Saturday, January 27, 2007

Oh, Yeah!

Priceless: It turns out Ari Fleischer will be the next witness, once court resumes Monday. (Damn, just missed him!) The defense team wants to note—for the jury's benefit—that Fleischer demanded immunity before he would agree to testify, because this might cast Fleischer's testimony in a different light. And here Fitzgerald makes a nice little chess move: Fine, he says, we can acknowledge that Fleischer sought immunity. As long as we explain why. Turns out Fleischer saw a story in the Washington Post suggesting that anyone who revealed Valerie Plame's identity might be subject to the death penalty. And he freaked.

Talking Points Memo: by Joshua Micah Marshall: January 21, 2007 - January 27, 2007 Archives

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No Loyalty Amongst Royalty

Will Rove Testify? - Newsweek National News -
Both Rove and Bartlett have already received trial subpoenas from Libby’s defense lawyers, according to lawyers close to the case who asked not to be identified talking about sensitive matters. While that is no guarantee they will be called, the odds increased this week after Libby’s lawyer, Ted Wells, laid out a defense resting on the idea that his client, Vice President Dick Cheney’s former chief of staff, had been made a “scapegoat” to protect Rove.

Which begs the question: Protect Rove from what? Doesn't this imply that Rove broke the law? Will bringing one or the other of these men to the witness stand give prosecutor Fitzgerald his chance to nail Rove on yet to be determined charges? Will they get caught lying on the stand or through Cheney to the wolves?

Stay tuned. At the very least, we'll get to see Rove and Bartlett scurry like rats trying to get off the hook of the witness stand, where they would have to answer questions under oath and in front of the public. Yikes! That's got to scare them.

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From Bad To Worse

Just when you thought it couldn't get any worse for our soldiers in Iraq or Afghanistan, this hits the news. How many more have to die before Congress gets off its collective ass and ends this war by impeaching the whole ^ administration?!

4 troops abducted, killed in Iraq attack - Yahoo! News

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Friday, January 26, 2007

Blind Justice (and Deaf, and Dumb, and Dumber)

Some cases challenging the program, which monitored international communications of people in the United States without court approval, have also involved atypical maneuvering.

Soon after one suit challenging the program was filed last year in Oregon, Justice Department lawyers threatened to seize an exhibit from the court file.

This month, in the same case, the department sought to inspect and delete files from the computers on which lawyers for the plaintiffs had prepared their legal filings.The tactics, said a lawyer in the Oregon case, Jon B. Eisenberg, prompted him to conduct unusual research.

“Sometime during all of this,” Mr. Eisenberg said, “I went on Amazon and ordered a copy of Kafka’s ‘The Trial,’ because I needed a refresher course in bizarre legal procedures.”

A federal district judge in the case, Garr M. King, invoked another book after a government lawyer refused to disclose whether he had a certain security clearance, saying information about the clearance was itself classified.“Frankly, your response,” Judge King said, “is kind of an Alice in Wonderland response.”

Secrecy Is at Issue in Suits Opposing Spy Program - New York Times

Can you believe this crap? I wonder how the lawyers keep their sanity, let alone the plaintiffs.

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Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Monkey Pile On The Loser!

State of Disunion: Republicans Beat Up on Bush After SpeechProminent Republican Congressmen Take Shots At the President on Iraq, Energy, Health Care

ABC News: State of Disunion: Republicans Beat Up on Bush After Speech

And it couldn't happen to a nicer guy.

But tell me: Where were these newly-sane Republicans when Bush was lying us into the war in Iraq and trashing environmental law and giving away the farm to the oil and pharmaceutical companies? Could it be that Republicans have the allegiance of a flea when it comes to following the power in Washington? Naahhhhh, that couldn't be right.

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Slow Return To Sanity?

WASHINGTON - One by one, even the most senior Republicans in the Senate are expressing doubts that the administration's new war policy inIraq will work.

More Republicans doubt Bush Iraq policy - Yahoo! News

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Sunday, January 21, 2007

FDL's Christy Hardin Smith Nails It Again

Long Time Coming


Well, THIS has been a long time coming, but is most welcome:

The new chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee on Friday sharply criticized the Bush administration’s increasingly combative stance toward Iran, saying that White House efforts to portray it as a growing threat are uncomfortably reminiscent of rhetoric about Iraq before the American invasion of 2003.

Senator John D. Rockefeller IV, the West Virginia Democrat who took control of the committee this month, said that the administration was building a case against Tehran even as American intelligence agencies still know little about either Iran’s internal dynamics or its intentions in the Middle East.

“To be quite honest, I’m a little concerned that it’s Iraq again,” Senator Rockefeller said during an interview in his office. “This whole concept of moving against Iran is bizarre.”

Mr. Rockefeller did not say which aspects of the Bush administration’s case against Iran he thought were not supported by solid intelligence. He did say he agreed with the White House that Iranian operatives inside Iraq were supporting Shiite militias and working against American troops.

Mr. Rockefeller said he believed President Bush was getting poor advice from advisers who argue that an uncompromising stance toward the government in Tehran will serve American interests.

“I don’t think that policy makers in this administration particularly understand Iran,” he said….

Because Mr. Rockefeller is one of a handful of lawmakers with access to the most classified intelligence about the threat from Iran, his views carry particular weight. He has also historically been more tempered in his criticism of the White House on national security issues than some of his Democratic colleagues.

Mr. Rockefeller was biting in his criticism of how President Bush has dealt with the threat of Islamic radicalism since the Sept. 11 attacks, saying he believed that the campaign against international terrorism was “still a mystery” to the president.

“I don’t think he understands the world,” Mr. Rockefeller said. “I don’t think he’s particularly curious about the world…."

When the NYTimes says that Rockefeller has historically been "more tempered," that may be the understatement of the century. Having met my Senator a number of times through the years, and having had a lengthy and frank discussion with him and a chief aide at a function shortly after Valerie Plame Wilson was outed by Novak's column, I can tell you without hesitation that he has been simmering to a boil for quite a long time with regard to the Bush Administration's contempt for differing views and their efforts to suppress any and all criticism or conflicting information from their chosen course of action, but also for their flouting of the Constitution and the laws of this nation in favor of a monarchical "unilateral executive" assertion at every turn.

But it has never been his way to jump out in front with a flashy presser and a public rant — it just is not who Jay Rockefeller is, or is ever likely to be.

Which makes this article and interview in the NYTimes all the more pointed for its direct, and occasionally snarky, criticism. It is good stuff, and everyone would do well to read and re-read for the subtle hints dropped along the way here. As I said earlier in the week, the grown-ups are back in charge — and I would expect some detailed examination of intelligence matters by Sen. Rockefeller and all the members of the Senate Intel Committee, most of whom have been chafing at the politicization of the committee by former chair Pat Roberts for months and months, skewing every hearing, every witness panel, every matter in a defined tilt toward whatever the White House dictated ought to be the slant. That is not, nor will it ever be, oversight — but it is an awful lot like propaganda and pressure on intelligence officers who are supposed to be gathering intel and analyzing it outside the political process, now isn't it?

Somehow, I have a feeling that a whole lot of something is about to let loose, so stock up on the popcorn now while you still can.

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