Monday, October 31, 2005


Iran, Iraq, And PNAC

Atrios points us to Kevin Drum's somewhat cautious reading of Nur al-Cubicle's translations of the explosive La Repubblica series of articles on such luminaries as Chalabi, Ghorbanifar, Ledeen, and Berlusconi. The short version: Iran pulled off the signal coup of getting its two worst enemies neutralized, simply by tricking the stronger one into attacking the weaker.


We Can't Trust Bush With ANYTHING

Well, Bush has replaced Harriet Miers, who was deep-sixed by the religio-racist (and sexist) right, with Samuel Alito. Setting aside the whole question of whether a man who sees nothing wrong with strip-searching innocent ten-year-old girls should be on the Supreme Court, there is the larger issue that We Can't Trust Bush With ANYTHING: -- He promised to keep us safe, but ignored Clinton and Sandy Berger's warnings about Al-Qaeda and Osama until AFTER 9/11 -- He promised to get Osama "dead or alive", but then got bored with Afghanistan and went into Iraq, so Osama is still free and plotting against us -- He lied to us on Iraq, then screwed up the invasion and now over 2000 Americans and 100,000 Iraqs are dead as a result -- His appointees and nominees are corrupt and/or incompentent hacks whose main "qualification" is sucking up to Bush (Brown, Chertoff, Kerik, Miers, Bolton, etc.) -- And on and on and on. There you go. We Can't Trust Bush With Anything. Write letters to Senators at, write letters to your local papers, call up the call-in shows. Go and do!

Sunday, October 30, 2005


Another allegation that the Katrina crisis in New Orleans was deliberate

Reported on Laura Flanders on AAR by Abigail Baer: 200 Houston bus drivers were turned back by the military from New Orleans and prevented from evacuating residents. This is referred to at The tribunal heard stories that made you heart-sick, from a bus-driver who organized 200 buses to help people in New Orleans but was turned away by the government, to prisoners being left to die, to the fact the Blackwater security guards, famous for the brutality in Iraq, arrived in New Orleans before FEMA! It was also apparently introduced as evidence in the hearings held by The Bush Commission and an audio link is given hear Naturally, until substantiated, it's an allegation. However, it has been made publicly, it describes a specific incident, and it presumably could be cross-examined. All we need is a functional Congress. It is getting more and more difficult to believe that what happened in New Orleans was accidental.

Sounds Like Cheney Called Up The Post Today

Josh Marshall notes that a passage in a WP article on the origins of TreasonGate originally read like this (italics his, not the WP's):

On July 12, the day Cheney and Libby flew together from Norfolk, the vice president instructed his aide to alert reporters of an attack launched that morning on Wilson's credibility by Fleischer, according to a well-placed source. Libby talked to Miller and Cooper. That same day, another administration official who has not been identified publicly returned a call from Walter Pincus of The Post. He "veered off the precise matter we were discussing" and told him that Wilson's trip was a "boondoggle" set up by Plame, Pincus has written in Nieman Reports.
That passage no longer exists, except in the Nexis database, according to Marshall. It has been rewritten and now looks like this:
On July 12, the day Cheney and Libby flew together from Norfolk, Libby talked to Miller and Cooper. That same day, another administration official who has not been identified publicly returned a call from Walter Pincus of The Post. He "veered off the precise matter we were discussing" and said Wilson's trip was a boondoggle set up by Wilson's wife, Pincus has written in Nieman Reports.
Josh promises "more soon".


Lawyer: Tariq Aziz Says Galloway Is Innocent

From Reuters, via ABC News:

Oct 29, 2005 — AMMAN (Reuters) - Former Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister Tareq Aziz has denied telling investigators that a maverick British lawmaker personally profited from the U.N. oil-for-food program for Iraq, Aziz's lawyer said on Saturday. [...] "These are lies … he (Aziz) denied this," Badia Aref told Reuters. "It is part of a media campaign aimed at smearing Galloway's reputation," said the lawyer, who last saw Aziz on Tuesday. Aref said Aziz confirmed that Iraq had participated with some $45,000 in the Mariam Appeal cancer charity set up by Galloway, but only to help sick Iraqi children. He said Aziz, now in jail in Iraq, had made the comments in a questioning session some three months ago during which Aziz, was asked 110 questions about Galloway. [...] Galloway himself told the committee that he was not an oil trader and had never spoken to Aziz about Iraq providing financial support for the Mariam Appeal. He has also rejected the latest U.S. accusations that he profited from the oil-for-food program. Aref said Aziz refused to "testify against anyone, including former President Saddam Hussein," whose trial started this month but has been adjourned until November. Aziz, a Christian who was the public face of Saddam's regime abroad, was arrested after the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in 2003. No formal charges have been brought against him yet.
Think about this. Aziz has been held in prison for over two years now, most likely in conditions that make Judy Miller's comparatively-brief stint in jail look like an extended stay at a health spa. He has every reason, every incentive in the world to make nice with his captors and tell them what they want to hear. But he doesn't. That should tell you something. (So should the other evidence -- as shown here and here -- that the allegations against Galloway are bogus, and most likely originated with the known liar and convicted embezzler, Ahmad Chalabi.)


The Spin Has Turned Against Bush

Reporting on a poll that shows a majority of respondents believe there are serious ethical problems in the White House, Richard Morin and Claudia Deane of the Washington Post wrote:

Nearly half -- 47 percent -- believe that senior White House adviser Karl Rove did something wrong in connection with the case, including nearly a fifth who believe that Rove acted illegally. A smaller but still significant proportion -- 41 percent -- believe Cheney did something wrong, while 44 percent believe he did not.
Not so long ago, they'd have emphasized the proportion who don't believe Cheney did anything wrong. It's especially interesting that they call 41 percent "significant" given that the proportion who believe he didn't do something wrong is higher.

We Don't Do Body Counts?

That was then: Gen. Tommy Franks, March 2002:

You know we don't do body counts.
Donald Rumsfeld:
Well, we don't do body counts on other people.
This is now: Reuters, October 2005:
Pentagon estimates showed that more than 60 Iraqis are killed or wounded every day by insurgent attacks. In a first partial public count of Iraqi casualties in the war, available on Sunday, the Pentagon estimated nearly 26,000 Iraqis were killed or wounded in attacks by insurgents since January 2004, with the daily number increasing fairly steadily.
They won't tell us how many people have been killed by U.S. military action, certainly not how many civilians have been "collateral damage". They will, however, tell us how many people are being killed by the insurgents. Call me cynical, but I'm thinking that suddenly we "do body counts" after all in order to emphasize that the insurgents are evil mass murderers. Which they are — but the insurgency would not exist and all those people would not be dead if George W. Bush hadn't ordered the invasion and occupation of Iraq.

