Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Plan Of A Lack!

The most telling part of the National Strategy for Victory in Iraq? (courtesy of Steve Clemons at The Washington Note)

You don’t even have to open it, because it’s right there on the cover!

It’s dated November, 2005!

Bush has given us written proof that he led us into a war without a plan . . . and then hastily wrote one for a speech nearly three years, and over 2000 dead American soldiers and countless dead Iraqis, later! (Well, he didn’t write it – Karen Hughes probably wrote it, but that’s beside the point!)

I don’t have the stomach to read it all yet, but Think Progress has their analysis available here.

Update: To be fair, the document starts with a disclaimer indicating that it "articulates the broad strategy the President set forth in 2003." OK, so he had a "plan" . . . in his head . . . for three years . . . while people were dying . . . and he finally decided to write it down and share it with the troops . . . after Jack Murtha came up with a plan of his own! Sure, we believe you Mr. Bush!

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Bush's Upcoming "I Have A Plan" Speech

Scott McClellan had a press gaggle Tuesday aboard Air Force One to shed some light on President Bush’s big speech tomorrow. It only took 3 years and nose-diving poll numbers for George to figure out that the American people don’t believe that he has a plan. So - according to Mr. McClellan on Wednesday President Bush is going to - reveal the plan.

McClellan explains:

(Snip) ( emphasis added)

… the President believes that the American people should have a clear understanding of our strategy. And that means how we see the enemy and how we define and achieve victory. So as part of the speech tomorrow, we are going to be releasing a document called the "National Strategy for Victory in Iraq.

Catchy title isn’t it? Where was this strategy for the last 3 years and over 2000 soldiers lives. I think that they might have wanted to refer to this plan once in a while. You know - like when one of those nasty sand storms hit and they have to hunker down in a hole for a couple of days. This strategy might have been good reading.

Scottie continued:


Iraqi forces are controlling more and more territory, and the President will talk about that in his remarks tomorrow.

Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld addressed this today in an article in USA Today. I think he sort of stole Bush’s thunder:

Baghdad's once-violent Haifa Street is now more peaceful and under the control of an Iraqi army battalion.

How many streets are there in Baghdad? And this one is only more peaceful than it was before. Is this the kind of detail and benchmarks that we can look forward to on Wednesday?

McClellan’s next quote is my favorite.


And I think the President will also talk about how our strategy is a dynamic one. It's a dynamic strategy that is based on adapting to the enemy and adapting to conditions on the ground. It's important that our tactics be flexible and dynamic and that as conditions change on the ground, we change with them.

OK I get it. Our tactics have to be dynamic and flexible. How exactly does "stay the course" fit into this scenario? If this is how we are training the Iraqi troops no wonder they aren’t combat ready. What the hell does it mean?

Scottie's big finish:


We will look to our commanders - and I think that's one thing the President will emphasize in his remarks, that it's our commanders who should be determining what our troop levels are in the country, and they make those decisions based on the conditions and circumstances on the ground and that those decisions should not be made by politicians in Washington.

Finally something I agree with. The problem is we never get to hear anything from the commanders on the ground. If Bush really wants us to understand his strategy for victory - the speech should be written and delivered by the commanders on the ground. Only then it will it have credibility. Bush is the #1 politician in Washington and we already know that he doesn't tell the truth.

Another Missed Opportunity For President Bush!

With George Bush fighting to recover from low approval ratings, he needed to do something bold that would inspire strong support from his base, but without increasing criticism from the Democrats. He needed a speech with enough bipartisan appeal to take the heat off just long enough for him to look the slightest bit presidential. And it had to have some fear in it!

His bold slogan this time: “Protecting America’s Borders” – a topic that has been thrown around for a while by both Republicans and Democrats. In keeping with Bush’s minimal counting ability, he came out with a three-part plan (which I paraphrase):

1. Return all illegal immigrants, including ending the practice of “catch and release” (rumor has it that Cheney is still lobbying for the use of barbed hooks, however!)

2. Reform Immigration Laws (to weed out the murderers, rapists and child molesters that our current laws welcome with open arms!)

3. Stop people from crossing the borders in the first place - adding new agents, technology and building walls (Hey, it’s easier than keeping out water!)

But will this be like Bush’s previous efforts to salvage his image, where his short attention span will likely result in nothing actually being done? Remember his strident march, all alone, under phony lighting, to the center of Jackson Square to boldly declare his plans to fight the war on Hurricane Katrina victims? Oh wait, it was to help Hurricane Katrina victims. Right? I didn’t think you remembered!

All in all, I think he picked the wrong issue yet again. I mean - how much bipartisan fear is there regarding our borders anyway? Everyone knows that Canadians are too smart to come across, so that really just leaves Mexicans to worry about. But most Americans are more afraid of having their lawns get out of control, their toilets fill with bacteria, or of running out of grapes for their wine, than they are of Mexicans! Besides, nearly everyone likes Mexican food! And those piƱatas are really fun for the kids’ birthday parties!

Bush would have been better off if he had recognized that the U.S. border is over two thirds water, with much of that water containing sharks! He could have capitalized on overwhelmingly widespread bipartisan fear of sharks to declare a broad war on "sharkism!" Fight them in the oceans, so we don’t have to fight them on our streets! Now that would have been a truly bold move worthy of our current President!

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Dishonest and Reprehensible!

Preface: This one has been in the back of the fridge for a couple of days. It may be a little stale, but I've decided to heat it up before I start cooking up anything new. As my mom taught me as I was growing up - never waste a good post when there are bloggers starving in Africa! Or something like that . . . .

In the first of his two terror-filled speeches last week, Dick Cheney made a couple of statements that have stuck with me like a spooky horror film. First, he said:
The suggestion that’s been made by some U.S. senators that the President of the United States or any member of this administration purposely misled the American people on pre-war intelligence is one of the most dishonest and reprehensible charges ever aired in this city.

And then he added:

The President and I cannot prevent certain politicians from losing their memory, or their backbone – but we’re not going to sit by and let them rewrite history. We’re going to continue throwing their own words back at them.

After making these statements, reporters immediately found numerous examples where Cheney had said one thing, only to contradict himself later. It was apparently not hard, although I’m sure there were too many to find them all. At the risk of seeming like the Van Helsing of the Blogosphere, I’m determined by Cheney’s own words to relentlessly keep hunting down more examples so I can throw them back at him! Here’s one that I haven’t seen discussed anywhere else:

Following what seemed to be the operable party line at the time on the Iraq war, Cheney’s first speech also included this statement (with emphasis added):

Some of the most irresponsible comments have, of course, come from politicians who actually voted in favor of authorizing the use of force against Saddam Hussein. These are elected officials who had access to the intelligence, and were free to draw their own conclusions. They arrived at the same judgment about Iraq’s capabilities and intentions that -- made by this Administration and by the previous administration.

And his second speech reiterated the point:

Some of the most irresponsible comments have come from politicians who actually voted in favor of authorizing the use of force against Saddam Hussein. These are elected officials who had access to the intelligence materials. They are known to have a high opinion of their own analytical capabilities. And they were free to reach their own judgments based upon the evidence.

However, back on June 19, 2004, the NY Times reported that shortly after the 9/11 Commission concluded that there was no link between Al Qaeda and Iraq, Cheney was asked in a television interview whether he knew things about Iraq’s links to terrorists that the commission did not know, to which he replied “probably!” This led the Commission to ask for additional information to back up Cheney’s claims, which the Vice President refused to provide for “security reasons.”

