Saturday, November 5, 2005
Indicted ex-White House aide Lewis Libby played a key role in an earlier case of slanting U.S. intelligence for political gain - four years before the Iraq War when he was legal adviser to a House investigation into how communist China got U.S. nuclear secrets.
In 1999, Libby, a China expert, served on a special Republican-controlled House committee that laid the blame for the compromise of U.S. secrets almost exclusively on Democrats, despite evidence that the worst rupture of nuclear secrets actually occurred during the Reagan-Bush administration in the mid-1980s.
But the reality was that the principal exposure of U.S. nuclear secrets to China appears to have occurred when Beijing obtained U.S. blueprints for the W-88 miniaturized hydrogen bomb, a Chinese intelligence coup in the mid-1980s on the watch of Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush.
The intelligence loss came at a time when the Reagan-Bush administration was secretly collaborating with communist China on arms shipments to the Nicaraguan contra rebels, an operation so sensitive that Congress and the American people were kept in the dark, even as White House aide Oliver North colluded with Chinese agents.
The Chinese tested their miniaturized warhead in 1992 while George H.W. Bush was president. In other words, it was impossible that the Clinton-Gore administration, which started in 1993, could have been responsible for this security breach.
But the ultimate payoff to Republicans for this twisting of history came in November 2000, when possibly millions of Americans went to the polls determined to throw out the Clinton-Gore crowd for selling nuclear secrets to communist China.
That impression was anchored in the public mind by the House committee's three-volume report, which had selectively presented the case and steered away from evidence that implicated the administrations of Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush.
The irony was that these American voters, eager to expel the Democrats for compromising nuclear secrets to China, actually let back in the Republicans who were much more deeply implicated in the offense.
But Lewis Libby had learned an important lesson - fears of foreign dangers could move the American people in a desired direction, as long as the information was carefully tailored and controlled.
It appears that Libby is much, much more than a liar. He's a traitor and all around scumbag. The article goes into much more detail.
The Grey Lady gives us this report of a United Nations panel's findings that good old Halliburton overcharged Iraq for reconstruction and the US of A should reimburse our colony at Baghdad over $200,000,000 for it.
While it is widely understood that the sweetheart contracts secured by Dick Cheney's former company (largely because as SecDef and later as Veep he helped rig the system so that only ventures staffed by loyal Republicans-loyal to him, anyway- such as Bechtel, Dynegy, Blackwater and Halliburton were even eligible to be awarded such contracts without that irritating competitive bidding) were heinously overvalued, this is evidently the first time that a credible body has come forward with evidence that the work performed was not merely grossly overpriced, but of poor quality to boot. [my bold]
[. . .]
Read the rest of the talking dog's post at the Street.
And while Dick and his Butt Boys are stuffing their pockets, Congress is making budget cuts to pay for it.
Being a writer of questionable repute, I've conjured scenes that have given pause to people who've known me well. I'd hate to be judged by some of the subject matter I've explored. [Examples] Regardless of the quality of the writing, his or mine, I'm not one for S & M nor am I cruel to animals or my fellow human beings, nor do I want to be. While Scooter seems to have a penchant for writing about bestiality and bodily fluids, I'm not willing to take the leap his definition of 'watersports' is any different from mine, nor that he fucks furry woodland creatures.
With all due respect to my fellow bloggers, I think we have serious issues to bash this little worm and his masters with aside from his art. I sure as hell wouldn't want people to speculate on my psychiatric conditions based on the crap (fiction, mind you) I've published. Scooter should pay for his crimes and the last time I checked, writing a bad novel isn't a felony (thankfully). Treason is.
On Thursday, Charles said he and Camilla had been "utterly horrified to see the terrible scenes of destruction wrought by the hurricane across New Orleans and the surrounding area."
(Piermont, Rockland County - WABC, November 4, 2005) - Large signs showing aborted fetuses are now prominently displayed in front of a small store in Rockland County.
[. . .]
Placed here by Richard Bruno, they are t[w]o large pictures of aborted fetuses sitting in the front window of his business. They are part of his protest against Rockland County political candidates who over see funding that goes to Planned Parenthood.
He added the pictures after someone placed this sign on his window, commenting about their right of choice. Immediately the pictures began drawing a mixture of reactions.
[. . .]
What can I say? Can abortion foes put up a reasonable argument instead of sensationalizing the issue? I see 'em when I go with the Mrs. to the OB/GYN too, they stand on the sidewalk and pray and shout at the women who are going into the place (a large doctors office complex with MDs of every flavor) though most are there for other reasons. Personally, I feel like clearing off the sidewalk with the Explorer (I just give 'em the finger though), but this is America after all. Too bad the Jesus freaks can't grasp that.
Friday, November 4, 2005
In the last week the nation has turned the corner on impeaching George W Bush. It has gone from a cry of protest and anger, to being the subtext of what is said and done at the highest levels of government. The tumblers are whirring, and one by one falling into place. The force of gravity is now on the side of it occurring, rather than it not occurring. Impeachment is a Trial by Constitution, and the search for probable cause has begun.
[. . .]
Once the star of impeachment was only only glimpsed in the distance., now the planets are aligning. Inching closer with each new confirmation that the case for going to war in Iraq was a crude forgery - the "Italian Job"'s source is now established fact, not speculation.
[. . .]
Like Gord says, pack a lunch because it's long, but an intersting read on the psychology of the electorate in light of the past tumultuous six weeks.