Saturday, October 29, 2005


Another Rat Deserts the Sinking Ship

Berlusconi Claims He Sought to Dissuade Bush on Iraq

Italian Premier Silvio Berlusconi, one of President Bush's strongest supporters over Iraq, says he tried repeatedly to dissuade the American leader from going to war and was never convinced military force was the best way to bring democracy. Berlusconi is facing a tough re-election battle next year, and his popularity has fallen in part because of Italians' continued opposition to the war. [...] Berlusconi was one of Bush's strongest supporters in the run-up to the Iraq war. On the eve of the conflict in March 2003, he told Italian lawmakers that using force against Iraq was legitimate and that Italy couldn't abandon the Americans "in their fight against terrorism."


More Plamegate Lies Debunked

The Usual Suspects are hard at work on their defense of Lewis Libby and the other people, some as yet nameless, who blew up Valerie Plame's covert network. They've been repeating so many lies that it's a good thing those lies are so easy to refute. The other day on Lou Dobbs' show, John Fund said Joe Wilson lied in his report on whether Saddam Hussein was trying to buy yellowcake from Niger. Oh yeah? Then how does it happen that his report was consistent with the reports from two other U.S. officials who investigated? As reported in Unclaimed Territory, Michael Ledeen is trying to downgrade Hurricane Libby to a tropical depression by claiming that Libby's perjury is nothing more than "he said, she said" discrepancies between the accounts from Libby and from the reporters to whom he spoke. The problem with that one is that the discrepancy isn't between Libby's testimony and the reporters'; it's between Libby's testimony and his own notes of his conversation with Dick Cheney.


We All Knew This Was Coming

Scooter Libby's already planning on The Sergeant Schultz Defense:

A statement released by Libby's attorney says his client was operating under "the hectic rush of issues and events at a busy time for our government." In other words, Libby got busy and forgot some details of long-ago conversations.
There's only one problem with that defense: Fitzgerald's had two years -- and testimony from dozens of witnesses -- to smash it like an egg.


The Washington Post's Adversarial Relationship With the Truth

Today, the Washington Post gives column inches to David Rivkin and Lee Casey, veterans of the Reagan and Bush I administrations, to defend Lewis Libby by lying from beginning to end of their op-ed:

Plame was not a "covert" agent but a bureaucrat working at CIA headquarters. [Except that according to the CIA, she was covert.]
The Plame affair began with the implication by Plame's husband, former ambassador Joseph C. Wilson IV, that Vice President Cheney had sent him on a mission to Niger in 2002 to investigate claims that Saddam Hussein had attempted to buy nuclear weapons material. [Except that Joseph Wilson never even implied it. His critics took advantage of an interrupted statement during an interview to put words in his mouth.]
Apparently in an effort to set the record straight, and to put the whole story before the American people, administration officials told columnist Robert D. Novak about Plame's role in selecting her husband for the Niger mission. Administration critics immediately alleged that the name of a "covert" CIA agent had been revealed -- a federal crime. [Except that it wasn't Administration critics who alleged it -- it was George Tenet, head of the CIA.]
Instead of permitting this allegation to be investigated in the normal course of events by federal prosecutors in Washington, the Justice Department tapped Fitzgerald, the U.S. attorney in Chicago, to serve as a "special counsel" to investigate the officials who might have been involved. [Except that "federal prosecutors in Washington" did investigate it -- until John Ashcroft was finally forced to recuse himself because of his conflicts of interest.]
Mr. Rivkin and Mr. Casey are entitled to their own opinions, but they're not entitled to their own facts. And the Washington Post is being unethical by publishing lies, even when they're embedded in an "opinion" piece. These lies are especially shameful given the consequences of Libby's actions. Rivkin and Casey go to such lengths to "prove" that outing a CIA agent was unworthy of investigation in the same issue of the Post that features this news article: CIA Yet to Assess Harm From Plame's Exposure
More than Valerie Plame's identity was exposed when her name appeared in a syndicated column in the summer of 2003. A small Boston company listed as her employer suddenly was shown to be a bogus CIA front, and her alma mater in Belgium discovered it was a favored haunt of an American spy. At Langley, officials in the clandestine service quickly began drawing up a list of contacts and friends, cultivated over more than a decade, to triage any immediate damage. [...] After Plame's name appeared in Robert D. Novak's column, the CIA informed the Justice Department in a simple questionnaire that the damage was serious enough to warrant an investigation, officials said.
I'll type this slowly so that Mr. Rivkin, Mr. Casey, Mr. Novak, Mr. Libby et al. can follow it: A covert agent's status continues to be covert even after that agent stops doing covert work in the field, because that covert agent's cover story, front company, and network of contacts still exist, and if the covert agent is outed, everything and everybody associated with that agent are immediately revealed or suspected to be part of a CIA operation. Libby didn't just end Valerie Plame's career. He shot to hell the network she'd developed to track down illegal weapons -- specifically, weapons of mass destruction, you know, those weapons the Bush Administration was supposedly so concerned about getting into the wrong hands?

Libby's Defense: "The Truth Is for Little People"

The AP is reporting that Libby's defense will be (in the reporter's words), "A busy official immersed in important duties cannot reasonably be expected to remember details of long-ago conversations."* That is, he told the grand jury he got the info on Valerie Plame from some reporter or other, when he actually got it from Dick Cheney, because he was too busy to remember exactly what he was doing in June 2003. There's a little problem with that: Patrick Fitzgerald learned the truth from notes Libby took during a conversation with Dick Cheney that took place before Libby talked to those reporters. If Libby's going to use the "bad memory" defense, he's going to have to explain why he didn't review his own records to make sure he got his facts straight. A demonstrable unconcern for the truth is not going to help him beat this rap.
* Pause a moment to recall the Usual Suspects' response to Hillary Clinton not remembering every trivial detail of what she did 20 years earlier at the Rose law firm.

Friday, October 28, 2005


A Victory for Voting Rights

Voter ID Law Is Overturned

a case that some have called a showdown over voting rights, a U.S. appeals court yesterday upheld an injunction barring the state of Georgia from enforcing a law requiring citizens to get government-issued photo identification in order to vote. The ruling allows thousands of Georgians who do not have government-issued identification, such as driver's licenses and passports, to vote in the Nov. 8 municipal elections without obtaining a special digital identification card, which costs $20 for five years.... Last week, when issuing the injunction, U.S. District Judge Harold L. Murphy likened the law to a Jim Crow-era poll tax that required residents, most of them black, to pay back taxes before voting. He said the law appeared to violate the Constitution for that reason. [...] Under the Georgia law, residents would need to produce original birth certificates and other documents to get the new digital identification card. The cards could only be obtained at Department of Motor Vehicles offices. But critics say that many potential voters do not have the required documents and that some could not afford the $20 processing fee for identification. State officials promised to provide free identification to anyone who swore under oath that they were indigent. But the law provided no definition of what constituted indigence in the state of Georgia, opening the possibility for possible perjury charges, activists said. Liberal critics compiled statistics showing that far more white residents owned cars than African Americans. The law, they argued, gave an unfair advantage to white people while placing a burden on those who are black. On top of that, the state recently reorganized the Department of Motor Vehicles, paring down the number of offices. After the reorganization, there were no DMV offices in Atlanta, a city with a wide black majority.
I've been calling this law a "21st-century poll tax" ever since I heard of it. It's gratifying that a federal judge sees it the same way.