So, Dick – which history do you want write this time? When you needed the 9/11 Commission to stop raising questions about your reasons for war, you were more than willing to imply that you had intelligence that members of Congress did not have. If they only knew what you knew, they would agree with you, right?

But now that all of those reasons have been proven wrong, and you want to deflect the blame for a disastrous war, you are willing to get up and rewrite history by saying that the Congress had all the intelligence you had!

Dishonest and reprehensible is right! And evil! Just don’t get hit by the words on their way back at you!

Saturday, November 26, 2005

The Biggest Flip Flop Ever!!!

Bush is now claiming that Murtha and Biden's withdrawal plans where really his first. McClellan's statements are priceless. We'll be writing about the quotes in this article in MediaCorp News for a long time.

They lied us into war and know they are going to lie us out of it. We have to call them on this one and as loud as possible.

Now They'll "Swift Boat" Allawi........Wait For It!

Former Iraqi Prime Minister Allawi in an interview in The Guardian titled "Abuse worse than under Saddam" states that conditions in Iraq are deteriorating.

Allawi's bleak assessment is likely to undermine any attempt to suggest that conditions in Iraq are markedly improving.
'We are hearing about secret police, secret bunkers where people are being interrogated,' he added. 'A lot of Iraqis are being tortured or killed in the course of interrogations. We are even witnessing Sharia courts based on Islamic law that are trying people and executing them.

His comments come as a blow to those hoping that Iraq was moving towards normalization under the new government. In a speech on Wednesday, Bush is expected to hail the improved readiness of Iraqi troops, which he has identified as the key condition for withdrawing US forces.

'The assertions by Mr Allawi simply underline the catastrophic failure to have a proper strategy in place for the post-war period in Iraq.'

This is big news and photos like the one above will undercut the republican's attempt to slime him.

They better rewrite the Wednesday speech. Unless "improved readiness" means that the Iraqi troops are sufficiently trained in the art of torture.

The hits keep on coming.

photo from White House archive

Michael Brown's New Gig

Michael Brown has announced that he is starting a disaster preparedness consulting company. He wants to take what he has learned from his near criminal bungling of Katrina and use it for the greater good. Like a modern day Robin Hood stealing from the tax payers then giving back to corporate America.

Good for him!

As the saying goes - when you fall off that Arabian horse..........

I wonder who will be his first client? What organization can learn from Brownie's vast talents?

We now know that he is a "Fashion God" and a dog lover. He is good at planning dinner reservations and he never eats too fast. He also understands when it looks good to roll up your sleeves and appear to be hard working. But we can't overlook "Brownie's" biggest accomplishment. Of all the Bush administration officials who deserve it - Mr. Brown is the only one to actually get fired. I give him credit for this, because that truly is "hard work".

Good luck on your new endeavor Mr. Brown. May I suggest a company slogan.

"Brownie Consulting - A Disaster Waiting to Happen"

(Photo from FEMA)

Thanks, But No Thanks!

On Thursday, families across the country gathered to celebrate by giving thanks and taking time to appreciate all that they have. Members took turns stating their blessings proudly before lavish meals together, as Americans have done for generations.

However, by early Friday morning many of these same families were in long lines outside shopping malls waiting to begin a desperate race to acquire more and more cheap stuff. Images of frantic shoppers pushing and shoving to get the best sale items before they were gone were seen all across the country, as Americans showed just how little time they were actually willing to spend appreciating what they had, before shoving appreciation into the background to make way for acquisitiveness and greed.

After 9/11, President Bush repeatedly presented the idea that “the terrorists hate us for our freedoms!” While I’m not in any position to speak for “the terrorists,” I would guess that if there is a single, simply explained reason that they hate us, it has nothing to do with “our freedoms.” Frankly, I doubt that the terrorists could care less that Americans are free to go out at six in the morning to buy a $99 portable DVD player. More likely, it's that they hate a culture which frequently tends to say one thing and then immediately run out and do the opposite!

The fact that “Thanksgiving” and “The Biggest Shopping Day of The Year” are on back-to-back days is a perfect example!

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Release the PDBs . . . Or Release the Hounds!

With the Bush Administration continually saying that Democrats who voted for the war in Iraq “had the same intelligence we did,” this story by Murray Waas threatens to blow their argument out of the water.

If the President really received a PDB 10 days after 9/11 that said there was no connection between Al Qaeda and Iraq, then Froomkin has it right when he says:

At what point does the mainstream media stop spending so much time covering the inside-the-Beltway rhetorical hairsplitting over whether the public has been intentionally misled -- and concentrate instead on the essential W's of reporting: who, what, where, when and why?
Of course, the Bush Administration is refusing the release the PDBs, for reasons of “national security!” But now even prominent Republicans are starting to come around to the fact that it is a major national security hazard to have a President and Vice President who are compulsive liars!

Congress needs to demand that the PDBs be released to them immediately, or everyone – the American people, Congressional Democrats, the media, and even the rest of the World’s leaders need to start demanding that Bush resign!

Happy Thanksgiving!

The color coded map I guess is more like a mood ring and we are in a bad mood.

Map via daily kos

Projection for Thanksgiving, 2007!

By the way, this is not to suggest that Idaho is planning to invade Eastern Oregon. It's just that the pixels are really, really small, and I'm operating a mouse under the influence of a large Peets coffee!

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

A Frustrated Woody!

On Monday Bob Woodward appeared on "Larry King Live"" to try and shed some light on his actions regarding "Plamegate". King is not known for his hard-hitting style and in this interview he didn't disappoint.

In an early exchange King asked about Washington Post editor Len Downie's criticism of Woodward.

KING: Mr. Downie said you should not have given your opinion. Was he correct?

WOODWARD: Yes. I think I was a little hyper and a lot of pent up frustrations that night. And as you have pointed out a number of times, I tend to be very neutral, overly neutral and I think I should find ways of expressing myself that don't look like I'm making a judgment or voicing an opinion but offering analysis or hopefully some new facts.

Hyper, frustrated and overly neutral - I'm not a Pulitzer Prize winning writer but those aren't the adjectives that I would have used. Oh, I don't know........ Maybe - arrogant, irresponsible, unprofessional - those come to mind.

Overly neutral what the hell does that mean. I don't think that is the proper use of this term - unless it means so neutral that you aren't actually neutral at all.

Later in the interview Larry asked how Woodward learned about Valerie Plame.

KING: How did it even come up?

WOODWARD: Came up because I asked about Joe Wilson, because a few days before, my colleague at the "Washington Post," Walter Pincus, had a front-page story, saying there was an unnamed envoy -- there was no name given -- who had gone to Niger the year before to investigate for the CIA if there was some Niger-Iraq uranium deal or yellow cake deal.

I learned that that ambassador's name was Joe Wilson, which was, you know, Wilson eventually surfaced...

Interesting. I would guess that Bob went to one of his unnamed sources to find out about the unnamed envoy that Pincus had written about. Woodward tries to cover this by quickly stating that Wilson's name "eventually surfaced".

Bob continued:

WOODWARD: ... I guess a few weeks later. So I said to this source, long substantive interview about the road to war. You know, at the end of an interview like this, after you're doing an interview on television, you might just shoot the breeze for a little while. And so, I asked about Wilson, and he said this.

KING: I see.

WOODWARD: Most kind of off-hand.

Woodward again tries to advance the notion that somehow it is not a crime to out an undercover CIA officer if it is done "off-hand" or just"shooting the breeze". This is ridiculous. It doesn't matter how casually the information was passed. It is a crime to leak classified material to anyone not authorized to receive it - no matter how hyper, frustrated and overly neutral they are.