Okay, I did something here I shouldn't have, on principle. It's my short term memory loss thing and it sometimes gets the better of me. While Stirling Newberry is a good writer, I do owe allegiance to the people in Left Blogtopia (y!sctp!*) whom I consider friends and have helped us to our relative success. One of those people is RJ Eskow, whose insight and support I value greatly. It seems Stirling abandoned his principles about 6 months ago with regard to our friend and, as Pauly reminds me in comments, those of us who do respect RJ have boycotted Stirling and his site.
As you see, I failed to make the connection last night when I posted the above. I also have a policy of not removing posts from the Brain. If I didn't have the policy, I'd be just as bad as Stirling and other responsible parties at BOP. I value our credibility and I'm not going down that slippery slope. Our words are out there and I stand by them. If we're wrong on some topic or another, it remains out there for all to see. We stand behind our words and admit our mistakes. So the above post remains.
So, in light of the above, I offer my deepest and sincere apologies to my friend RJ and assure him I will be more thoughtful in the future.
As for Stirling, this is your first and last mention here.
*yes! skippy coined that phrase!
[. . .]
On NPR yesterday, the former chief of staff to the secretary of state said that he had uncovered a "visible audit trail" tracing the practice of prisoner abuse by U.S. soldiers directly back to Vice President Cheney's office.
[. . .]
Mr. WILKERSON: I'm privy to the paperwork, both classified and unclassified, that the secretary of State asked me to assemble on how this all got started, what the audit trail was, and when I began to assemble this paperwork, which I no longer have access to, it was clear to me that there was a visible audit trail from the vice president's office through the secretary of Defense down to the commanders in the field that in carefully couched terms -- I'll give you that -- that to a soldier in the field meant two things: We're not getting enough good intelligence and you need to get that evidence, and, oh, by the way, here's some ways you probably can get it. And even some of the ways that they detailed were not in accordance with the spirit of the Geneva Conventions and the law of war.
[. . .]
I talked about this months ago. This wasn't a few bad apples. These were the acts of an administration desperate for anything they could use in their propaganda operation on the American people.
...So how long are we gonna call these abuses the 'acts of a few bad apples' before we realize this is a leadership problem. This is the culture that comes from occupation. And this is an indicator, when morale is low and the troops begin to look at the locals as a lower form of life, the policy is bankrupt...
Arianna is right - James Carville is hopelessly compromised by his marriage to Mary Matalin. They once provided entertainment for reporters who didn't want to have to write about the issues, but this is serious:
[. . .]
I've always wondered how, in such an ideologically polarized climate, these two keep a marriage going. My thought is at least one of them has zero principles and is just shilling for the cash. My fear is both of them are. Time for Carville to spill what 'inside baseball' stuff he knows or take a seat on the sidelines.
Rome - Italy's spymaster identified an Italian occasional spy named Rocco Martino on Thursday as the disseminator of forged documents that described efforts by Iraq to buy uranium ore from Niger for a nuclear weapons program, three lawmakers said Thursday.
Oh Boy! That's good. Now, who put him up to it?
The revelation came on a day when the Federal Bureau of Investigation confirmed that it had shut down its two-year investigation into the origin of the forged documents.
The only reason I can see for the FBI to shut down an investigation before they had all the facts is that they were getting too close to the truth and were told to. This means the origin of the scam is pretty high up. Like in the White House.
La Repubblica said General Pollari had held a meeting on Sept. 9, 2002, with Stephen J. Hadley, then the deputy national security adviser. Mr. Hadley, now the national security adviser, has said that he met General Pollari on that date, but that they did not discuss the Niger-Iraq issue.
"Nobody participating in that meeting or asked about that meeting has any recollection of a discussion of natural uranium, or any recollection of any documents being passed," Mr. Hadley told a briefing on Wednesday in Washington. "And that's also my recollection."
That "no recollection" bullshit is weasel words. If they didn't talk about it, why not just say they didn't talk about it?
This is big. This was the main selling point for Bush's Criminal War. They lied then and they're lying now.
If I was facing a hangman's rope, I'd probably lie too. I'd probably get caught and hang anyway. So will they.
A photo of Congresswoman Barbara Lee, a great fighter for progressives, was used without her permission in a PhRMA mailer to deceive California votes on a upcoming ballot measure. This is yet another example of how the people at PhRMA will lie, steal and cheat to ensure nothing damages their bottom line.
WASHINGTON - A mailer targeting black California voters pictures a dozen prominent black lawmakers next to an endorsement of a prescription drug initiative on the Nov. 8 ballot that some of them strongly oppose.
Several of the lawmakers on Thursday denounced the Proposition 78 mailer, which was sent by a group funded by the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, or PhRMA, the powerful lobbying organization for the nation's drug companies.
An excellent example and reminder of why we absolutely must go next Tuesday and vote these bastards down.
The drug manufacturers have spent about $76 million so far in favor of Proposition 78 and against Proposition 79, a competing measure pushed by organized labor and some consumer groups.
Proposition 78 would establish a program in which drug companies could voluntarily offer discounted medicines to about 6 million low-income Californians.
Proposition 79, which promises to reach as many as 10 million, would penalize companies that don't offer discounts and allow lawsuits against firms deemed to be charging too much.
The Yes on 79 campaign reports having spent $503,000.
"If you're down with the community," Frommer said, "you wouldn't be endorsing 78."
Yo, Homes. Go read. Good article on who's been paid off to endorse Prop 78. It'll surprise you.
THE MISSION of WomensLaw.org is to provide easy-to-understand legal information to women living with or escaping domestic violence.
I'm gonna put a link to them in the sidebar this afternoon.
Women, if you're in an abusive relationship, get the fuck out. Pack your shit, grab the kids, and get out. I don't care if you don't have a dime, there's help out there now. Once you're stable, have the motherfucker put in jail. Guys who beat on their women deserve to be beat on themselves.