Mafia Complains Bushco Criminalizes Crime. The strange strands of the UN Oil-for-Food Scandal and the Galloway case.

The UN Oil-for-Food Scandal really should have the Mafia up in arms. The term "Mafia" used to mean "organized crime." But how could John Gotti possibly compare to what goes on daily in corporate America (or Europe, or Japan, or China)? They wouldn't even make the farm team. And so this leads to the Galloway case in which, inexplicably, a British MP alleged to have been bribed with ca. six hundred thousand dollars by Saddam Hussein gets equal or greater billing in press accounts with corporations alleged to have received tens or hundreds of millions. It gets even more awkward when one learns that most of the money went to a charity that has been investigated and found to be legitimate and that the remainder is alleged to have gone to Galloway's wife. But worst of all, what we are told we must believe about Galloway just doesn't add up. There is a scene in the gospels in which it says that no two witnesses could agree on what it was that Jesus had done that deserved punishment. This was significant in Jewish law, since it was forbidden to administer punishment without the testimony of two witnesses. But there was a deeper point: liars tend to contradict themselves and one another, while the truth rings clear. Heaven forbid that I should compare British MP George Galloway to anyone except George Galloway. It can't be done. But the observation that tangled witness accounts often point to false witness seems to apply in the question of whether Galloway did or did not take bribes from Saddam. Consider this, from The Guardian: A UN inquiry, headed by Paul Volcker...claimed that $120,000 had been paid into the bank account of Mr Galloway's wife, Amineh Abu-Zayyad, in 2000 [by Burhan Chalabi of Delta Services, originating in Fortum Oil and Gas]...On Tuesday, a Senate sub-committee report claimed that she had received a separate payment from another businessman involved in the Iraqi oil trade worth $150,000 [also in 2000, this from Fawaz Zureikat] Now I haven't seen the Volcker report yet, but these appear to be mutually exclusive tales. The amounts do not match. The persons alleged to have made the payments are not identical. The one point in which the agree is that the payments went to Galloway's wife, who (a) is a very independent woman and (b) denies that this occurred. Now Phoenix Woman has raised the point that the Bush Administration continues to do business with the person said to have supplied Galloway, Fawaz Zureikat. OK, but we already know that the Administration is crooked. The question is whether Galloway is or is not. At this point, one has to say that the contradictions in the allegations against Galloway are significant and troubling. Someone, either Volcker or Coleman&Levin--or both-- appears to be wrong in significant details and seem in any event to be drawing a premature conclusion, namely that Galloway was aware of what his wife was doing. What's really interesting is the source of the allegations made by Volcker: In a fresh allegation, the report said Mr Galloway had conversations in Baghdad about oil allocations with Augusto Giangrandi, apparently a Chilean oil trader....According to the Volcker report, Mr Giangrandi, a trader for Bayoil and Italtech, 'stated that he had conversations with Mr Galloway in Baghdad about oil sales under the programme'...." Now, there's nothing in the full Guardian quote to make the conversation (which Galloway denies ever happened) sound like anything illegal. The bombshell is in Augusto Giangrandi's connections: Mr Giangrandi, a trader for Bayoil and Italtech... Bayoil. David B. Chalmers. Texas. Does the trail lead to Bush? One angle suggests to me that it does. In a report made public Monday night, Democratic investigators on the subcommittee traced BayOil's relationship with Saddam's regime back to the mid-1980s, during the brutal, 8-year Iran-Iraq War. The United States provided support for Iraq during the war because of fears about Iran's growing power in the region..."This arrangement, in effect, allowed Iraq to trade oil for cluster bombs," the report said. A former employee and partner of David Chalmers (he served as chairman of the Bahamas Bayoil subsidiary), Augusto Giangrandi began illegal trading of arms for oil in the 1980s while George Herbert Walker Bush was vice-president. This trading was done with the blessing of the Reagan Administration and almost certainly with the knowledge of Poppy Bush. But oddly, I can't yet find donations by Chalmers or Bayoil to the Bushes. He's given to the DSCC and to Phil Gramm. His most recent donation is $300 to the NRCC and even that is 2002. This is almost inconceivable. Texans, even Democrats, were tripping over themselves to plump for Dubya in 2000. Either Chalmers is very eccentric, or someone who really doesn't like the Bushes, or clever enough to keep his name off contributions, or he's so big that he doesn't need to play the political game. This tale is not told, and when it is, it seems unlikely Galloway will be its conclusion.

Howard Dean on the Indictments

Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean today issued the following statement:

This is a sad day for America. Beyond the evidence that the White House manipulated the intelligence used to justify the war in Iraq, a group of senior White House officials not only orchestrated efforts to smear a critic of the war, but worked to cover up this smear campaign. In so doing, they ignored the rule of law, endangering our national security and the brave men and women who dedicate their lives to protecting our nation's security. I. Lewis Libby was a part of this internal White House group. This is not only an abuse of power, it is an un-American abuse of the public trust. As Americans, we must hold ourselves and our leaders to a higher standard. We cannot fear dissent. We cannot fear the truth. And we cannot tolerate those who do. More importantly, we can't ignore the glaring questions this case has raised about the rationale the Bush Administration used to send us to war in Iraq, a war that continues. American soldiers are still in harms way. Over 2,000 brave Americans have lost their lives, thousands of American soldiers have been wounded, and thousands of American families have made the ultimate sacrifice. Still, the President has no plan and no exit strategy. And still he hasn't answered the question, what are we doing in Iraq and when can our troops come home? President Bush faces a serious test of leadership; will he keep his pledge to hold his Administration to high ethical standards and give the American people what they deserve, and will he answer to the American people for these serious missteps?


Bush's Double Standard

Today, Bush said, "In our system, each individual is presumed innocent and entitled to due process and a fair trial." Of course, he was talking about White House aide I. Lewis Libby. Not about Jose Padilla or the many nameless prisoners held without charges or access to legal counsel under the USA-PATRIOT Act.