Photo source Wikipedia archive

Cheney’s Rules of Debate

In a speech to the American Enterprise Institute Monday, Dick Cheney was his typical gloomy, fear mongering self. However, he did begin by stating his support for the role of open debate in a healthy political system.

However, he later included this surprising statement:

Although our coalition has not found WMD stockpiles in Iraq, I repeat that we never had the burden of proof; Saddam Hussein did. We operated on the best available intelligence, gathered over a period of years from within a totalitarian society ruled by fear and secret police.

So let me get this straight. According to Cheney, one country can invade another country based on the best available intelligence . . . and the country being invaded has the burden of proof to show that the reason for the invasion is wrong?

OK. Let’s just assume that we accept Cheney’s premise (which I don’t!) If Saddam Hussein did have the burden of proof to show that he did not have WMD stockpiles, how much better could he have met that burden of proof to show that he did not have WMD stockpiles - than by not having WMD stockpiles!?!?

Perhaps Mr. Cheney was too busy torturing small animals to show up for his high school debate classes, but once one side meets the burden of proof, it means the burden of proof shifts to the other side, where if it is not met with even stronger evidence, that side loses the debate!

And getting back to Cheney’s original premise: if I recall correctly from my high school debate days, it is the affirmative side of the debate that always starts with the burden of proof!

So, Mr. Cheney, if your goal is use pre-emptive war to bring "healthy political systems that encourage the right to open debate" to countries like Iraq, I would suggest that you brush up on your rules of debating before you start talking about who has the burden of proof!

Monday, November 21, 2005

If Hadley is Woodward’s Source, Then It’s Officially Bigger Than Just a Leak!

If news reports are true that Stephen Hadley is the “senior government official” who discussed Valerie Plame with Bob Woodward prior to Scooter Libby’s conversations with Judy Miller, what does this mean to the Bush White House? Althought there are mixed reports regarding Hadley, he is one of the few major players who has not publicly denied being the source and is still considered by many to be a likely candidate.

In my opinion, if Hadley is the source, it means that everything that has been done to insulate George Bush from active involvement in the scandal is thrown out the window.

Unlike Scooter Libby, whose actions can be isolated from association with the President, Stephen Hadley was promoted by George Bush after any conversations he may have had with Bob Woodward about Valerie Plame. He was promoted after George Bush made public statements about wanting to get to the bottom of the leak, promising to fire anyone who was involved, and directing all members of his administration to cooperate with the investigation.

Either George Bush knew of Hadley’s involvement and promoted him anyway, while repeatedly lying to the American people about what he knew . . . or Hadley was actively lying to the President about matters of national security and ignoring the President’s directive – while being considered for the position of National Security Advisor!

Either way, if Hadley is Woodward’s source, then it is critical to have a full investigation of exactly what George Bush knew at the time he promoted Hadley to his current position!

If Bush knew of Hadley’s involvement in the leak and promoted him anyway, then there is no question of a conspiracy and cover-up that arguably exceeds what happened in “Watergate.”

If Hadley, who may have admitted to being the first administration official to reveal the identity of a CIA operative to a reporter, was lying to the President in order to get the job of National Security Advisor, then there are some very serious questions that must be addressed beyond just the leak of Valerie Plame’s identity.

Could Hadley be subject to additional charges for misleading the President to obtain his current position? How could the President be such an incompetent judge of character that he would select such a person for the position of National Security Advisor? What were the recommendations Hadley received from his then boss, Condoleeza Rice? What, if anything, did she know about his involvement in the leak?

If Hadley is Woodward’s source, then the American people will deserve full, complete answers to all of these questions and more, which will require an investigation that focuses not on obscure conversations between administration officials and reporters, but an investigation that focuses on what President Bush knew and when he knew it!

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Cut and Run For Re-election

With all the debate the last couple of days about whether or not we should pull our troops out of Iraq - one thing seems perfectly clear. We will begin a withdrawal in early 2006.

Congressman Jack Murtha's resolution to re-deploy our troops in the region angered the attack dogs on the right. Rather than debate the issue in a responsible way, Republican Duncan Hunter and his minions decided to offer their own resolution calling for immediate withdrawal. The debate that ensued was a spectacle to see, Murtha stating facts - drawing on his 30 years of military experience, then reading heart-felt letters from soldiers and their families. He was followed by every republican in the house who has ever had anything to do with military service - shouting "stay the course"- "we don't cut and run"- "this just hurts our troops" and the remarks from the "gentlewoman" from Ohio (see seenos post below).

No you idiots .......I think what hurts our troops is being blown to bits by car bombs!

Anyway, it went back and forth for hours, all about a resolution that Hunter wanted everyone to vote no on. What a colossal waste if time. Do they really think that we don't see what is going on. There is now a spotlight on everything they do, and the only things that distracts from it are the other massive scandals running rampant through this administration.

What this really is all about is that the republicans want all the credit when we finally do "Cut and Run". Which will begin in early 2006 to be completed right before the mid-term elections. That is the course we are staying and the real cowards are the House members up for re-election who are more worried about their campaigns than the troops who have already sacrificed enough.

The only way to support the troops is to get them out of harms way as soon as possible.

photo by left-over

Saturday, November 19, 2005

An Open Letter to Rep. Jean Schmidt

Dear Representative Schmidt,

First of all, I would like to offer my sincere condolences on your short career in the U.S. House of Representatives. It is quite unfortunate that, as the newest member of the House, you were the one who drew the short straw and had to get up and say the “C” word in your party’s effort to undercut the proposal of Rep. John Murtha.

I realize that according to party strategy, the only way you could have any chance to regain control of the issue of the Iraq war was to characterize Murtha’s proposal as weak and irresponsible. This meant restating his proposal to make it sound like something you could call “cut and run,” and labeling a distinguished 30-year member of the House of Representatives as a coward. Sorry that you were the one who had to sacrifice your career to do it!

I also realize that you were only passing along the message you received in a phone call from Colonel Danny Bubp, Ohio Representative from the 88th district. So it is even more unfortunate that yours will be the ugly face of chickenhawk hypocrisy that is burned into the memory of everyone who saw your shameful performance. It is unfortunate that yours was the whiny voice we heard calling a 37-year Marine Corps Veteran a coward, while you support sending other peoples’ children to die in a war with no plan to get out!

It is particularly unfortunate that the above image is tailor made for your future political opponents to use in campaign ads against you. Or that Democrats all over the country will be lining up to donate to any opponent who happens to run against you. What a shame that someone else - a more senior member of the House who had already experienced a long career in public service, had not been chosen to be the attack dog on this particular issue.

Most of all, it is unfortunate that your district has to live with the embarrassment of having elected such a pathetic fool, who got up in front of the world, on their behalf, and said something so ridiculous that you had to retract it within minutes and slink back to your seat hoping everyone would eventually forget it ever happened.



P.S. By copy of this letter to Colonel Danny Bubp of Ohio, I would like to offer the following suggestion. Next time you decide to accuse one of your fellow ex-marines of cowardice, you will have much more credibility if you get up in public and make the accusation yourself, rather than phoning it in to a “98 lb woman” to make it for you!

Friday, November 18, 2005

Hey Cheney, Fitzgerald is Playing You Like He's Yo Ma Ma!

Despite all of the wild speculation about the identity of Bob Woodward’s source, and the rampant spin about how the new information casts doubt on Patrick Fitzgerald’s case against Scooter Libby, the bottom line is that Fitzgerald appears to be playing these guys like a stringed instrument!

John Dean has commented at length on how unusual it was that Fitzgerald chose to include details in his indictment that were beyond what was necessary for the charges against Libby. Although Fitzgerald made a point of leaving out the names of other officials who were not being charged, he specifically made it clear that Libby discussed Plame’s identity with the Vice President on June 12, 2003.