*Public Service Announcement
My current workplace has mandated 6 day 60 hour work weeks with no extra compensation. Why's this funny? I get to hear several fellow employe[e]s - all of whom proudly voted for Bush (and one of whom called me all manner of names when he heard I voted for Kerry) - complain about how unfair this situation is...
All of us reality-based folks predicted this years ago. Figures it's the conservatives who are whining. Judging from the latest polls, more and more of 'em are coming out of their denial and are realizing they've been played for fools.
By the way, Jay, who do you work for, Wal-Mart?
Thursday, November 3, 2005
How Bush Visit Became the Siege Of Howard U.
It was Soul Food Thursday at Howard University last week, and many students were looking forward to their favorite meal: fried chicken, macaroni and cheese, collard greens and cornbread. At lunchtime, however, students discovered that much of the campus had been locked down and that the school's cafeteria was off limits.
Apparently, many of them did not know that President Bush and first lady Laura Bush had arrived for a "youth summit" at the Blackburn Center, where the dining hall is located. Stomachs began to growl, tempers flared, and, eventually, a student protest ensued.
...What might have been a public relations coup for Bush -- a visit to a historically black college to show concern for at-risk youths -- ended up as another Katrina-like moment, with the president appearing spaced-out, waving and smiling for television cameras while students were trying to break through campus security to get to the cordoned-off cafeteria.
Of course, the episode was nothing compared with all the other bad news Bush got last week, including the indictment of White House aide I. Lewis Libby on perjury charges. But what happened at Howard was illustrative nonetheless of how a seemingly minor mess, easily avoided by a more attentive White House, could have repercussions down the road.
The Republican Party is trying hard to win over black voters before the midterm elections, and Maryland Lt. Gov. Michael Steele needs the support of black Democrats in his bid to become the first black Republican in the U.S. Senate since Howard alumnus Edward Brooke of Massachusetts (1967-1979). So one thing Bush didn't want was a ruckus during a visit to Howard.
All he had to do was drop in on Soul Food Thursday, be seen sharing a wing and some collard greens with students -- and score one for the GOP.
But the visit went from bad to worse. On a day when the U.S. Senate passed a resolution paying tribute to civil rights icon Rosa Parks, who died last week, campus security guards were telling students that if they wanted to eat they'd have to come back when the president and first lady were gone, then go to a service door at the rear of the dining hall and ask for a chicken plate to go. Never mind that a student meal plan at Howard can cost as much as $2,500 a semester.
Howard is not some hotbed of political activism. The biggest event of the year is homecoming, which features two fashion shows, a step show and lots of hip-hop celebrities. As the rapper Ludacris put it in his summer hit, "Pimpin' All Over the World":
Jump in the car and ride for hours,
Makin' sure I don't miss the homecoming at Howard.
To set off a student protest at this school, you'd have to be politically tone-deaf in the extreme, out of touch and flying blind. And yet, Bush did it.
God help us in Iraq.
Emphasis in bold was mine. - BaltLen
Brown Discussed Wardrobe During Katrina
Newly-released e-mails show former FEMA director Michael Brown discussing his wardrobe during the crisis caused by Hurricane Katrina.
A House panel has released 23 pages of internal e-mail offering additional evidence of a confused and distracted government response to Katrina, particularly from Brown, the former head of Federal Emergency Management Agency, at critical moments after the storm hit.
The e-mails show that Brown, who had been planning to step down from his post when the storm hit, was preoccupied with his image on television even as one of the first FEMA officials to arrive in New Orleans, Marty Bahamonde, was reporting a crisis situation of increasing chaos to FEMA officials.
"My eyes must certainly be deceiving me. You look fabulous — and I'm not talking the makeup," writes Cindy Taylor, FEMA's deputy director of public affairs to Brown on 7:10 a.m. local time on Aug. 29.
"I got it at Nordstroms," Brown writes back. "Are you proud of me? Can I quit now? Can I go home?" An hour later, Brown adds: "If you'll look at my lovely FEMA attire, you'll really vomit. I am a fashion god."
A week later, Brown's aide, Sharon Worthy, reminds him to pay heed to his image on TV. "In this crises and on TV you just need to look more hardworking ... ROLL UP THE SLEEVES!" Worthy wrote, noting that even President Bush "rolled his sleeves to just below the elbow."
Some lawmakers immediately decried the e-mails.
The e-mails "depict a leader who seemed overwhelmed and rarely made key decisions," said U.S. Rep. Charlie Melancon, D-La. He criticized Brown for addressing "superficial subjects — such as Mr. Brown's appearance or reputation — rather than the pressing response needs of Louisiana and Mississippi."
Dear Mrs. G,
Next Tuesday, Californians will head to the polls to vote in a special election organized by Governor Schwarzenegger and his right-wing allies. It's critical that we stand up and be counted on these important issues.
So I wanted to take just a moment to write to you since many of you have asked me how I plan to vote.
Please join me in voting NO on 73, 74, 75, 76, 77, and 78, and YES on 79. Here's why:
Read it Below the Fold.
Thanks, Babs, but we're way ahead of you. The real reason to vote no on Ah-nold's proposals is that he proposed them. He spent about $80mil on this idiotic special election hoping nobody but his supporters would show up to vote. Fuck him. Prop 78 is sponsored by Big Pharma, so that's no, and we're not doing anything to diminish a woman's right to choose or place her in jeopardy, so 73 is out.
WASHINGTON - Spurning a request by U.N. human rights investigators, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said Tuesday the United States will not allow them to meet with detainees at the Guantanamo prison for foreign terrorism suspects.
Rumsfeld also told a Pentagon news conference that prisoners at the U.S. naval base at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, were staging a hunger strike that began in early August as a successful ploy to attract media attention.
