious patsy. Stay with it, Mr. Fitzgerald. We know you can do better! I know some excellent restaurants in D.C., especially for good takeout, should you be looking for latenight sustenance in the coming months.

Teddy Weighs In - Eschaton

"Today is an ominous day for the country, signifying a new low since Watergate in terms of openness and honesty in our government. This is far more than an indictment of an individual. In effect it’s an indictment of the vicious and devious tactics used by the Administration to justify a war we never should have fought. It’s an indictment of the lengths Administration officials were willing to go to cover up their failed intelligence, their distortion on Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction, and their serious blunders on the war. It is an indictment of their vindictive efforts to discredit anyone who challenge their misrepresentations."

There's more at the link. I wish Ted could talk this good all the time.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

This Explains A Lot

Mind Hacks: Perceptual distortions are common in population:
"It is not clear, however, why some people with high levels of unusual experiences become distressed and impaired by their experiences, often leading to a diagnosis of mental illness, while others are able to function and remain untroubled by them."

Could that latter group be right-wingnuts? That would certainly explain a lot of weirdness going down these days.

Hanging Mistaken for Halloween Decoration

Print Story: Hanging Mistaken for Halloween Decoration on Yahoo! News:
"The 42-year-old woman used rope to hang herself across the street from some homes on a moderately busy road late Tuesday or early Wednesday, state police said.

The body, suspended about 15 feet above the ground, could be easily seen from passing vehicles.

State police spokesman Cpl. Jeff Oldham and neighbors said people noticed the body at breakfast time Wednesday but dismissed it as a holiday prank. Authorities were called to the scene more than three hours later.

'They thought it was a Halloween decoration,' Fay Glanden, wife of Mayor William Glanden, told The (Wilmington) News Journal.

'It looked like something somebody would have rigged up,' she said."

I'll never be able to pass by another Halloween display without looking very closely at the "corpses" in it.

Fitzmas Delayed Until Tomorrow

Leak case announcement seen Friday - Yahoo! News:
"WASHINGTON (Reuters) - With the fate of at least two top White House advisers hanging in the balance, special counsel Patrick Fitzgerald appeared set to announce his decision on Friday on criminal charges over the outing of covert CIA operative Valerie Plame, lawyers said."

Did he know about Meirers' withdrawal, or was that an attempt to distract headlines from LeakGate?

So Who Needs Regulations And Enforcement?

Oil-for-food probe implicates 2,000 firms - Yahoo! News:
"UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - More than 2,200 companies, including major concerns like DaimlerChrysler, Siemens and Volvo, made illicit payments totaling $1.8 billion to
Saddam Hussein's government during the U.N. oil-for food program, a report said on Thursday."

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

AAAAHHHHHHHhhhhhhhhh! I hear the bells a-ringing...

The Raw Story | Prosecutor in leak case seeks indictments against Rove, Libby, lawyers close to case say:
"Special Prosecutor Patrick J. Fitzgerald has asked the grand jury investigating the outing of CIA operative Valerie Plame Wilson to indict Vice President Dick Cheney’s chief of staff I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby and Bush’s Deputy Chief of Staff Karl Rove on charges of perjury and obstruction of justice, lawyers close to the investigation tell RAW STORY.

Fitzgerald has also asked the jury to indict Libby on a second charge: knowingly outing a covert operative, the lawyers said. They said the prosecutor believes that Libby violated a 1982 law that made it illegal to unmask an undercover CIA agent."

AAAARRRRRGGGGGGHHHHHH!!!! I can't stand it!!!

News from The Associated Press:
"WASHINGTON (AP) -- The federal grand jury investigating the leak of a CIA officer's identity met for three hours Wednesday with Special Counsel Patrick Fitzgerald and adjourned for the day without announcing any action.

Fitzgerald is known to be putting the finishing touches on a two-year criminal probe that has ensnared two senior White House aides.

After the grand jury left for the day, federal prosecutors conferred for about an hour in the grand jury area of the federal courthouse.

There was no word on whether Fitzgerald planned to make any announcement or whether the grand jury planned to meet again."

Tennessee Guerilla Women: Dowd: Dick at the Heart of Darkness

Tennessee Guerilla Women: Dowd: Dick at the Heart of Darkness:
"After W. was elected, he sometimes gave visitors a tour of the love alcove off the Oval Office where Bill trysted with Monica - the notorious spot where his predecessor had dishonored the White House.