In his press conference, Fitzgerald described Libby’s actions as the equivalent of throwing dust in the umpire’s eyes so he couldn’t see what really happened. He had no choice but to charge the guy who threw the dust. But he also kept the investigation open and kept accumulating information while the dust was settling.

He knew that if he threw Libby in the crock-pot and spiced up the indictment with additional details about the rest of the players, he could sit back and let them all stew in their own juices. He knew that eventually more information would bubble up to the surface. He also knew that the threat of a Libby trial could open the floodgates to a whole lot more information, given the opportunity to examine Dick Cheney under oath.

And it worked perfectly! Now sources are coming to him, actually claiming to be the first leaker! People are so worried about what he saw through the dust that they are gift-wrapping reasons to open a new Grand Jury which will allow him to continue to find out what really happened. And all this while Libby is still stewing over throwing the dust!

Although we are still wondering, Fitzgerald knows who Woodward’s source is! In fact, he might well have known a long time ago! He might even have other evidence, or even a witness or two lined up to testify against that source. But he might have held off indicting that source because he was trying to use the indictment of Libby to get even more evidence to strengthen his case! Or to strengthen a case against someone else - perhaps someone who was coordinating multiple leakers!

The noose is tightening around somebody, and all indications point to that somebody being none other than Vice President (of Torture) Dick Cheney!

Schmidt Down and Shut Up!

This is absolutely infuriating! If Republicans like Jean Schmidt and Dick Cheney are willing to call Democrats like John Murtha and Paul Hackett "cowards" who want to "cut and run," while continuing to send other peoples' children to die in Iraq without any plan to get out, then I'm all for Democrats challenging Republicans to a f**king duel! Let 'em fight it out and we'll see who ends up pissing their pants, wimpering on the ground and begging for mercy!

My bet's on Murtha, Hackett and friends!

Some Chatter about Woodward

So Bob Woodward was informed of Valerie Plame and her position at the CIA by a high level White House Official a month prior to the now infamous Libby Leak. An interesting development but I can't say that I am surprised. His statement in the Washington Post was very much an exercise in word parsing and carefully constructed admissions. Lets examine a couple:

"Fitzgerald asked for my impression about the context in which Mrs. Wilson was mentioned. I testified that the reference seemed to me to be casual and offhand..."

So it was casual and offhand. That makes me feel better. I guess it is not really a crime if done casually. In fact I sleep well now knowing that high ranking White House Officials are comfortable when they divulge classified material. The next time I commit a felony I'll do it from my Barcalounger.

Woodward continues:

"....And that it did not appear to me to be either classified or sensitive. I testified that according to my understanding an analyst in the CIA is not normally an undercover position."

So at the time, over two years ago, Bob didn't think that this info was sensitive. He didn't think she was undercover. I'll give him that one.


You see the Novak article came out about a month later. At that time everyone knew that this was a big story. And for the last two years Woodward has been appearing on various news programs talking about the case, never revealing his own involvement. He has been publicly critical of Patrick Fitzgerald and his investigation and he lied about the results of a CIA damage assessment report which the CIA says has not been completed. These actions will tarnish Bob's resume for a long long time.

Finally, Woodward's entire reason for coming forward now stems from the fact that his source told Fitzgerald about their conversation. This would be the source that Woodward is still protecting. If Fitz knows who it is, why does Woodward still need to keep the secret.

I guess old habits die hard.

Pssst.......................Bob, I've got a secret for you. You used to be the most respected investigative journalist in America - but know we all know you are just a political hack!

Thursday, November 17, 2005

A Storied Reputation Goes Down in a Massive Fireball!

Now that Bob Woodward has moved to center stage of the CIA leak investigations, like the fat lady near the end of an opera, I have to say that in my opinion, his involvement isn’t nearly as important as everyone would have us believe. Sure, it means that there is another “Senior White House Official” involved in leaking the identity of a CIA operative. But Scooter Libby still lied, and Patrick Fitzgerald seems to have a carefully laid plan to root out all the other participants, with or without Woodward coming forward. Sure, he brought Woodward in for a 2-hour deposition on Monday, but how much could be covered in a 2-hour deposition of Bob Woodward anyway?

seenos has used double super-secret confidential sources to obtain a copy of the transcript of Monday’s deposition and here is how it begins:

Fitzgerald: Would you state your full name for the record?

Woodward: Rob-bert Wood-ward.

Fitzgerald: And would you state your occupation?

Woodward: I’m the Ass-sis-tent Man-na-ging Ed-did-dor of the Wash-shing-ton Post.

Fitzgerald: And do you understand that your statements here today are being recorded and will be given the same weight as testimony in a court of law?

Woodward: Yes, Mis-ster Fitz-ger-rald. I have part-tic-cip-pat-ted in dep-pos-sit-tions bef-fore.

Fitzgerald: Well, we’ve been at it for about 50 minutes now. I think we should take a 10-minute break and then resume the deposition.

So, you see how unlikely it is that there was much time for anything of substance in the 2-hour deposition! Frankly, I think Woodward may just be making up stories anyway. He didn’t want to see a major historical event pass by without being able to write his own first-person account of being in the middle of it. In fact, rumors abound that he already has a book written and ready for publication, in which his secret source is known only as “Debbie-Who-Did-Dallas!”

All kidding aside, I could say a lot more about the implications of Woodward’s involvement in the case, and of its affect on his reputation, but much of it has already been said far better than I could here, here, and here, among other places.

I just want to say that it is striking how someone like Woodward, who came on to the scene as a tough, gutsy, dedicated reporter who helped topple a corrupt administration, is going to go out as a pathetic, cheerleading, apologist for an even more corrupt administration!

Actually, after distilling all of the information available today, I’m left with the feeling that the real reason Woodward came forward at the last minute is simply part of the Bush Administration plan to run out the clock on this investigation until after the 2008 elections. I mean, what better way to make sure the case drags on beyond 2008 than to have Bob Wood-ward on the list of wit-nes-ses who are sched-du-eled to test-tif-fy?

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

To Comment or Not to Comment?

This is just a quick post to remind those regular readers - I know there are a few - that any ideas you express as comments to this blog are extremely welcome. Let us know if you agree, or disagree. Let us know if any related, or unrelated, ideas come to mind when reading these posts. Just let us know occasionally that you were here and didn't run away screaming! Hell, if you want, type in a scream!

The beauty of blogging is that you can express ideas that might affect others in ways that you don't even know, but it's also nice to occasionally know who is reading. Watching a counter advance isn't quite the same thing, particularly when I've been known to accidently place my elbow on the refresh key for minutes at a time!

That's all. Peace!


Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Nice Strategy Mr Bush!

Albert Einstein once said “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results”.

Is there any doubt, based on Einstein’s definition, that our President is insane? There are lots of examples that I could use to demonstrate, but I will focus today on just one - his speeches. Whenever the President gives a speech where he must project an idea of events that is the exact mirror image of reality, he seems to feel that his presentation will be accepted as truth, as long as he has a bold slogan as his backdrop.

The first time this approach became obvious was this one:

However, with all of the criticism Bush took for displaying a “Mission Accomplished” banner well before thousands of additional troops were killed in Iraq and Afghanistan, he was right back at it last Friday, as he tried to convince the American people that he had a “Strategy for Victory!”

Sure, he used the word “strategy” a couple of times in the speech, even providing a list of five components. But what was the first item on his list? “We’re determined to prevent attacks of the terrorist networks before they occur.” Wow! A less confident President would probably settle for trying to prevent the ones that already happened! Nice strategy, Mr. Bush!