... He added, "There are a number of people who go on a diet where they don't eat for a period and then go off of it at some point. And then they rotate and other people do that."
Our guys sorta ease 'em back into eating right:
Tarver told the court that prison guards took a feeding tube from one detainee, "and with no sanitization whatsoever, reinserted it into the nose of a different detainee."
So not exactly the South Beach Diet, then.
Must have been Sgt. Vinnie Barbarino with his "up yer nose wit a rubber hose", huh?
In an amazingly ironically related story, the WaPo reports:
House Republicans are pushing to cut tens of thousands of legal immigrants off food stamps, partially reversing President Bush's efforts to win Latino votes by restoring similar cuts made in the 1990s.
The food stamp measure is just one of several provisions in an expansive congressional budget-cutting package that critics say unfairly targets the poor and disadvantaged, especially poor children.
While concerns about runaway spending for the war and disaster relief have dominated the debate over the budget until now, lawmakers in both chambers have been quietly drafting changes to major spending and entitlement programs that would affect millions of Americans, including the fast-growing immigrant population.
"We're cutting, but we're also changing things to try to make them fit today's needs better," House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.) said yesterday.
It sounds like the 'needs' are for more money to buy rubber hoses to force-feed Gitmo detainees, accomplished by starving legal immigrants' children.
What a bunch of assholes.
BOULDER, Colo. - Home Depot was sued by a shopper who claims he got stuck to a restroom toilet seat because a prankster had smeared it with glue.
Bob Dougherty, 57, accused employees of ignoring his cries for help for about 15 minutes because they thought he was kidding.
"They left me there, going through all that stress," Dougherty told The (Boulder) Daily Camera. "They just let me rot."
I hate when that happens! I usually just deploy my Leatherman, unbolt the toilet seat, and go looking for the culprit.
Hey, Fixer, been in Boulder lately?
Ultimately the whole truth will come out and historians will have their say, and Americans will look in the mirror and be ashamed.
Abraham Lincoln spoke of the "better angels" of our nature. George W. Bush will have none of that. He's set his sights much, much lower.
The latest story from the Dante-esque depths of this administration was front-page news in The Washington Post yesterday. The reporter, Dana Priest, gave us the best glimpse yet of the extent of the secret network of prisons in which the C.I.A. has been hiding and interrogating terror suspects. The network includes a facility at a Soviet-era compound in Eastern Europe.
This is the border along which democracy bleeds into tyranny.
Terrible instances of torture and other forms of abuse of detainees have come to light. The Pentagon has listed the deaths of at least 27 prisoners in American custody as confirmed or suspected criminal homicides.
None of this has given the administration pause. It continues to go out of its way to block a legislative effort by Senator John McCain, the Arizona Republican, to ban the "cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment" of any prisoner in U.S. custody.
Jimmy Carter was on Hardball yesterday. He said he never thought he'd see the day when Congress would argue whether torture is an acceptable policy or not.
Worse stories are still to come - stories of murder, torture and abuse. We'll watch them unfold the way people watch the aftermath of terrible accidents. And then we'll ask, "How could this have happened?"
I'll tell you exactly how it happened: we have criminals in charge of the United States of America. Let's ask how the fuck that happened.
I am not only ashamed of my government for this despicable shit, but as half of me is of Polish descent, I am ashamed of Poland for allowing this to happen. They, perhaps more than any country on the planet, should know the evil of concentration camps.
He's America's Joseph Goebbels. As a 21-year old Young Republican in Texas, Karl Rove not only pimped for Richard Nixon's chief political dirty tricks strategist Donald Segretti but soon caught the eye of the incoming Republican National Committee Chairman, George H. W. Bush. Rove's dirty tricks on behalf of Nixon's 1972 campaign catapulted Rove onto the national stage. From his Eagle's Nest in the West Wing of the White House, Rove now directs a formidable political dirty tricks operation and disinformation mill.
Since his formative political years when he tried to paint World War II B-24 pilot and hero George McGovern as a left-wing peacenik through his mid-level career as a planter of disinformation in the media on behalf of Texas and national GOP candidates to his current role as Dubya's "Svengali," Rove has practiced the same style of slash and burn politics as did his Nixonian mentor Segretti.
In small steps and without fanfare, the U.S. Army is adapting its training to "the war of the flea," the type of hit-and-run insurgency that is gripping Iraq, where more than 2,000 American military personnel have been killed.
Counterinsurgency training, military experts say, largely vanished from the curriculum of Army schools after the Vietnam War. It began a slow comeback after the Iraq war, which opened with a massive ground and air assault, turned into a protracted conflict of ambushes, bombings and hit-and-run attacks.
...One of the books that will be required reading at the college -- an essential career step for all officers who want to rise above the rank of major -- is a textbook by David Galula which was first published in 1964.
It deals with the central dilemma facing counterinsurgency forces: To break an insurgency you need intelligence about the insurgents from the population. But the population will not talk to counterinsurgency forces unless it feels safe from retribution from the insurgents. It does not feel safe as long as insurgents are active.
In Iraq, assassinations and bomb attacks have killed thousands of people seen as sympathetic to the Americans or working with the government. The Iraqi civilian death toll has topped 50 a day on average for many months.
Crime and lawlessness have added to the perception, reflected in Iraqi opinion polls, that U.S. forces are providing little or no security to Iraqis -- the key condition for winning the hearts and minds of the population.
Galula's book first appeared at about the same time as another treatise on counterinsurgency that is now high on contemporary military reading lists because of Iraq, "War of the Flea" by Robert Taber.