This is your Republican Party:

From the Village Voice ( This is your Republican Party on drugs. Commenting on the indictment of Scooter Libby: Clean the hate America firsters out of the CIA 1 posted on 10/28/2005 2:30:40 PM PDT by marty60 Full out war with the CIA is PAST due. Let's roll. 3 posted on 10/28/2005 2:32:04 PM PDT by MamaLucci (Mutually assured destruction STILL keeps the Clinton administration criminals out of jail.) If this is true then my belief that the CIA (some) have been working to affect AMERICAN politicsis feasible. Clearly ILLEGAL. It's time to clean the RATS out of the CIA. 11 posted on 10/28/2005 2:40:06 PM PDT by marty60 What is Goss doing over there, is he afraid of the spooks at the CIA? He was suppose to be cleaning out that snake pit. 19 posted on 10/28/2005 2:48:26 PM PDT by marty60 There are traitors in the CIA, and they need to be identified and prosecuted. 22 posted on 10/28/2005 2:53:23 PM PDT by B Knotts (JRB for SCOTUS!) I guess CIA just declared war on the WH. Time for Freepers to unite. Get those PJ's on. 25 posted on 10/28/2005 2:53:53 PM PDT by Protect the Bill of Rights hope the small sucess of traitors entrapping Libby will make him angry enough to finally clean out CIA, State, FBI, Transportation, and the rest of the socialist snakes that put party before country. No Clintoon appointed prosecutor should be still employed by Justice. Get smart. 29 posted on 10/28/2005 2:58:22 PM PDT by Navy Patriot Better yet...the rogue CIA operatives that GOSS is in the process of cleaning out....I wouldn't dance on Bushes grave too fast!!! You're TOAST... 32 posted on 10/28/2005 2:59:39 PM PDT by shield (The Greatest Scientific Discoveries of the Century Reveal God!!!! by Dr. H. Ross, Astrophysicist) Really, really strong drugs: Time to sharpen some sticks and have an old fashioned RAT killin'! 106 posted on 10/28/2005 3:06:51 PM PDT by RasterMaster (Proud Member of the Water Bucket Brigade - Merry MOOSEMUSS!) The waiting game has started about another non-story. Who outed Valerie Plame-Wilson as a desk person with the CIA; who will be indicted? Who cares? The woman was not undercover(s) except with her husband, hopefully at home.If anyone should be indicted it should be Wilson. ... 174 posted on 10/28/2005 3:21:38 PM PDT by Quaker CIA is happy about the indictments- they were forced to lie to justify war... Ahhh, that was the point of this bogus investigation after all. 188 posted on 10/28/2005 3:25:34 PM PDT by HelloooClareece (Anagram of New York Times....... Monkeys Write. (I Still have a water bucket)) There is a HUGH shortage of testicles in the party right about now. 206 posted on 10/28/2005 3:28:39 PM PDT by AliVeritas (Weldon Ops, Earle Fatwa Team, Pork Jihadi, MOOSEMUSS, Stick & Bucket Brigade) I usually pour it in the bowl then stick my whole face in... that does it. 187 posted on 10/28/2005 3:25:24 PM PDT by AliVeritas (Weldon Ops, Earle Fatwa Team, Pork Jihadi, MOOSEMUSS, Stick & Bucket Brigade)

Friday Cat Blogging

Halloween Edition.

Alexander the cat glaring over his shoulder at the camera

Lightfoot, a One Black Cat, lounging next to a pumpkin


NRO Columnist Advocates that Bush Seize Power

So, what does a president do when his vice-president's chief of staff is indicted on criminal charges, when his own party rejected a judicial nominee, when his war is turning into a quagmire, and when the Democratic Party actually shows a faint pulse? This is what National Review Columnist and Hoover Institution Senior Serpent Victor Davis Hanson advocates: For good or evil, George W. Bush will have to cross the Rubicon on judicial nominations, politicized indictments, Iraq, the greater Middle East, and the constant frenzy of the Howard Dean wing of the Democratic party — and now march on his various adversaries as never before. He can choose either to be nicked and slowly bled to death in his second term, or to bare his fangs and like some cornered carnivore start slashing back. "Crossing the Rubicon" refers to Julius Caesar's illegally turning the armies of Rome on the capital to seize power and establish a dictatorship Now, this might be written off as a quaint and inappropriate phrasing but for one reason. Victor Davis Hanson is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution. His latest book is A War Like No Other. How the Athenians and Spartans Fought the Peloponnesian War. As a student of classical history, he knows what he is advocating. Hanson poses Bush's supposed need to seize power as a necessary defense against the normal workings of democracy. He admits that it may well be for evil. And yet he advocates it. To get a sense for how completely hypocritical and amoral his implication of offense over the Miers nomination is, this is what right-wing commentator Virginia Postrel said: For whatever reason, the president has picked a woman who not only has no constitutional or judicial experience but even in her business practice has demonstrated no interest in the law as anything other than a source of billable hours. At 60 years old, she appears never to have had a substantive conversation about law or policy with any friend. She comes from a closed and cronyish legal and business culture and appears to have gotten ahead through a combination of networking, nose-to-the-grindstone diligence, and willingness to do her law firm's management, rather than legal, work. I got the recommendation to read that article not from Howard Dean, but from David Frum, who evidently approves. Would it be good or evil if Bush marched on Frum and Postrel too, baring his fangs like a carnivore and slashing back? Um. Wait. Don't answer that. You get my point. If the NRO ever again uses the phrase "moral relativism," remind them of Hanson's column.

New Right Wing meme: Enforcing the law will cause financial diaster

Dow Jones plays Plamegate prosecution as an assault on American business CHICAGO (Dow Jones) - The U.S. dollar, Treasurys and American stocks could sell off if top White House aides are indicted on charges they leaked the identity of a CIA employee, analysts said Thursday.... After a long rant about what might happen, the truth: But the dollar never gets too far from the albatross of a huge U.S. financial imbalance, one that relies on foreign savings - buying U.S. debt -- to fund a shortfall in trade. These factors pushed the dollar to its lowest ever against the euro in late 2004. Ultimately, however, financial market focus will return to how aggressive the Federal Reserve will be with interest rates, Beuzelin said. Well, so far the Dow, Nasdaq and S&P are well into the black. Maybe dumping George Bush is good for business? With Libby's indictment, the Army of the Lord is across DeNial. But there's a long road ahead to Canaan, and the rations may be lean indeed.

Danziger on the GOP's New Catchphrase

...aka The "Criminalization of Politics" Defense.


Take With A Few Grains Of Salt, But...

The latest Zogby Battleground '06 poll has Paul Hackett decisively beating both Mike DeWine and former Ohio Republican Congressman (and likely DeWine primary challenger) Bob McEwen in head-to-head matchups. Now, this is data from the middle of September, and I know that questions have been raised about how Zogby weights his interactive polls, but it's from the latest Battleground States poll that Zogby has done -- and I haven't seen any polls, from Zogby or anyone else, that are any newer than this. (If anybody knows of any, please post them here! Thanks!) The September date means that this was done back when Paul Hackett was Mike DeWine's only Democratic challenger, before Sherrod Brown changed his mind and decided to enter the race after all. It'll be interesting to see the next set of Zogby polls, to see if they include numbers for Brown as well as Hackett. Go to the link above for the full poll breakdown (including for the other key race, the one for governor).