He continued: “We are reorganizing our government to give this nation a broad and coordinated homeland defense.” If the world changed on September the 11th, 2001, why is he reorganizing now? After over 4 years, did he finally realize that color coding alerts and keeping butane lighters off of airplanes wasn’t enough? Did he finally realize a government run by Chertoffs and Brownies wasn't capable of getting the job done? Nice strategy, Mr. Bush!

The next two components of his strategy involve denying weapons of mass destruction and the ability to support terrorists, to “outlaw regimes.” The last one is to deny future recruits “by replacing hatred and resentment with democracy.” In the meantime, we are out there torturing people in secret prisons, and threatening them with our vast arsenal of weapons of mass destruction. In other words, we’re basically behaving like an “outlaw regime,” and giving the world new reasons to hate and resent American democracy! Nice strategy, Mr. Bush!

He sums up his “strategy for victory” with this statement: “Our strategy is to clear, hold, and build. We’re working to clear areas from terrorist control, to hold those areas securely, and to build lasting, democratic Iraqi institutions.”

Clear, hold, and build! Sounds nice, clean and focused (in a Rainman sort of way!) However, a more realistic explanation for this statement is that they simply stole it from their more carefully thought out strategy, and plugged in Iraq for America.

Clear, hold, and build! Our strategy is to clear out our political opponents with personal attacks and smear campaigns, hold on to power with dirty tricks, money laundering schemes and rigged elections, and build the personal wealth of ourselves and all our friends and cronies!

Now, there's the real strategy! But it appears that the media and the American people are finally catching on, so perhaps this strategy won't become a mission accomplished, and he will someday be giving a speech that looks like this:

Monday, November 14, 2005

I Think The War Is Over

In Alaska Monday, President Bush restated his commitment to the War in Iraq. Refusing to consider any change in course, steadfast in his ....steadfastness.

"Our strategy can be summed up this way: As the Iraqis stand up, we will stand down. And when our commanders on the ground tell me that the Iraqi forces can defend their freedom, our troops will come home with the honor they have earned.

...We will settle for nothing less than victory."

With some at the computer investigative reporting and an informant known as "Google Search", Left-over has obtained irrefutable evidence that we have accomplished the administrations goals in Iraq.

This is an exclusive image of a highly trained Iraqi soldier "standing up". Proof that the first prong of Bush's two-pronged strategy has been reached.

Next, I have obtained this document from another classified source who goes by the code name "Green Crayon". "Some People" say it was written by a US field commander on the ground.

Clearly both of the Presidents benchmarks have now been reached.

And if that is not enough evidence for the nay-sayers out there, I offer this - the smoking gun.

Its as credible as the evidence they used to take us to war. If only I could get Colin Powell to present it.

Bring our troops home Mr. Bush!

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Bush Stinks: A Philosophical Examination of the Case for War

If a President makes exaggerated and misleading statements in a forest and there is no one there to hear them, is the President lying? While philosophers might love to argue a question like this, it is clear that there are no practical implications that would make anyone conclude with certainty that there has been a lie.

On the other hand, if the President makes the same statements with a large audience who accept them and make decisions based on them, then any reasonable person would conclude that he was, in fact, lying. It all depends on whether the statements made by the President were exaggerated and misleading.

Listening to President Bush’s defense of the Iraq war during his combative Veteran’s Day speech, described earlier by Left-Over, it seems obvious that Bush is making the wrong argument. By accusing Democrats of voting for the war when presented with the administration’s case for invading Iraq, he is merely confirming that the statements were not made in a forest!

Congress acted on the administrations’ statements about pre-war intelligence, and a war was started. If the statements were exaggerated and misleading, then the fact that the Democrats accepted them and made decisions based on them, makes the lies more obvious, not less so.

Let’s look at it from a more basic perspective, shall we?

Suppose the President was driving a car filled with an equal number of Republicans and Democrats, and he decided that he really wanted to have all the windows rolled down. He could offer a rational explanation for why he wanted to roll down all the windows, and allow his passengers to debate the pros and cons before deciding if it was a good idea to roll down all the windows.

Or, instead of giving his passengers all of the information, the President could simply decide to fart - and everyone in the car, Republicans and Democrats alike, would respond by frantically rolling down all the windows! Mission accomplished, right? But suppose that the President, while rushing to roll down his own window, were to veer into the oncoming lane and force another car off the road, causing a fatal accident.

So who is responsible for the accident? The President, it now appears, is trying to argue that because the Democrats were actively rolling down their windows along with the Republicans, that they are all equally responsible for the accident!

However, the fact remains that the President was driving the car! The fact remains that the President chose to give the Democrats intelligence that, quite frankly, stunk! It got him what he wanted as quickly as he wanted it. However, the end result was a disaster, and now he is trying to blame the Democrats for the fact that they responded to the smell!

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Rewriting History Related Activities

On Veteran's Day President Bush broke out his new defense against critics of his handling of the war in Iraq...........or in other words about 65% of the country. The speech was long and altogether inappropriate. Using Veterans Day to launch his latest attempt to restore credibility only proves that he feels the military is a tool for his own political gain. Exactly how does this makes us safer here at home?

To save you from a long boring read here is his money quote from the official Whitehouse transcript:

"While it's perfectly legitimate to criticize my decision or the conduct of the war, it is deeply irresponsible to rewrite the history of how that war began. (Applause.)"

REWRITING HISTORY ....YOU HAVE GOT TO BE F---ING KIDDING ME! How many times has this administration changed its reasoning for going to war? And now Bush stands there in front of his hand-picked veteran-applauders and says this. I know I shouldn't be shocked - its from page one of the Rove hand book. Accuse your enemy of what you are guilty. Like a playground bully who has just been called a bully - but can only reply "I know you are but what am I".

This approach may have worked after 911 when most of the country was willing to follow George right off a cliff if he asked us too. The problem is HE DID ASK and now we are stuck with his deeply irresponsible quagmire of war.

The administrations new attempt to deflect has little chance of working because as every poll shows, we just don't trust George anymore.

65% of the people in the country are effectively now the kids in the school yard yelling back at the President "We are rubber and you are glue, whatever you say bounces off us and sticks to you".

An Open Letter to Serial Killers and Professional Assassins!


I realize that you aren’t actually that gentle. In fact, I know you are heartless and evil, and I despise everything about you. When I read news articles about your exploits, or see reports about them on television news programs, I am furious and want nothing more than for you to be caught by the authorities and placed in prison where you can never harm anyone again.

I occasionally watch actors portray characters similar to you in movies or television programs. On those occasions, I always identify with and root for any character that is trying to catch the character most like you. I feel tremendous relief and sometimes even great joy when the character like you is stopped.

If I were ever in a situation where I could do something to help make sure that you were caught, I would do it in a second. I would testify against you in court if I ever had knowledge that would help put you away for life. There is nothing about what you do that I can support, or am even able to tolerate without being overcome by disdain and hatred.

Well, actually there is just one exception. If you want to “take out” Bill O’Reilly, go right ahead. That would be OK with me. Anything else – forget about it, you despicable, wretched, monstrous, wastes of life!


San Francisco, CA

PS: Note, to any actual serial killers or professional assassins who may be among the readership of this blog, that this letter is not intended as a solicitation. It is satire, based on O’Reilly’s invitation to Al Qaida to blow up San Francisco. So really, please don’t hurt anyone, who just happens to look like this:

Friday, November 11, 2005

Mr Bush, Meet Mr Milosevic. He's your New Cellmate!