Taber likened guerrillas to fleas and conventional armies to dogs. The dog is always at a disadvantage against the flea -- he has "too much to defend, too small, ubiquitous and agile an enemy to come to grips with. If the war continues long enough ... the dog succumbs to exhaustion and anemia without ever having found anything on which to close its jaws or to rake with its claws."
Mr. Carter says the decision to go [to invade Iraq]was made long before 9/11.
"I think it was made long before President Bush was elected president," he says, "and the people that believed that America should be the dominant force in the world, unilaterally, acting militarily if necessary, is another basic change in the principles that have always guided our country and made us great.
"So, going to war without our county being directly threatened is a new policy that's radically changed the basic moral values and ethical standards of the United States of America."
(Massapequa, Long Island - WABC, November 2, 2005) - Police tonight are trying to determine who tried to set off an explosive device at a small shopping complex in Massapequa, very near Congressman Peter King's headquarters on Park Boulevard in Massapequa Park.
Eyewitness News reporter N.J. Burkett joins us live from the scene.
Police have sealed off part of a parking lot outside this shopping center. What they have found is a partially exploded pipe bomb outside the door of a brokerage firm that is itself next door to the Long Island headquarters of Congressman Peter King.
So far there are no suspects and the motive is still not clear.
[. . .]
If this was meant to send a message it backfired. While King isn't a favorite here on Long Island, a lot of innocent folks could have gotten hurt and assassination is not the way to bring about change. I just hope it wasn't some idiot on our side. The screeching Republican harpies will get a lot mileage out of it.
"General, God and I made a deal a long time ago. I'd stay out of His way and He'd stay out of mine. It's worked out well for both of us so far."
From that day forward, while I was on that base, the chaplains would bug me about my athieism (I'm not an athieist) and how my soul is in danger. I told a few holy men to get away from me before I ripped their arm off and beat them to death with it. These memories were brought back when I read this from Jo Fish:
...I am a servicemember and I'm so sick of the constant proletyzing and the power chaplains have. Last year I went with a buddy to see a chaplain, she had been raped and needed counseling very badly. All he could do was tell her to find comfort in Jesus and not to have anger in her heart...
This does nothing. Find comfort in Jesus, my ass. This woman needs serious help, and her rapist needs to be brought to justice, and telling her to pray will only make the situation worse. Fucking assholes. Note to Jesus freaks and chaplains: Jesus helps those who help themselves.
"Sky Pilot, how high can you fly?"
Wednesday, November 2, 2005
In the run-up to war with Iraq, Iranian intelligence was playing the U.S. like a violin - with the knowledge and full cooperation of certain major (and minor) - players in the U.S. government.
The story of the Niger uranium forgeries - and the cabal that created and circulated them - is about to be exposed, and this is well-suited to illustrate the tragic lesson of how and why we got to where we are today. For a long time, the Republican-dominated Senate Intelligence Committee has delayed its promised "phase two" of the investigation into the generation of bogus pre-war intelligence. The indictment of Scooter Libby, and the La Repubblica revelations, have busted the logjam. We may be about to learn how a crude forgery was inserted - by high U.S. government officials - into the U.S. intelligence stream, with the active collusion of the Iranians, the INC, and the intelligence agencies of three major U.S. allies.
While Congress slept, the neocons lied us into war. But the nation and - finally! - our representatives are beginning to wake up.
The Libby indictment is just the beginning. Neocon-gate is big, and getting bigger by the day. Before this is over, we'll have half the staff of the American Enterprise Institute in the dock - and the other half testifying against them.
Please go read. Many, many links.
Once Scooter left, many people, including a lot of alarmed conservatives and moderate Republicans, were hoping that W. and Vice would throw open some White House windows to let the air and sun in, and climb out of that incestuous, secretive, vindictive, hallucinatory dark hole they've been bunkered in for five years.
This is not loyalty. This is myopia. Where is a meddling, power-intoxicated first lady when we need one? Maybe the clever Nancy Reagan should have a little talk with Laura Bush tonight at the dinner for Prince Charles and Camilla, and explain to her how to step in and fire overweening officials who are hurting your man.
Vice thumbed his nose yesterday at the notion that he should clean up his creepy laboratory when he promoted two Renfields who are part of the gang that got us into this mess.
Dick Cheney has appointed David Addington as his new chief of staff, an ideologue who is so fanatically secretive, so in love with the shadows, so belligerent and unyielding that he's known around town as the Keyser Soze of the usual suspects. At 48, Mr. Addington is a legend: he's worked his way up the G.O.P. scandal ladder from Iran-contra to Abu Ghraib.
Vice also appointed John Hannah as his national security adviser, a title also held by Scooter. Mr. Addington and Mr. Hannah often battled with the C.I.A. and State as the cabal pushed the case that Saddam was a direct threat to America, sabotaging Colin Powell's reputation when it "helped" with his U.N. speech. Mr. Hannah was the contact for Ahmad Chalabi, who went around the C.I.A. to feed Vice's office the baloney intel and rosy scenarios that suckered the U.S. into war.
Angry at the Scooter scandal, the Addington appointment and the Roberts stonewalling, Senate Democrats did something remarkable yesterday: they dimmed the lights, stamped their feet and shut down the Senate.
Tired of being in the dark, the Democrats put the Republicans in the dark. Childish, perhaps, but effective. Republicans screamed but grudgingly agreed to take a look at where the investigation stands. But even if the Senate starts investigating again, Mr. Addington, now promoted, will have even more authority not to cooperate.
It's the Cheney chain of command.
Fuck with Cheney, willya, huh, Fitzgerald? He'll just drag more of 'em up out of the cold, dank shadows of his basement laboratory of evil. I think he's got plenty of 'em.