Thursday, October 27, 2005


Tom "Coingate" Noe Indicted for Laundering Money to Bush Campaign

From the Toledo Blade:

A federal grand jury has indicted Tom Noe, the former Toledo-area coin dealer at the center of a state investment scandal, of illegally laundering money into President Bush’s re-election campaign. The three-count indictment (view the indictment below) states that beginning in October 2003, Mr. Noe contributed to President Bush's election campaign "over and above the limits established by the Federal Election Campaign Act." "He did so, according to the indictment, in order to fulfill his pledge to raise $50,000 for a Bush-Cheney fund-raiser held in Columbus, Ohio, on Oct. 30, 2003," Gregory White, the U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Ohio, announced at an afternoon news conference. [...] "It's one of the most blatant and excessive finance schemes we have encountered," said Noel Hillman, section chief of the U.S. Department of Justice's public integrity section. [...] The indictment only adds to troubles for the former chairman of the Lucas County Republican Party, who is already under several state investigations related to a $50 million rare coin investment the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation made with him.
Note to self: buy more popcorn.

GAO Confirms Widespread Problems in Ohio Election

Bob Fitrakis & Harvey Wasserman, who have been tireless in investigating the "irregularities" in Ohio's 2004 election, summarize the findings of the GAO's investigation into the electronic voting machines used in that election.

1. Some electronic voting machines "did not encrypt cast ballots or system audit logs, and it was possible to alter both without being detected." In other words, the GAO now confirms that electronic voting machines provided an open door to flip an entire vote count. More than 800,000 votes were cast in Ohio on electronic voting machines, some seven times Bush's official margin of victory. 2. "It was possible to alter the files that define how a ballot looks and works so that the votes for one candidate could be recorded for a different candidate." Numerous sworn statements and affidavits assert that this did happen in Ohio 2004. 3. "Vendors installed uncertified versions of voting system software at the local level." 3. Falsifying election results without leaving any evidence of such an action by using altered memory cards can easily be done, according to the GAO. 4. The GAO also confirms that access to the voting network was easily compromised because not all digital recording electronic voting systems (DREs) had supervisory functions password-protected, so access to one machine provided access to the whole network. This critical finding confirms that rigging the 2004 vote did not require a "widespread conspiracy" but rather the cooperation of a very small number of operatives with the power to tap into the networked machines and thus change large numbers of votes at will. With 800,000 votes cast on electronic machines in Ohio, flipping the number needed to give Bush 118,775 could be easily done by just one programmer. 5. Access to the voting network was also compromised by repeated use of the same user IDs combined with easily guessed passwords. So even relatively amateur hackers could have gained access to and altered the Ohio vote tallies. 6. The locks protecting access to the system were easily picked and keys were simple to copy, meaning, again, getting into the system was an easy matter. 7. One DRE model was shown to have been networked in such a rudimentary fashion that a power failure on one machine would cause the entire network to fail, re-emphasizing the fragility of the system on which the Presidency of the United States was decided. 8. GAO identified further problems with the security protocols and background screening practices for vendor personnel, confirming still more easy access to the system. [...] The GAO findings are particularly damning when set in the context of an election run in Ohio by a Secretary of State simultaneously working as co-chair of the Bush-Cheney campaign.
The So-Called Unbiased Media are, of course, completely ignoring this bombshell.

A chill wind blowing? Rumored GM bankruptcy would have major fallout.

There are always rumors about the stock market. There are, fairly often, crashes. For larger investors or for investors in for the long haul and receiving an outside income, it's not a big deal. In fact, for really big investors, for whom the 5% of the portfolio in money markets represents $100 million, crashes are buying opportunities. For people who get squeezed, whether because they rely on the income stream or because they need to cash out in the short term, crashes are a nightmare. A $100 shortfall from expected dividends might mean that one lose one's $250,000 home or delays a necessary operation. The same principle applies to panics. If a creditor finds himself holding paper that suddenly might be worth much less than he thought or that he fears may become illiquid, he may dump it. He may find buyers, but in the process, the market becomes less liquid. If the company involved is large enough, it can cause a problem. Therefore, it is alarming to read that: General Motors (GM: 27.64, -1.53, -5.3%) announced that it had received subpoenas from the Securities and Exchange Commission related to its dealings with bankrupt parts supplier Delphi. Among other issues, regulators are examining GM's pension and benefits obligations to current and retired Delphi workers. Delphi, now operating under Chapter 11 protection, was once owned by GM. The SEC is also looking into bookkeeping at GM's highly profitable GMAC finance unit. This is exactly the sort of thing that sets off panics: uncertainty involving large sums of money that is likely to be protracted because accounting and legal action are involved. Add in the likely economic impact of a reorganization, which will probably be intermediate between a Wilma and a Katrina, and we may be looking at recession. All stocks that are in any way cyclical immediately look less attractive. And there's the economic multiplier effect. Many of GM's suppliers are domestic. The ripples around GM could be the signs of a blip or it could be the beginning of a crash. No one knows. But my prediction is that this is the onset of a long, hard rain. And, as Johnny Angel pointed out, all of this began with the stubborn refusal of the Republicans to allow universal healthcare. This raised the costs of companies like GM and weakened the soundness of their pension funds. They may have looted their pension funds through accounting gimmicks, and now their past tricks are starting to return home in the form of flaming bags on their doorstep. What goes around comes around, a principle that some people never learn.

Another Pretext for War? The UN Report on Syria and the Hariri Assassination

Major update: Linda Heard, writing in Online Journal, says that the UN report may suggest that the Hariri assassination was done by organized crime. Heard further states that the head of the investigation has implied that he is being used by the United States for the purposes of fabricating a war. I will attempt to find original sources and provide them to our readers. ______________________________________ Original post: As readers may have noticed, I am interested in Syria. This is because a case is being made in the press to start a war with that nation. Considering how the war with Iraq has gone, I believe this would be catastrophic for our country. Contrary to the lies of cowardly right-whingers, we of Mercury Rising love this country and hate to see it led into disaster by the sociopaths of the upper levels of the Republican Party. A number of people familiar with the Middle East, like Juan Cole and Robert Fisk, believe that Syria probably engineered the assassination of Lebanon's former Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri. I have serious doubts. Because we have been lied into war with Iraq, we should demand that three issues be answered before being lured into yet another war: 1. Could this have been a black operation by the U.S.? 2. Could this have been a rogue operation by Syrian individuals (but not policy)? 3. Is it in the national interest of the US to make war? The answer to the last question is almost certainly no. Anyone who believes the opposite is welcome to try to make the opposite case in the thread devoted to that purpose. But because appeals to national interest can be subverted to almost any purpose, we need to look at the Hariri case and see if the apparent casus belli is false. I have raised questions about the Fitzgerald report in posts below and will recapitulate these in comments here. But Robert Parry, one of the ten real journalists left in the United States of America, has laid out good reason to question the UN Report here and here. Briefly: * The van used for the assassination came from Japan. No subsequent chain of custody has been given. * A key witness, Zuhir Ibn Mohamed Said Saddik, " is a convicted swindler who was caught in lies by the U.N. investigative team." [Cue the Chalabi theme song.] * "Saddik apparently was paid for supplying his testimony." * The UN report discounted the testimony of another witness who "said [the accused assassin] Abu Adass 'played no role in the crime except as a decoy … forced at gunpoint to record the videotape' before being killed." Parry says "While Syria and its reckless intelligence services deserve to remain prime suspects in the Hariri murder, there is a danger, too, in rushing to judgments simply because the target of the investigation is as unpopular as the Syrian dictatorship is." There's an even greater danger in thinking that the armed forces of the United States of America should, at the snap of the fingers of the New York Times, hare off after every wrong of this troubled world.