After exposure to images and stories about unlawful detainment and outright torture at Guantanamo and Abu Ghraib, we have now learned of other secret CIA prisons throughout the world. We have learned about the use of weaponized white phosphorus in the assault on Fallujah, and heard about images of civilian women and children whose skin was literally melted off. While American audiences are getting bits and pieces of information about these stories in our own media, it is reasonable to think that the international press are covering them too, and without incentive to downplay the seriousness and horror of these events. In short, the World is watching, and they can’t like what they see!

In a press conference shortly after the disturbing events of Abu Ghraib were made public, the President said that he was “ saddened and disappointed that what the world saw happening in Iraq does not reflect the true heart and conscience of the American people.” So how can the American people show the world their “true heart and conscience?”

At this point, the United States is no longer trying to maintain a position of moral authority in the world, but is fighting an uphill battle just to regain moral credibility! It will not be enough for the American people to allow George W. Bush to finish out an ineffective second term with low approval ratings. It may not be enough for the country to impeach Bush and remove him from office. In light of the horrendous actions that the World is seeing committed by our country, to regain any semblance of moral standing, it may eventually be necessary to voluntarily turn George W. Bush over the International Criminal Court in The Hague.

Although the United States has not shown unlimited support for the ICC, in 1999 it required Yugoslavia to arrest and hand over Slobodan Milosevic for trial for war crimes committed in Kosovo as a condition for U.S. Government support. As long as we and the World expect such action from countries whose leaders commit atrocities in the name of their citizenry, we must be willing to do the same with our own leaders. Otherwise, we risk confirming to the World that the true heart and conscience of the American people is exactly what they have seen under George W. Bush!

Thursday, November 10, 2005

God Threatens Dover?

Pat Robertson told his 700 Club television audience today:

“I’d like to say to the good citizens of Dover. If there is a disaster in your area, don’t turn to God, you just rejected Him from your city. And don’t wonder why He hasn’t helped you when problems begin, if they begin. I’m not saying they will, but if they do, just remember, you just voted God out of your city. And if that’s the case, don’t ask for His help because he might not be there.”

Thanks Pat, but as you know, God is currently busy formulating his plan to assassinate Hugo Chavez. Dover will just have to wait for its reckoning.

Danger: Inflate the Bubble!

With a category 5 shitstorm pounding the Vice President’s office, it seems the operative spin right now involves protecting President Bubble Boy at all costs. I keep hearing various pundits saying that “the President is trying to distance himself from Dick Cheney” or “Does the President still trust Dick Cheney?” All designed to increase the zone of safety around the President.

However, these statements and questions are really pretty ridiculous – kind of like talking about a car trying to distance itself from its driver! Or asking the question: Does your SUV still trust you? They assume that George Bush is more than an object, a prop, a tool, being used by Dick Cheney to move where he wants to go on the road map to global domination of oil resources.

Remember, Cheney chose himself to become the Vice Presidential candidate in the first place, latching his fortunes to a man with much more appeal to a targeted base of voters than he could ever muster, but who isn't bright enough or inquisitive enough to get in the way as Cheney makes the real decisions behind the scenes. Cheney used Bush to be the front man, the vehicle, while he navigated the U.S. into the war he wanted.

Asking if Bush still trusts Cheney is a meaningless question. The more relevant questions to be asking are:

Should Dick Cheney be allowed to continue to have a drivers’ license?


Isn’t it time to crush George Bush into a little cube and deposit him in a landfill?

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Die Bold Statement

Tuesday was a great day for Democracy in America. As seenos blogged below, the California voters resoundingly defeated Arnold's so called "Reform Agenda". Who's the girly man now?

Prior to the 2004 Presidential Election I was convinced that the voters would make a statement by sending Bush and his cronies back to Crawford. Unfortunately, the statement wasn't bold enough to overcome the Diebold machines and we've been forced to absorb four more years of this disastrous administration.

But yesterday some good things happened. The people of Maine reaffirmed a law prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation. In Pennsylvania all eight members of the Dover School board who had voted to include "Creationism" as part of their science curriculum were soundly booted from office. Democrats were elected governor of both Virginia and New Jersey and in California the people just said no by defeating every initiative intended to hurt working people and the rights of women.

California's Proposition 73 was a typical "Rovian" ploy. It was an initiative designed to energize the conservative base. Surely the image of a young teenage girl getting an abortion without her parents knowledge would coax evangelicals out of their caves and into the voting booths -where they would vote like the sheep that they are. Arnold's agenda would pass.....or so they thought.

But in the wake of Tuesdays election, it appears that these tactics aren't going to work anymore because a majority of the electorate is finally coming to their senses. The voters of California, Maine, Virginia and New Jersey seemed to realize that every issue is not black or white..... good vs. evil. Issues have nuance....... and laws have consequences. Tuesday people seemed to realize that the good of a true democratic society might just out weigh the heft of their own personal fear.

I'm sure that the voters in Maine didn't just recently decide that they love all gay people. Many Pennsylvanians are good Christians and will never believe they decended from apes. And In California - many voters would never personally consider an abortion, but realize it is a personal decision not a legislative one.

In other words we saw the big picture and cast our ballots on the underlying, more important issues. It may be a small step forward for our democracy which has taken several gigantic steps backwards with the Neocons in charge and we still have a lot of work to do. Lets just call it our "Project for an Old American Ideal" - FREEDOM.

Now the bad news:

Tuesday - the people of Kansas still believe the world is flat. Voters there approved a "creationist" educational agenda for their public school system. And, Texas became the 19th state in the union to formally ban gay marriage. But you can't blame Texans. They heard all of Bush's talk about a pandemic and assumed he was talking about homosexuality.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

. . . . and the Hummer You Rode In On!

For a guy who became Governor through a freakish recall election where confused voters wasted ballots on porn stars, washed up ex-child actors, and over 130 other assorted loonies, Arnold Schwarzenegger finally had a chance to prove that he was truly the peoples’ Governor. While originally elected with less than 50% of the vote, and many of those only “backup” votes by people who opposed the recall in the first place, Arnold’s handlers were calling Tuesday’s special election an “up or down vote” on the four initiatives he labeled as his reform agenda. Arguably, it was an up or down vote on Arnold himself!

Schwarzenegger called the initiatives part of a “Year of Reform,” but they were really more about revenge. Proposition 74 was little more than a “f**k you” to the teachers who have criticized him. Proposition 75 was a similar “f**k you” to other public employee unions who have also criticized him. Proposition 77, while possibly resulting in a more substantial change by redistricting before the next census, was still timed to essentially be a “f**k you” to a Democratic controlled legislature that refused to kneel down and kiss his celebrity ass from the day he walked into the Capitol.

Only Proposition 76, the Bushian named “Live Within Our Means Act,” was a dramatic reform that would give Schwarzenegger unprecedented power to cut spending on anything he didn’t like. As if the best guy to trust for good, crisp decisions on budgeting priorities is the guy owning a fleet of eight Hummers!

And the final result?

Suurrrvveyy Saaayyys: DOWN!!!

Once the dust settled, not one of these initiatives passed, and the closest any of them could get was 46.55% of the votes (with 98.7% of precincts reporting). The keystone budget bill only got 38%. To put an exclamation point on this as a personal rejection of Arnold himself, several of the initiatives were ahead in the polls, UNTIL SCHWARZENEGGER STARTED CAMPAIGNING FOR THEM!

Clearly, not only is the honeymoon over, but Californians seem ready to have the wedding annulled!

But that can't happen until 2006, and I want to celebrate now - like I always do when a political opponent takes a beating - with a big plate of chinese food and extra soy sauce! That's right: Kikkoman when he's down!