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

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

MoDo is having a field day. Can't blame her. Wish the shoe would drop already!

The Rise Of George W. Bush Explained

Bush Watch:
"Start with three Bush aides from Texas, called 'The Iron Triangle,' who firmly believe that winning is more important than telling the truth and politics is about marketing your corporate policies to a gullible public: Karl Rove, Karen Hughes, and Joe Allbaugh. Add a father who was the last President to control the Republican Party and its corporate backers. Take control, through meetings under the radar and coded promises, of the Christo-Right, a large slice of the nation that firmly belives that its vision of a U.S. theocracy is more important than the beliefs of our founding fathers.

Beat down your more moderate Republican opponents with racist slurs and lies by your footsoldiers. Make use of the corporate mainstream media for purposes of propaganda, misinformation, and disinformation. Control the voting results in key states through intimidition and abuse of voting procedures. Make use of the political codependence of the opposing party and its willingness to help the less fortunate. Wait for natural and man-made disasters in order to employ your previously-constructed fascist policies, which include calling those who disagree traitors to the country.

Reward those who back you with tax cuts and government contracts, punish those who disagree with you by cutting government aid, dismantleing/weakening beneficial programs, and creating massive deficits. Use the deficit as an excuse to screw those without power. Take power from the states and shift unfunded financial responsibilities to them. Reward both citizens and members of the media who support your aims and cut off access to those who don't, including public meetings. Everything described above should be employed with respect to foreign countries, but more forceful methods of changing behavior could be threatened or employed. Lie, lie, lie. --Jerry Politex, October 26, 2005"

That about sums it up. Why are we here? What can we do about it?

W pals bushwhack CIA leak prosecutor

New York Daily News - World & National Report - W pals bushwhack CIA leak prosecutor:
"'He's a vile, detestable, moralistic person with no heart and no conscience who believes he's been tapped by God to do very important things,' one White House ally said, referring to special counsel Patrick Fitzgerald."

I love this quote. If it were out of context, I'd think they were talking about Bush. Isn't it funny how what we detest most in others is the projection of our own shortcomings?

Today's The Day!? / US / CIA leak - CIA leak charges set to be handed out:
"Indictments in the CIA leak investigation case are expected to be handed down by a grand jury on Wednesday, bringing to a head a criminal inquiry that threatens to disrupt seriously President George W. Bush's second term."

Cue music: Anticipation by Carly Simon

Mrs Bush says gang tattoos hinder job prospects

US News Article |
"'We want young people to avoid gangs. And we know that if they're not tattooed with gang tattoos, they're more likely to be employable,' Bush said."

Please, make it stop! Please!

Are We There Yet?

Top News Article |
"White House officials were anxiously awaiting the outcome of the leak case since any indicted officials were expected to resign immediately. If indictments are brought, Bush was likely to make a public statement to try to reassure Americans that he is committed to honesty and integrity in government."

I'd be more reassured if he was just committed.

Another Speech, Another Milestone, Same OId Story

Bush Tries to Revive Support for Iraq War - Yahoo! News:
"Bush, who contends that setting a date for troop withdrawal would aid the enemy's cause, said that to fight Islamic radicals, the U.S. must work to prevent terrorist attacks before they occur, keep weapons of mass destruction out of the hands of 'outlaw regimes' and deny radical groups the support and sanctuary of such governments.

'State sponsors like Syria and Iran have a long history of collaboration with terrorists and they deserve no patience from the victims of terror,' he said. 'The United States makes no distinction between those who commit acts of terror and those who support and harbor them. Any government that chooses to be an ally of terror has chosen to be an enemy of civilization and the civilized world must hold those regimes to account.'"

Uh-oh. Looks like it might be time to adjust the medications. Shrubya's looking for more weapons of mass distraction.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Oh, Yesssss!

Report: Cheney Cited as Source in CIA Leak - Yahoo! News:
"NEW YORK - Notes in the hand of a federal prosecutor suggest the chief of staff to Vice President Dick Cheney first heard of the covert CIA officer central to a leak investigation from Cheney himself, The New York Times reported."

Now if they can only find of the meeting between Cheney and Bush, Christmas will have come early.

Of course, the piece goes on to say that the notes do not indicate that Cheney knew Valerie Plame was a covert operative, but again I say, if they didn't know she was covert, what was the value of "exposing" her identity? If naming her in the press wouldn't have impacted her career or effectiveness, why would such coverage have any importance to them or anybody else?