Or maybe he's desperate, and these are the only ones who know his dirty secrets that he could find to work for him who wouldn't melt in sunlight.
Either way, they are awful people. I hope the light of day will illuminate what they have done and contribute to the downfall of this criminal cabal that we call, through gritted teeth (OK, gritted gums for me), an administration.
WASHINGTON, DC - As experts issue increasingly dire warnings of an avian flu epidemic, President Bush signed an executive order Tuesday authorizing the mass slaughter of "all bald eagles found anywhere within our borders."
Bush added: "I want these birds rounded up, tied down, and their throats slit."
Executive Order 1342A, which calls for the annihilation of the bald eagle, specifies that each carcass shall be wrapped in a single American flag, doused with gasoline, and burned.
"Bald eagles may not be as imposing as, say, bears or wolves, but they are surprisingly difficult to kill," Hall said. "We can blow them off their perches with air rifles, stun them with ball-peen hammers, or break their wings, beaks, and necks, but still, some survive."
Hall continued: "I'm encouraging officials on the local level to utilize 'certain kill' methods, such as wrapping the eagle in radioactive waste and burying it upside-down in an old-growth forest."
Hall urged Boy Scout troops to join in the effort by ferreting out eagle nests and smashing the eggs underfoot.
The Office Of The White House Counsel, which oversees the usage of all executive-branch insignias, is expected to approve a new eagle-free presidential seal as early as next week.
Why not? The bald eagle, our national symbol, represents freedom. Since that's gettin' less and less, why remind us of it?
(Weird Farm News; Oct 01) On Tuesday afternoon, Mr. Billy "pitch doctor" Frist of Affrontery was found wandering around in a muddle with his pants around his knees after being kicked squarely in the head by an ornery mule owned by Mr. Harry Reed of Accountability.
[. . .]
Heh. Go see the Farmer.
A few links:
My post on tires.
Gord's post on winterizing your vehicle.
Gord's post on getting small engines in shape for the cold weather.
Be ready for winter driving. It could save you money and your life.
Cross-posted at TF&G
Tuesday, November 1, 2005
If you stand up, we'll stand with you. Does anybody think Harry was wrong? Not a one of us so far. We're ready to go. We were ready for this two years ago and would have gone with you then. Look around in cyberspace, Dems. If you'll stand up to the Republicans, show them for what they are, we will stand with you. We did in '04 and we'll do it in '06 if you give us leadership to fight for.
You guys are the ones on the pointy end. Take a hint from the Jarheads and ground pounders in Iraq. You know why the grunts will follow their commanders into Hell? Because they know they're all in it together. You play to win. If you want to win, we'll go with you. If you show us more of what Harry Reid and Henry Waxman and Chuck Schumer have done so far today, we'll storm the gates if you ask us. Just show us you're willing to fight along with us.
*yes!skippy coined that phrase!
Bye-bye world, including the United States of America.
We've got exactly the right monsters in charge to do it, too. We gotta get rid of 'em. Soon.
*To the tune of "Barbara Ann" by the Beach Boys.
The conventional wisdom - virtually across Washington's political spectrum - is that the impeachment of President Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney is unthinkable, and without doubt, it would be extremely difficult to engineer.
But a better answer to Americans interested in holding Bush and Cheney accountable is that impeachment is possible - if enough voters want it to happen.
Say, for instance, 75 percent of voters favored impeachment and considered it a decisive issue in how they will cast their ballots. Would politicians facing such a popular groundswell risk their own jobs to save Bush and Cheney?
Or, put differently, what would happen if voters - beginning with state and local elections on Nov. 8 - rejected every Republican on the ballot? Would the public hunger for accountability begin to sink in then?
By standing up now, the American people also could say to the world that when the U.S. political system went awry - when an administration invaded another country under false pretenses and when the White House winked at torture - the people didn't treat such transgressions as business as usual.
Indeed, if impeachment at least is put on the table, the American people could point to how they demanded accountability from those responsible and did all they could to set things right.
Go read this one. Burn it into your brain and work to make it happen.
Has anyone noticed that the coverup worked?
In his impressive presentation of the indictment of Lewis "Scooter" Libby last week, Patrick Fitzgerald expressed the wish that witnesses had testified when subpoenas were issued in August 2004, and "we would have been here in October 2004 instead of October 2005."
Note the significance of the two dates: October 2004, before President Bush was reelected, and October 2005, after the president was reelected. Those dates make clear why Libby threw sand in the eyes of prosecutors, in the special counsel's apt metaphor, and helped drag out the investigation.
Bush and his disciples would like everyone to assume that Libby was some kind of lone operator who, for this one time in his life, abandoned his usual caution. They pray that Libby will be the only official facing legal charges and that political interest in the case will dissipate.
Fitzgerald has made clear that he wants to keep this case going if doing so will bring us closer to the truth. Lawyers not involved in the case suggest that the indictment was written in a way that could encourage Libby, facing up to 30 years in prison, to cooperate in that effort.
But there is a catch. If Libby, through nods and winks, knows that at the end of Bush's term, the president will issue an unconditional pardon, he will have no interest in helping Fitzgerald, and every interest in shutting up. If Bush truly wants the public to know all the facts in the leak case, as he has claimed in the past, he will announce now that he will not pardon Libby. That would let Fitzgerald finish his work unimpeded, and we would all have a chance, at last, to learn how and why this sad affair came to pass.
Dream on, Mr. Dionne. One of Bush's hallmarks is that he will say all kinds of things he's going to do and then just plain not do them. He's a lyin' sack of shit whose word is just plain no damn good. He'll say one thing, mean another, say he's going to do something, do something else, and then blame yet someone else.