(Sorry, but I've always wanted to use that line and I haven't had many chances in the last five years!)

The Torture President

Yesterday speaking to reporters in Panama President Bush basically admitted that he is the torture President. Here is the exchange. Read between the lines.

(Emphasis added)

Q Mr. President, there has been a bit of an international outcry over reports of secret U.S. prisons in Europe for terrorism suspects. Will you let the Red Cross have access to them? And do you agree with Vice President Cheney that the CIA should be exempt from legislation to ban torture?

PRESIDENT BUSH: Our country is at war, and our government has the obligation to protect the American people. The executive branch has the obligation to protect the American people; the legislative branch has the obligation to protect the American people. And we are aggressively doing that. We are finding terrorists and bringing them to justice. We are gathering information about where the terrorists may be hiding. We are trying to disrupt their plots and plans. Anything we do to that effort, to that end, in this effort, any activity we conduct, is within the law. We do not torture.
And, therefore, we're working with Congress to make sure that as we go forward, we make it possible -- more possible to do our job. There's an enemy that lurks and plots and plans, and wants to hurt America again. And so, you bet, we'll aggressively pursue them. But we will do so under the law. And that's why you're seeing members of my administration go and brief the Congress. We want to work together in this matter. We -- all of us have an obligation, and it's a solemn obligation and a solemn responsibility. And I'm confident that when people see the facts, that they'll recognize that we've -- they've got more work to do, and that we must protect ourselves in a way that is lawful.

So Bush is basically saying that Cheney has been "briefing" Congress about how to keep a legal loophole that allows this administration to continue to "aggressively pursue information". They are obviously hiding behind their legal definition of torture. I can't help but remember the Republican outrage at President Clinton's attempt to hide behind the legal definition of sex. At least we weren't subjected to pictures of Clinton's behavior. I have seen the Abu Ghraib photos and that sure looks like torture to me. And yet Bush can stand in front of the world and say we do not torture. Next he is going to say that what happened at Abu Ghraib and is surely happening at the CIA black-op sites is consensual.

At least be consistent with your own administration Mr. Bush. "Aggressively investigate" the leak case. Call in Cheney and Rove and DO NOT TORTURE THEM.

Monday, November 07, 2005

Arnold's "New Role" - Humble Servant

Since Arnold was elected Governor of California he has strutted around the country portraying himself as the people's Governor while spending most of his time raising money and rubbing elbows with conservative special interest groups. His media and public events are tightly controlled right down to the angle with which the news cameras can shoot him. At a Bay Area photo-op last summer a television photographer was roughed up the governor's security team when he tried to videotape from an unauthorized angle.

Even with these extreme attempts to control his image - Arnold's popularity has plunged from 61% in November of 2004 to 33% today on the eve of his Special Election. A special election that is costing the tax payers 50 million dollars at a time wheN the state coffers are already empty. As I blogged previously the polls show most likely all of his initiatives will go down to defeat. Arnold's massive media blitz out done by a more massive demonstration by the working people of California.

Today's article in the New York Times paints a vivid picture of what Schwarzenegger is faced with. This weekend in a desperate move to try and recast himself as a humble and sensitive leader - just doing the best he can. His new talking point is,

"I've had a lot to learn, and sometimes I learned the hard way. But my heart is in this, and I want to do right by you."

Fortunately I think the voters of California now see Arnold for what he his - a "B" Action Hero - not a Leading Man - and most definitely not a Governor.

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Lets Fight the War on Poverty Over Here, So We Can Keep the Rioting Over There!

While watching recent news coverage of rioting in Venezuela, I heard a local reporter make an interesting comment in response to Keith Olbermann noting that Bush’s disapproval rating was at about 60% in the U.S. She said “Well, his disapproval rating is 70% over here, and look what’s happening!”

So 10 percentage points is the difference between controlled anger and harsh criticism in the U.S., and rioting in Venezuela? With the long list of scandals that threaten to further erode Bush's support in the U.S, 10 percentage points doesn't seem like much of a cushion!

Admittedly, most of the 70 percent who disapprove of Bush in Venezuela are extremely poor and desperate, while many in the U.S. are firmly in the middle to upper middle class. However, if the U.S. is allowed to follow the road of the neocon agenda to it’s logical conclusion, there will be a whole lot more poor, desperate and angry Americans, and a much smaller number of extremely wealthy ones. That, as we are seeing elsewhere in the world, is a volatile mixture that leads to violence.

According to the Bush administration and its supporters, we are spending billions of dollars to “fight terrorism over there, so we don’t have to fight it over here.” At the same time, we are slowly creating the same environment over here that spawns violence and terrorism elsewhere in the world. Watching the rioting over the last few days, and the inability of the police to control it, makes me wonder if Bush's supporters really want what they are asking for!

If people become poor enough, hopeless enough, angry enough, and hungry enough, I’m afraid the rich will start tasting pretty good!

Saturday, November 05, 2005

Memo to Dick Cheney: Ending Torture in the Name of the American People "is Our Due!" [Update]

After winning the 2004 election by a couple of percentage points, Dick Cheney was quoted to have said about cutting taxes during a war, “We won the midterms – it’s our due!”

So where was Cheney last week? Lobbying Senate Republicans to exempt the CIA from new legislation sponsored by John McCain prohibiting the use of “cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment” of anyone in U.S. government custody no matter where they are held.

These provisions were added to a defense bill that passed in the Senate earlier in the month by a vote of 90 to 9. Let me repeat that: 90 to 9! Not 51 to 49 with the votes counted by Cheney's buddies at Diebold , but 90 to 9 with each vote verifiable and in the public record. And it was passed by the same Senate Republicans who have sucked up to every other Bush administration policy like baby piglets on their mommy!

Get it, Mr. Cheney. The American people don’t like torture! It doesn’t matter how much you like it. It doesn't matter how much Rummy likes it. It doesn't matter how much anyone in the administration likes it. By a 90 to 9 vote, ending it is our due!

But the ever oblivious Bush still says he’s going to veto the measure if the anti-torture language isn’t removed. Yeah, that’s the way to continue your assault on Richard Nixon’s record low approval rating. Veto a bill that passed 90 to 9 outlawing torture!

Oh, and if you want a suggestion for your next move in the apparent effort to lose the chess game for the hearts and minds of the American people, how about eliminating the estate tax while recommending a cut in the home mortgage interest deduction?

[Update] Looks like John McCain knows a political (and moral) winner when he sees it!

Friday, November 04, 2005

Vaccinate Against What?

Whenever George Bush faces a crisis he and Karl Rove open up their big bag of distractions and try to deflect the nation's attention. Prior to the 2004 election the favorite was the Terror Stop light. I still haven't figured out how yellow terror feels any different than orange terror. But this tactic was tried and true. Bush would drop in the polls and suddenly there would be a new terror threat - reminding us that the only thing keeping us safe at night was Georges "War On Terra".

The last couple of months have been tough on old George. It seems the scandals have been lining up one after the other. His poll numbers now in the mid-30's. His big bag of distractions is just about empty and the terror stop light - broken - just blinking red.

So the administration came up with a new distraction - The Bird Flu. They figure that sounds scary and lets George over-emphasize words in his speeches like PAN-DEM-IC. He even read a book about the 1918 outbreak that killed millions world-wide. Its really quite hard to imagine ............. No not that many people dying - but George actually reading a book.

The big flaw in the logic of this distraction is that while Bird Flu is a concern and a risk that medical science needs to focus on - George Bush doesn't really believe in science.