Paying Tribute to Rosa Parks

On Sunday, October 30, Rosa Parks will lie in state in the rotunda of the Lincoln Memorial. That's a fitting tribute for a hero of the Civil Rights movement. There's not just the association with President Lincoln, but the symbolism of the Lincoln Memorial itself: It was the site of Marian Anderson's concert after the DAR denied her the use of their concert hall, and of Martin Luther King's "I Have a Dream" speech. Ms. Parks will also lie in state in Montgomery, Alabama, and Detroit, Michigan. Montgomery

Washington Detroit


Check this out:

The United States invaded Iraq with a high-minded mission: destroy dangerous weapons, bring democracy, and trigger a wave of reform across the Middle East. None of these have happened. When the final page is written on America’s catastrophic imperial venture, one word will dominate the explanation of U.S. failure—corruption. Large-scale and pervasive corruption meant that available resources could not be used to stabilize and secure Iraq in the early days of the Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA), when it was still possible to do so. Continuing corruption meant that the reconstruction of infrastructure never got underway, giving the Iraqi people little incentive to co-operate with the occupation. Ongoing corruption in arms procurement and defense spending means that Baghdad will never control a viable army while the Shi’ite and Kurdish militias will grow stronger and produce a divided Iraq in which constitutional guarantees will be irrelevant. The American-dominated Coalition Provisional Authority could well prove to be the most corrupt administration in history, almost certainly surpassing the widespread fraud of the much-maligned UN Oil for Food Program. At least $20 billion that belonged to the Iraqi people has been wasted, together with hundreds of millions of U.S. taxpayer dollars. Exactly how many billions of additional dollars were squandered, stolen, given away, or simply lost will never be known because the deliberate decision by the CPA not to meter oil exports means that no one will ever know how much revenue was generated during 2003 and 2004. Some of the corruption grew out of the misguided neoconservative agenda for Iraq, which meant that a serious reconstruction effort came second to doling out the spoils to the war’s most fervent supporters. The CPA brought in scores of bright, young true believers who were nearly universally unqualified. Many were recruited through the Heritage Foundation website, where they had posted their résumés. They were paid six-figure salaries out of Iraqi funds, and most served in 90-day rotations before returning home with their war stories. One such volunteer was Simone Ledeen, daughter of leading neoconservative Michael Ledeen. Unable to communicate in Arabic and with no relevant experience or appropriate educational training, she nevertheless became a senior advisor for northern Iraq at the Ministry of Finance in Baghdad. Another was former White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer’s older brother Michael who, though utterly unqualified, was named director of private-sector development for all of Iraq.
So, where's this from? Salon? Mother Jones? The Nation? Harper's? The New Yorker? How about The American Conservative.


My Little Crony Falls On Her Sword For BushCo

My guess is that Bush's people -- whoever is left up there now that indictments are imminent -- persuaded her to pull out so that Bush could save at least some face. Bush will either nominate someone right away -- as in TODAY -- or wait until the indictment furor has died down. I'm thinking it'll be Alberto Gonzales, if for no other reason than that he's a legally-qualified guy (an actual judge and US Attorney General) who pisses off the religio-racist right nearly as much as Miers did.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005


No place to lay our head: Privacy vanishes in Bushco's America

ZDNet ate their Libertarian Wheaties® today: All U.S. passports will be implanted with remotely readable computer chips starting in October 2006, the Bush administration has announced....Over the last year, opposition to the idea of implanting RFID chips in passports has grown amidst worries that identity thieves could snatch personal information out of the air simply by aiming a high-powered antenna at a person or a vehicle carrying a passport. Out of the 2,335 comments on the plan that were received by the State Department this year, 98.5 percent were negative. They also linked the following from Techrepublic: Rules demanding that Internet providers and universities rewire their networks for FBI surveillance are being challenged in federal court. Europeans have better privacy than Americans Despite the vocal warnings of some privacy rights advocates, U.S. consumers have never pushed hard for national privacy laws. American companies have been free to exchange subscriber and customer lists with little public outcry. Europeans have viewed this information as the property of the individual. Europeans may "loan" their data for a specific purpose, but they still retain ownership. We Americans have been far more laissez-faire. More than 50 million Americans have had their personal information exposed so far this year. Is it any surprise to learn that identity theft has become the number one consumer complaint to the FTC? Like FEMA, the U.S. government's cybersecurity functions were centralized under the Department of Homeland Security during the vast reshuffling that cobbled together 22 federal agencies three years ago. Auditors had warned months before Hurricane Katrina that FEMA's internal procedures for handling people and equipment dispatched to disasters were lacking. In an unsettling parallel, government auditors have been saying that Homeland Security has failed to live up to its cybersecurity responsibilities and may be "unprepared" for emergencies.

We Won Another One!

Last week, we got the House Republicans remove from consideration -- for the time being -- their legislation to slash $50 billion from social programs so that the rich can keep their $70 billion in tax cuts. (We'll still need to keep the heat on, but events are working in our favor.) Earlier today, Bush caved in to pressure and reinstated fair wages for Gulf reconstruction workers. Thought you'd like some good news while we wait with our egg nog and Tom 'n' Jerries in hand for Santa Fitz to come down the chimney.


Harriet, Don't Give Up Your Day Job

Salon's War Room says it's not looking good for the Miers nomination.

Emerging from a meeting Tuesday in which Republican senators discussed the nomination of Harriet Miers, Minnesota Sen. Norm Coleman said he can't make a decision about the nominee until he gets a "better feel for her intellectual capacity and judicial philosophy, core competence issues."
Coleman's one of Bush's water boys. If he's hedging like that, well, let's just hope Harriet didn't waste any time being measured for her robes. (Let us deliberately ignore the irony of Norm Coleman questioning anybody else's intellectual capacity.)