Monday, October 24, 2005

ACLU Reports 21 Homicides in U.S. Custody

ACLU Reports 21 Homicides in U.S. Custody - Yahoo! News:
"WASHINGTON - At least 21 detainees who died while being held in U.S. custody in Iraq and Afghanistan were killed, many during or after interrogations, according to an analysis of Defense Department data by the American Civil Liberties Union.

The analysis, released Monday, looked at 44 deaths described in records obtained by the ACLU. Of those, the group characterized 21 as homicides, and said at least eight resulted from abusive techniques by military or intelligence officers, such as strangulation or "blunt force injuries," as noted in the autopsy reports."

I'm sure it was only a few bad apples -- at every detention facility in two countries. No wonder Bush wanted to veto the no-torture bill. Just imagine how much it will tie the hands of intelligence officers around the globe.

Bush calls CIA leak case 'very serious'

Bush calls CIA leak case 'very serious' - Yahoo! News:
"WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S.
President George W. Bush said on Monday the investigation into the outing of a covert
CIA operative was 'very serious,' even as Republican allies started casting aspersions on the prosecutor and the possibility of perjury charges."

For once (and it's only this once), I agree with Bush. Wow! Never thought that would ever happen....

It's getting very cold in hell today.

Flaws in Flood Walls' Design as Probable Cause of Collapse

Engineers Point to Flaws in Flood Walls' Design as Probable Cause of Collapse - New York Times:
"NEW ORLEANS, Oct. 23 - When the Army Corps of Engineers started to design a flood wall on the 17th Street Canal here in the early 1980's, deep probes found what geologists viewed as a potentially weak layer of peat soil about 15 feet below sea level in the area where the wall collapsed during Hurricane Katrina.

Yet in building the wall, corps officials acknowledge, they did not drive the steel pilings - the main anchors for the structure - any deeper than 17 feet.

Several outside engineers who have examined the designs say the decision not to hammer the pilings deeper and into firmer ground left the support for the flood wall dangerously dependent on soil that could easily have given way under the immense pressure from floodwaters. "

No real explanation as to why the engineers ignored the geologists' analyses. Could it have been cost-cutting at the expense of safety?

Transcript for October 23 - Meet the Press, online at MSNBC -

Transcript for October 23 - Meet the Press, online at MSNBC -
"I certainly hope that if there is going to be an indictment that says something happened, that it is an indictment on a crime and not some perjury technicality where they couldn't indict on the crime and so they go to something just to show that their two years of investigation was not a waste of time and taxpayer dollars. So they go to something that trips someone up because they said something in the first grand jury and then maybe they found new information or they forgot something and they tried to correct that in a second grand jury.

I think we should be very careful here, especially as we are dealing with something very public and people's lives in the public arena. I do not think we should prejudge. I think it is unfair to drag people through the newspapers week after week after week, and let's just see what the charges are. Let's tone down the rhetoric and let's make sure that if there are indictments that we don't prejudge."

Technicality? Wast of time? Oh! You mean like whether or not Clinton did it with his intern? No? You mean that was different? Well, you're right, it was. It really WAS a waste of time and money, since the only people effected were Clinton and his family. Starr was fishing for something, anything to get a charge on Clinton so the impeachment could proceed. He was obsessed with getting something on Clinton, even if it meant maneuvering him into committing a crime in the courtroom.

Fitzgerald is just doing his job, and letting the cards fall how they may. This case grew out of real, legitimate questions of foul play and high crimes and misdemeanors. It's a serious investigation into serious charges, and lying under oath about these events is even more serious and deserving of charge, since it impacts the course of justice about these events which, let's remember, led the U.S. into a war that didn't have to happen.

Letters Show Frist Notified Of Stocks in 'Blind' Trusts

Letters Show Frist Notified Of Stocks in 'Blind' Trusts:
"In January 2003, after winning election as majority leader, Frist was asked on CNBC whether his HCA holdings made it difficult for him to push for changes in Medicare, a federal health program for seniors that added to the hospital company's revenue.

'I think really for our viewers it should be understood that I put this into a blind trust,' Frist replied. 'So as far as I know, I own no HCA stock.' He added that the trust was 'totally blind. I have no control.'

Two weeks before that interview, M. Kirk Scobey Jr., a Frist trustee, informed the senator in writing that one of his trusts had received HCA stock valued at between $15,000 and $50,000."