Most experts say that we are several mutations away from Avian Flu jumping easily from human to human. Several mutations ..... over time .......adapting....... and changing.
In other words EV-O-LU-TION.

So there it is - our president wants us to be scared of evolution - another thing that Mr. Bush doesn't really believe in. And to prove it he wants our public schools to teach Intelligent Design. The evangelical theory that God creates everything as it is, just as planned.

So - if I've got this right, our President is now asking our nations top medical scientists to create giant stockpiles of vaccines against God.

I think that'll work.

Is There Anybody George Bush Would Fire?

There are two moments that seem to completely encapsulate the competence level of the Bush administration. Together, they are pretty much all you need to know.

The first is the image of Dubya’s back-slapping show of support to FEMA Director Michael Brown when he was being criticized for his poor performance in managing the response to Hurricane Katrina. Watching Dubya say “Brownie, your doin’ a heckuva job” as people were dying on the Gulf Coast was probably the most stunning display of incompetent leadership that I have ever seen.

The second is the recent release of a series of e-mails that included this classic to Brownie from his secretary during the catastrophe:

Please roll up the sleeves of your shirt, all shirts. Even the president rolled his sleeves to just below the elbow. In this [crisis] and on TV you just need to look more hard-working.

Brownie isn’t the only incompetent in this administration, but he’s clearly the poster boy! Luckily, we have a perfect photo op of the president standing right beside him to put on the poster! Two hard workin’ guys with their sleeves rolled up!

And technically, Brownie hasn’t even been replaced as the current poster boy (or girl), despite a great many worthy contenders. He wasn’t fired, but was allowed to “resign” - while staying on the freakin’payroll!

If such an obvious, incompetent, dimwit as Michael Brown is still allowed to take home a taxpayer-funded salary, how are we to even entertain the thought that George Bush might do the honorable thing and fire Karl Rove for lying about his interactions with reporters about Valerie Plame.

It ain’t gonna happen!

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Ronnie Earle Has Delay Singing the Blues!

Oops, not that Ronnie Earl! Oh, and not that Delay either!

Oh well, different characters but the same theme, as this Ronnie Earle just slammed the ball back into this Delay's court by essentially mocking the claim that Delay's case couldn't be heard fairly by a Democratic judge. Apparently, now it can't be heard fairly by a Republican Judge either!

So now what? How are they going to find a judge who isn't politically opposed to Republicans, and yet isn't one?

If political party affiliation is enough to disqualify a judge, we might as well just toss the entire justice system and let Patrick Fitzgerald decide everything!

Schwarzenegger: Two Thumbs Way Down

The most recent polls show that Arnold's reform measures on the ballot in next weeks special election are trailing by significant margins. There was never an outcry from the people of Cali-forn-eeya for any of these initiatives in the first place. The entire campaign is like a publicity tour for a bad Arnold action flick. You know the ones - where the ad in the paper instead of quotes by Ebert and Roeper with two thumbs up, has a list of bizarre adjectives like "stupendous, fantabulous, and supercalifragalisticexpealodocious" attributed to some guy from a publication that doesn't exist. It may look impressive but it rarely tricks the movie goers into spending the ten bucks.

The other big difference is that when you are promoting a bad movie there isn't a well-funded opposition of citizens against you. You know - the same citizens that Arnold said he was coming to Sacramento to represent.

Schwarzenegger is clearly out of his league here and somewhat delusional. He is quoted today in the LA Times telling reporters that he could have put "15 more ideas" on the ballot and he intends to in the future. He has also promised to "finish the job" in a second term as govenor.

My prediction - his initiatives all go down to defeat on November 8 and Arnold finally reads his reviews and cancels the production of the sequel.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

You say “Scalito” and I say “Thomato!”

How ironic to see this photo of right wing Supreme Court nominee Samuel Alito at the memorial service for Rosa Parks, as if the civil rights of black people (or anyone else, for that matter) are vitally important to him! You would think that someone who looks so reverent at this moment would care deeply about civil rights. So might you think this about someone who looks so black as Clarence Thomas.

Maybe Alito is not just another clone of Antonin Scalia, as has been reported. Maybe, he's just as much like Clarence Thomas. Perhaps in addition to Roe v. Wade, the Democrats should include a few questions in the confirmation hearings that will elicit his judicial philosophy on the case of Pubic Hair v. Coke Can!

Speaking of race issues, isn’t it amazing how within hours of Alito being nominated to the Supreme Court, rumors started flying about how the Democrats were distributing a set of talking points implying that, somehow, they were prejudiced against Italian-American culture? And then we find that they actually don't mention anything about ethnicity, but only that Alito lost a critical case against the mafia. What a stupid, feeble attempt to extend the phony culture wars that have been a main strategy of a certain Official A for the last five years!

Democrats against Italian-Americans? Jeez! Next we’ll be seeing the release of some academic looking study showing that Republicans are statistically more likely to demonstrate their support of Italian-American culture by regular dinners at “The Olive Garden!”

Fortunately, not all Italian-Americans [Warning: Link contains language not suitable for small children] are taking the bait.

Sooner or later, Republicans are going to have to accept the fact that the “culture war” card has been marked, so no matter where it is in the deck, everyone can see it!

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Its All in the Timing!

After five years of being bullied by the Bush administration and the Republicans, Harry Reid didn’t just grow a spine today, he filleted Bill Frist and took his!

After making Frist huff and puff about the minority democrats hijacking the Senate, Reid promptly took Frist’s “majority” Republicans into a closed session and forced them to agree to follow through with their long stonewalled investigation into phony Iraq intelligence.

Reid was able to pull off this new show of strength because, with the indictments of Tom Delay, Tom Noe, Scooter Libby, and an ongoing SEC investigation of Frist himself, everyone in America knows that the current Republicans in power are a bunch of corrupt, thieving liars.

Although plenty of liberals have known this from the day Bush was “awarded” the presidency by the Supreme Court, it seems clear that even conservatives are at least hinting that they recognize it, even as they try to keep up their habitual attacks and smokescreens.

Take today’s article by NYT columnist, David Brooks, who negates a lengthy column entitled “The Prosecutor’s Diagnosis: No Cancer Found,” in which he tries to make the best case for the Bush administration, with the closing paragraph:

On Friday, we saw a man, Patrick Fitzgerald, who seemed like an honest and credible public servant. What an unusual sight that was.
Unusual, indeed, when Republicans are running all three branches of government!

Dems get Tough

Harry Reid shuts down the senate to demand an investigation into the run up to the war. The Democrats have finally found a spine.

Next, Peja Stojakovic of my beloved Sacramento Kings is going to fight for a loose ball.

My world is upside down.

Bush's Premature Nomination

Over the weekend I was trying to figure out why Fitzgerald only indicted Libby even though after reading the indictment it is very clear that this was an organized administration effort to discredit Wilson by outing Valarie Plame.

What I have come to is this. I think Fitzgerald is pitching the first inning by charging only Libby. But, he played it straight to convince Bush that this is all he's got. Bush who is now making his own decisions because he doesn't know who to trust in his own cabinet - was tricked into blowing his cover too early (read: supreme court nomination, scary bird flu speech).

Bush's solution was kind of like a baseball manager bringing in his closer to get out of a first inning jam. It might get you to the second inning without too much damage but later in the game it is going to be a problem.

Fitzgerald now just has to wait a week or so then announce the next indictment. Bush will have no ready made distractions at that point because of today's scary speech and yesterday's premature nomination.

The added bonus is that all of the right wing journalists and pundits also took the bait. So smug with their - no indictments for the original crime - statements. I can't wait until they have to eat those words. Fitz your plan is working perfectly.