Sirota the Liar

Get a load of this:

Well, if we needed any more proof about how the Ohio Senate Democratic primary is shaping up to be a battle over who will proudly represent progressives on the actual issues and who won't, take a look at this Toledo Blade article. In the piece, Paul Hackett (D) - who bills himself as progressive despite no positions on issues - is now attacking longtime progressive champion Rep. Sherrod Brown (D) for being "too liberal." Let's repeat that - the self-described "progressive" champion of the blogosphere, Hackett, is attacking a fellow Democrat, Brown, for having the guts to stand up and fight for progressive convictions. Incredible, sad and disgusting.
Sounds pretty damning, right? I mean, after all, Sirota used the words "incredible, sad and disgusting" to describe it. But Sirota made the mistake of including the links to the articles he was misquoting. And if you read them, you find out that Hackett didn't say that at all. As the very first commenter said in the comments thread: David you put "too liberal" in quotes as if Hackett were the one who said it. But Jim Provance is the one who says it. In fact, of all the quotes Provance provides from Hackett, none of them even mention Brown. Contrast that with the Brown quotes, which specifically single out Hackett for ridicule. The only thing I get out of this Toledo Blade piece is that Hackett thinks he'll do a better job of winning over independent and conservative voters. While that doesn't exactly comfort me, it's hardly an attack on Brown. Am I wrong? Here's the deal, David Sirota (and I won't even go into your lies about Hackett's positions -- anyone who wants to see them can go to Paul Hackett's website and see that you're lying about them, too): Brown thinks he can win Ohio by winning Cleveland and the other big cities and writing off the rest of the state. Well, that didn't work for him in 1990 -- back when Ohio was a lot more Democratic than it is now. (Oh, yeah, and the Republican who beat him was none other than Bob Taft III, who's currently at 15% in the polls right now.) It didn't work for John Kerry last year, as we all know. What makes you think it'll work now? Brown has two (2) things going for him, electability-wise: The $2 million he's saved up over the past decade and a half, and the backing of the big union chiefs. Let's look at these two things: 1) While $2 million is nothing to sneeze at, the Ohio Senatorial race will cost the Democrats a minimum of five times that -- and more likely ten, if they want to be sure. So the money it took Brown fifteen years to get won't go very far. Plus, Paul Hackett was able -- with only the backing of the lefty half of the blogosphere -- to rake in over half a million in less than a month, before the national Democratic party deigned to provide any assistance. 2) It's not 1950 any more. Union members don't always -- or even often -- vote the way their union heads say they should. Especially in Ohio, as a recent Mother Jones article showed. I'd like the Brown backers a lot more if they would actually tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, every once in a while. But I've yet to the most prominent Brown backers in the blogosphere make a case for Brown that didn't involve making deceptive insinuations -- or, as in this case, outright lies -- about Paul Hackett. [UPDATE: As Majikthise notes, Sirota has a history of bizarre, over-the-top, and not-quite-truthful (to say the least) attacks against Paul Hackett. I wish I could give Sirota the benefit of the doubt on this piece, but his past history on Hackett makes that impossible.]

[UPDATE #2: Sirota's blog posts not only attack Hackett, but they even slime friends of Sirota's who back Hackett, such as Bob Brigham. Charming.]


The Final Nail In The Yellowcake Lies Coffin

Methinks Patrick Fitzgerald's activities here helped shake loose some information nuggets over there. Per the AP, via Josh Marshall at TPM:

The head of Italy's military secret services will be questioned by a parliamentary commission next week over allegations that his organization gave the United States and Britain disputed documents suggesting that Saddam Hussein had been seeking uranium in Africa, officials said Tuesday. Nicolo Pollari, director of the SISMI intelligence agency, will be questioned on Nov. 3 by members of the commission overseeing secret services, said Micaela Panella, a commission spokeswoman. She said Pollari asked to be questioned after reports Monday and Tuesday in the Rome daily La Repubblica claiming SISMI passed on to the CIA, U.S. government officials and Britain's MI6 intelligence services a dossier it knew was forged. ... When foreign intelligence agencies met the documents with skepticism, Pollari used his own contacts in the Pentagon's Office of Special Plans and an aide to the president's national security adviser to promote the dossier, La Repubblica said, without elaborating.
So the Brits' claim to have had "independent verification" of the yellowcake documents is itself a lie. There was no independent verification -- the only source was a rogue Italian intelligence agent who was willing to tell the PNAC Platoon and Doug Feith's OSP whatever they wanted to hear. As Josh says:
Remember, Pollari had good contacts with folks at Doug Feith's Office of Special Plans. At the end of 2001 one he had attended a secret meeting in Rome with OSP stalwart Harold Rhode, the now-indicted Larry Franklin and neo-con regime-change-everywhere-at-once guru Michael Ledeen.
These are the people that the PNAC Platoon -- Cheney, Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, Bolton, and the rest -- favored over the actual intelligence-gatherers at the CIA and even the Defense Intelligence Agency. And when their intel was revealed to be bogus, they made the CIA and George Tenet take the fall for it. You didn't expect the CIA to take this lying down, did you? [UPDATE: It looks like Fitzgerald is, as David Corn and others predicted, going to take the Ronnie Earle route: A few indictments now, and a new grand jury to cover all the late-breaking stuff such as the new info on the Niger yellowcake forgeries. Better and better!]

Tuesday, October 25, 2005


Three Years Ago Today

I dreamed I saw Paul Wellstone, As alive as you and me. "But Paul," I said, "your plane went down." "I never died," said he. "Idealism's still alive, And justice hasn't died. Where people work for peace and rights, Paul Wellstone's at their side."


Rosa Parks, Rest in Peace

Ron Drake, a member of Salon's Table Talk community, wrote this tribute to Rosa Parks.

God bless Rosa Parks. My existence is an expression of the hope that she and black people like her gave to parents like mine. Her sacrifice assured them that their children would live to see a better day. Her bravery assured them that Emmitt Till did not die in vain. Her courage assured them that this nation just might live out the true meaning of its creed: That all men are created equal. Her faith assured us that race is a lie. I can't convey the hope and the optimism that Rosa Parks's simple act engendered in black people. All I can say is that I am living proof of the faith of my parents in the American Dream. They bore my younger brother and me with every confidence that our character--the values that they instilled in us--would see us through. Look at where my parents came from: "You can't." "You won't." "Don't you dare." "You'd better not." Rosa Parks was the refutation of all of that. I feel my connection to that denial of racism and despair. God bless Rosa Parks. God bless the nation that made her possible. The goodness that mourns her is still who we are, despite all the obstacles thrown against us. God bless America.


Who abused power: MP George Galloway or Senators Coleman and Levin?