Wired News: DeLay Site Attacks Prosecutor

Wired News: DeLay Site Attacks Prosecutor:
"WASHINGTON -- Stung by his recent indictment in Texas, Tom Delay is trying to turn his legal woes into a financial boon for his re-election. The former House majority leader is using his congressional campaign to distribute to voters derogatory information about the prosecutor who brought the charges against him and to solicit donations for his re-election.

Contributors, voters and others who sign up can get regular e-mails and an electronic "toolkit" from DeLay's campaign with the latest disparaging information his legal team has dug up on Texas prosecutor Ronnie Earle."

How do you comment on something like this? DeLay is going down as the sleeziest, dirtiest, lowest-of-the-low politicians in history. I hope Ronnie Earle rips him a new one.

Bushies feeling the boss' wrath

Printer Friendly Version - Bushies feeling
the boss' wrath
"The vice president remains Bush's most trusted political confidant. Even so, the Daily News has learned Bush has told associates Cheney was overly involved in intelligence issues in the runup to the Iraq war that have been seized on by Bush critics.

Bush is so dismayed that 'the only person escaping blame is the President himself,' said a sympathetic official, who delicately termed such self-exoneration 'illogical.'"

Who was expecting logic?

Wilma Dashes Across Southern Florida, Stronger Than Expected

News from The Associated Press:
"The eighth hurricane to strike Florida in 15 months made landfall around 6:30 a.m. EDT near Cape Romano, an uninhabited island south of Naples in Collier County on Florida's southwest coast. Wilma moved northeast at 25 mph, and devastating winds reached Florida's east coast by midmorning.

Gusts exceeded 100 mph in suburban Fort Lauderdale and Miami, where winds howled in the bunker-like National Hurricane Center. A Coral Springs man died when a tree fell on him, Broward County spokesman Carl Fowler said."

FAO chief says world not doing enough to fight bird flu - Yahoo! News

FAO chief says world not doing enough to fight bird flu - Yahoo! News:
"OTTAWA (Reuters) - Fear of a bird flu pandemic among people has hampered efforts to prevent the spread of an outbreak among birds, and donor nations have dragged their heels on promises of millions of dollars in aid, the head of the United Nations food agency said on Monday."

This is always the way. I feel like I'm watching one of those Saturday afternoon matinees of a disaster movie where the government officials are always doing too little too late. Their like the mayor in Jaws. Business comes first, and if that's the wrong decision, chances are we won't be around by the final reel to regret it.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Almost There...Almost...

Politics News Article |
"Top administration officials are expected to learn from Fitzgerald as early as Monday whether they will face charges as the prosecutor winds up his nearly two-year investigation, the lawyers said.

Fitzgerald could convene the grand jury as early as Tuesday to lay out a final summary of the case and ask for approval of possible indictments, legal sources said."

A Look at U.S. Military Deaths in Iraq

News from The Associated Press:
"As of Sunday, Oct. 23, 2005, at least 1,996 members of the U.S. military have died since the beginning of the Iraq war in March 2003, according to an Associated Press count. At least 1,547 died as a result of hostile action, according to the military's numbers. The figures include five military civilians.


The British military has reported 97 deaths; Italy, 27; Ukraine, 18; Poland, 17; Bulgaria, 13; Spain, 11; Slovakia, three; Denmark, El Salvador, Estonia, Netherlands, Thailand, two each; Hungary, Kazakhstan, Latvia one death each.

Since May 1, 2003, when President Bush declared that major combat operations in Iraq had ended, 1,857 U.S. military members have died, according to AP's count. That includes at least 1,438 deaths resulting from hostile action, according to the military's numbers."

No Signs Insurgency Abating

News from The Associated Press:
"Experts think the country's increasingly regional-oriented politics will fuel the insurgency and even spread it further inside Iraq. Others put forward a simple, disquieting scenario: So long as U.S. and other foreign troops remain in Iraq, the insurgency will continue.

'It will become more chaotic,' predicted Magnus Ranstorp of the Swedish National Defense College in Stockholm, Sweden. 'It is obvious that the United States is in Iraq to stay. If this is the case, the Shiites will likely join the Sunnis in the fight.'"

It wouldn't take much for the Sunnis to turn on their new allies. Once the security forces are large enough and efficient enough to fight the insurgency, they also become effective enough to fight the occupiers.


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