The White House, and that includes Bush, I think, 'cuz he's supposed to be in charge, knew all about what was going on in the Traitorgate deal since its inception. Hell, it was them that did it! Of course they knew about it.
They knew damn well their lying us into war would come up as a result of the investigation. They just wanted to put it off 'til their criminal machine safely re-installed them.
(West Village-WABC, October 31, 2005) - It's one of the most outrageous parades in the country. But Monday night, New York City's Halloween parade is also becoming one of the poignant.
The 2 mile parade in the village, led tonight by a talented 10 year old musician from New Orleans, who lost both his horn and his home to Hurricane Katrina.
[. . .]
There were also costumes from monsters to Metrocards.
If there one theme this year it was New Orleans. Like a Phoenix rising from the ashes, a collection was taken at the beginning of the parade to help some of the people participating -- some of whom are still homeless.
[. . .]
Hey, Jesus freaks, this is what Halloween is about. FUN! I know you folks are so tight-assed you don't even dance (how can you not dance?) but the Devil wasn't conjured up last night (Lord help his ass if he jumps up in the middle of a New York party), neither did any other 'pagan' shit come out of the sky, ground, or hyperspace. Just a big time party and goodwill to our fellow Americans who also enjoy a good party. Maybe you guys should lighten up? You're missing out on some good shit. I believe even Jesus was in attendance last night.
Capitol Report has learned about a provision tucked away in the Senate Budget Reconciliation Bill that would direct Medicaid money intended for Katrina affected states (Mississippi, Alabama, Louisiana) to Alaska.
The Budget Reconciliation package (PDF) contains $71.4 billion in new savings but it also spends $32.4 billion. Portions of that new spending were intended to be Katrina relief funds, but it seems Alaskan interests have once again succeeded in redirecting funds (PDF) to the state which has become famous for its "Bridge to Nowhere."
In addition to providing money for Katrina states, the provision also changes the way Alaska receives federal assistance for its Medicaid services. By changing the federal funding matching percentage for Medicaid in Alaska, the provision will provide an additional $130 million in federal Medicaid funding for Alaska. This additional $130 million is a direct result of tampering with federal matching percentages that results in Alaska being relieved of Medicaid related fiscal burdens that all the other 50 states face.
So, even though dozens of other states will face the same fiscal pressures as Alaska over the next few years, only Alaska is set to receive additional money. [my ems]
[. . .]
Hey, Mr. Putin, I'll sell Alaska back to you . . . cheap. We can't afford them any more.
On this our first anniversary in blog space, we herein post our last words to plan for an active transfer of priorities. Our experience here has been a rich and bountiful blessing. Thank you for reading and taking the time so often this past year to make your presence known to us with thoughtful commentary. You have been integral in raising our consciousness these past twelve months: A particular thanks to Jane at Firedoglake; Diane, Phillipe and the Collective at Pourquoi Pas; Fallenmonk; Robin and Robert at Dharma Bums; Fixer and Gordon at Alternate Brain; OWL at It's Morning Somewhere; AOB at Angry Old Broad; Wanda at Podunt Post; Culture Ghost; author Phil Rockstroh at Dissident Voice; Simbaud at King of Zembla and Thom at Societas. Thank you for the honor of an occasional cross post and mention of us on your sites. You have been an inspiration, and we have deeply appreciated your support and encouragement. We encourage our readers to support Counterpunch and the excellent collective by Sunil Sharma at Dissident Voice.
Harry Hound wishes to give a hearty goodbye to wonderful fur persons of all persuasions: Airbeagle, Cotton, Cairo, Mango, Shayna, Lili, Hoppy, Moxie, Buddy, Kobe, Katie, Lucy, Louis, and Sadie.
On behalf of the assorted nuts here at the Brain, I wish M and T well in their endeavors. Shayna the Cattle Dog also sends out a bark and a tail wag to Harry, whom she hopes will keep in touch with his furry, four legged pals. We'll miss their insight and their excellent writing. Good on yas, guys.
Monday, October 31, 2005
This article in the Allentown/Bethlehem PA Morning Call is not particularly timely although I think it relates to today. Worth a read.
The Army's ocean dumping of chemical weapons ended abruptly when Congress discovered what had been going on and halted an operation that could have sent a cloud of deadly nerve gas over New York City.
Also, the plan to encase ''a whole world war's worth'' of VX nerve gas in concrete before sinking the ship was flawed from an engineering standpoint, and the concrete wouldn't contain a catastrophe, scientists determined.
Scientists feared water pressure changes as the ship sank would set off an explosion that would cause a chain reaction that would blow up the entire ship, Meselson said.
That could have sent a toxic cloud high into the air, and prevailing winds could have swept it toward New York City, Meselson said.
A drop of the nerve gas can kill a person within a minute.
That was 35 years ago. If the ship had withstood the sinking, there would be tons of nerve gas lying on the bottom of the ocean. Dump the shit right at the bottom of the food chain, you fuckin' morons!
The moral of the story, I think, is: Don't let the DoD plan a goddam thing. I'm glad Rumsfeld wasn't in charge back then.
How a very smart and very loyal aide to Dick Cheney got indicted for allegedly lying about his role in defending the war
Details the war-within-a-war between the White House and the CIA. This line got my attention and made me grin 'til my teeth hurt - and they're in the bathroom!
And Fitzgerald's indictment sets the stage for either a trial next spring or a plea bargain that almost certainly would mean jail time for Libby. That possibility has already been discussed: a source close to the investigation told TIME that Fitzgerald and Libby's attorney Joseph Tate discussed possible plea options before the indictment was issued last week. But the deal was scotched because the prosecutor insisted that Libby do some "serious" jail time.
Fixer's right - don't fuck with The Company! Or with an honest man with a Grand Jury.
The following is the first draft of a statement by Vice President Dick Cheney regarding I. Lewis Libby, unreleased by the White House.
Mr. Libby has informed me that he is resigning to fight the charges brought against him. I have accepted his decision with deep regret. It is indeed a sad day for our nation when lying, perjury, and obstruction of justice can be interpreted by an activist prosecutor as somehow inconsistent with winning the war on terror.
Scooter Libby is one of the most capable and talented individuals I have ever known. He has given many years of his life to public service and has served our nation tirelessly and with great distinction. Should this investigation spiral out of control however, I will of course deny ever having met the man.
In our system of government an accused person is presumed innocent until a contrary finding is made by a jury after an opportunity to answer the charges and a full airing of the facts...or he or she is tortured to the point of death at the discretion of the president. Mr. Libby is entitled to that opportunity.
Because this is a pending legal proceeding, in fairness to all those involved, it would be inappropriate for me to comment on the charges or on any facts relating to the proceeding; however I will work tirelessly behind the scenes to smear, denigrate and threaten all those who differ with my hallucinative reality.
Now go fuck yourselves.
When newly-promoted CBS News president Sean McManus gets around to chatting with Dan Rather about the fallout from his Bush National Guard story, we hope he uses more tact than Mike Wallace. According to sources inside the network, Wallace recently got into a shouting match with Rather after telling the disgraced journo he should have resigned over "Memogate" - while the two men were standing side-by-side at a urinal.
My inside sources report that Wallace took exception to Rather for his performance:
"Goddammit, you young whippersnapper! Watch it! Those are thousand-dollar Italian shoes!"
WACO, Texas - A pastor performing a baptism was electrocuted inside his church Sunday morning after adjusting a nearby microphone while standing in water, a church employee said.
I just couldn't resist. I wonder how much "resistance" (in ohms) the pastor...
Sunday, October 30, 2005
The Grand Jury supervised by U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald has returned an indictment charging Vice President Dick Cheney's top aide and reputed "alter-ego" I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby with perjury, obstruction of justice, and false statements to the grand jury. But this indictment does not end the story; rather, a close reading suggests that these charges are most likely merely a chapter in a long and tragic story. Here, from a former federal prosecutor, are thoughts about four things we should expect, four things we shouldn't, and one question we should all be asking.
Excellent overview and deep crystal-ball gaze. Read.
Legally, there are no significant differences between the investor fraud perpetrated by Enron CEO Ken Lay and the prewar intelligence fraud perpetrated by George W. Bush. Both involved persons in authority who used half-truths and recklessly false statements to manipulate people who trusted them. There is, however, a practical difference: The presidential fraud is wider in scope and far graver in its consequences than the Enron fraud. Yet thus far the public seems paralyzed.
Americans may have been unaware of this deceit then, but they have since learned the truth. According to a Washington Post/ABC News poll conducted in June, 52% of Americans now believe the President deliberately distorted intelligence to make a case for war. In an Ipsos Public Affairs poll, commissioned by AfterDowningStreet.org and completed October 9, 50% said that if Bush lied about his reasons for going to war Congress should consider impeaching him. The President's deceit is not only an abuse of power; it is a federal crime. Specifically, it is a violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 371, which prohibits conspiracies to defraud the United States.
By now it's no secret that the Bush administration used the 9/11 attacks as a pretext to promote its war. They began talking privately about invading Iraq immediately after 9/11 but did not argue their case honestly to the American people. Instead, they began looking for evidence to make a case the public would accept -- that Iraq posed an imminent threat. Unfortunately for them, there wasn't much.
It can hardly be disputed, finally, that the Bush Administration's intentional misrepresentations were designed to interfere with the lawful governmental function of Congress. They presented a complex deceit about Iraq to both the public and to Congress in order to manipulate Congress into authorizing foreign action. Legally, it doesn't matter whether anyone was deceived, although many were. The focus is on the perpetrators' state of mind, not that of those they intentionally set about to mislead.
The evidence shows, then, that from early 2002 to at least March 2003, the President and his aides conspired to defraud the United States by intentionally misrepresenting intelligence about Iraq to persuade Congress to authorize force, thereby interfering with Congress's lawful functions of overseeing foreign affairs and making appropriations, all of which violates Title 18, United States Code, Section 371.
I think the case against the bastards is well enough made that it needs to be thoroughly investigated so it can be proven without a doubt, reasonable or otherwise. Now we just need somebody with enough sack - and clout - to do it.
[. . .]
The war in Iraq has claimed more than 17,000 dead and wounded American soldiers, many times more Iraqi casualties and close to $200 billion.
It has left our international reputation in tatters and our military broken. It has weakened the United States, increased hatred of us and made terrorist attacks against our interests more likely in the future.
It has been, as Gen. William Odom suggested, the greatest strategic blunder in the history of our country.
[. . .]
Thanks to DR for the link.
What is wrong with this country? Bush's approval is at 39%. True, it's the lowest ever for the Post/ABC survey but think about it. How could more than 1/3 of the people think this president, whose performance in office makes it clear that Yale was already cursed with serious grade inflation when they gave him a C+, be so clueless?...
I've been asking myself that since we reelected this fucking idiot.
AUSTIN Oct 29, 2005 - Democrats can't be afraid to talk about hot-button issues, including abortion, and should fight back against personal attacks from conservatives if they want to regain power in Washington, former President Bill Clinton said Saturday.
"You can't say 'Please don't be mean to me. Please let me win sometimes.' Give me a break here," Clinton said. "If you don't want to fight for the future and you can't figure out how to beat these people then find something else to do." [my em]
[. . .]