Another strand to the war issue has been the discrediting of anti-war voices. One of the fiercest campaigns was mounted against George Galloway, a Member of Parliament who was accused by various newspapers of accepting bribes from Saddam's Iraq originating in the Oil-for-Food program and being passed through a charity established by Galloway. People who oppose the war know that means defending other opponents against false charges, yet without stepping over the line into assuming that no charge against a war opponent can be true. Now the Senate has escalated, with a report from the Subcommittee on Homeland Security, which" claims his estranged wife, Dr Amineh Abu-Zayyad, received approximately $150,000 in connection with one allocation of oil. It also alleges that at least $446,000 was funnelled to Mr Galloway's Mariam Appeal through several allocations....The committee attributes its findings to personal interviews with high-level members of the Hussein regime, anonymous oil traders with personal knowledge of Mr Galloway's involvement and extensive bank records.It claims that a Jordanian businessman and friend of Mr Galloway's, Fawaz Zureikat, channelled the money from the UN oil-for-food programme to the MP's former wife and to the Mariam Appeal.It also cites testimony from the former Iraqi deputy prime minister Tariq Aziz who has been in jail since the US invasion of Iraq and who allegedly told investigators Mr Galloway had requested oil allocations in the name of Mr Zureikat.The report also quotes the former Iraqi oil minister Amer Rashid as confirming Mr Galloway was granted oil allocations. Understand: this is serious. Democratic Senator Carl Levin, normally a cautious and sober voice, has joined this accusation. Greg Palast, who won his spurs in documentary analysis seems to feel that Galloway is not only guilty of accepting bribes but an execrable human being as well. Certainly it would not be a first if a politician were found to have his hand in the till, and Galloway can't be assumed automatically to be innocent. And yet the public has none of the facts before it and there are plenty of reasons to believe that Galloway might be innocent: there were tons of forged documents floating around after the Iraq War, the Christian Science Monitor paid damages to Galloway because its own experts said it had been fooled and, as Galloway points out, even if a bank document says that a transfer was made, that doesn't prove it was received. Saddam could easily have arranged a fake transfer as part of some other scheme. Galloway's response is what I expect of an innocent man. He demands to be charged with perjury, saying "that he was prepared to fly out immediately to the United States if Senator Norm Coleman, who heads the committee, was prepared to bring charges" ...It is understood that senior Iraqi members of the deposed regime have made statements to the committee, including Tariq Aziz, Taha Yasin Ramadan, the former vice-president of the country, and Amer Rashid, the former oil minister. "I've never met Ramadan or Rashid but I do know that they are facing charges which may carry a death sentence. As is Tariq Aziz. He has been held incommunicado for two years - and we know what goes on in US-controlled prisons in Iraq - and we also know from his lawyers that he has been offered a deal to testify," said Galloway. "On the one hand the US government accuses these men of being homicidal maniacs, on the other they assert that their coerced testimony is utterly trustworthy. Well, let Senator Coleman bring them and his unnamed sources to court in a case against me, and we'll see what the world concludes." As far as I am concerned, Senators Levin and Coleman have abused their power even if Galloway is guilty. Billions of dollars have been stolen from the Oil-for-Food program by American and European companies. And yet the Senate Subcommittee has time to look intently at a few hundred thousand. This looks like a classic abuse of power. Second, the proliferation of forged documents, from the Niger uranium documents to forged documents found all over Baghdad show that we should be very, very slow to make accusations. You can express your opinion, one way or another to Senator Levin at: Senator Carl Levin Address: 269 Russell Senate Office Building, Washington DC 20510 Telephone: 202-224-6221 Fax: 202-224-1388 E-mail: [PW butts in: Bear in mind that Galloway's ex-wife also denies, heatedly, that these pilferings ever happened. And also ask yourself this: If Fawaz Zureikat is such a bad, bad man, then why is BushCo doing business with him?]

Republicans Rehearse Next Election Theft

GOP to monitor mayoral voting in SE Michigan

Michigan Republicans will renew a controversy from the 2004 election when they send poll challengers to the Detroit and Ecorse mayoral elections Nov. 8 in what GOP officials say is a training exercise for next year's statewide elections. Democrats called it an attempt to intimidate black voters and said they'll watch the GOP poll watchers. ... State Democratic Party Chairman Mark Brewer called the GOP poll watch another attempt to intimidate African-American voters and prevent some from voting.... Brewer said Democratic lawyers would be deployed in Detroit during the Nov. 8 election to monitor the challengers.
At least Michigan's Democratic Party seems to have a clue that the Republicans are always up to no good. But then, they've had opportunities to learn that lesson. In the 2002 primary, eight "Democratic" challengers were found out to have been recruited by the Republicans to run against Democratic incumbents in the primary to make the incumbents use up their campaign funds before the general election, and the Secretary of State threw them off the ballot. According to the Republicans, however, it's only the voters who commit election fraud.

Republicans on Perjury

Earlier, Phoenix Woman quoted Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison's positions on perjury: positions, plural, that is, against it if the accused perjurer is a Democrat and downplaying it if the accused perjurer is a Republican. The DSCC compiled an impressive collection of quotations from the finest examples of Republican politicians (yes, I know that's not saying much). It won't take long for us to find out whether they live up to the find upstanding Republican value of rank hypocrisy.

Sen. Frist: "There is no serious question that perjury and obstruction of justice are high crimes and misdemeanors...Indeed, our own Senate precedent establishes that perjury is a high crime and misdemeanor...The crimes of perjury and obstruction of justice are public crimes threatening the administration of justice." [Congressional Record, 2/12/99] Sen. Kyl: "...there can be no doubt that perjurious, false, and misleading statements made under oath in federal court proceedings are indeed impeachable offenses...John Jay, the first Chief Justice of the United States, said 'there is no crime more extensively pernicious to society' than perjury, precisely because it 'discolors and poisons the streams of justice.'" [Congressional Record, 2/12/99] Sen. DeWine: "Obstruction of justice and perjury strike at the very heart of our system of justice...Perjury is also a very serious crime...The judiciary is designed to be a mechanism for finding the truth-so that justice can be done. Perjury perverts the judiciary, turning it into a mechanism that accepts lies-so that injustice may prevail." [Congressional Record, 2/12/99] Sen. Talent: "Nobody else in a position of trust, not a CEO, not a labor union leader, not a principal of a school could do half of what the president has done and stay in office. I mean, who would have said a year ago that a president could perjure himself and obstruct justice and tamper with witnesses... and stay in office." [CNBC, "Hardball," 12/19/98] Sen. McConnell: "I am completely and utterly perplexed by those who argue that perjury and obstruction of justice are not high crimes and misdemeanors...Perjury and obstruction hammer away at the twin pillars of our legal system: truth and justice." [Congressional Record, 2/12/99] Sen. Voinovich: "As constitutional scholar Charles Cooper said, 'The crimes of perjury and obstruction of justice, like the crimes of treason and bribery, are quintessentially offenses against our system of government, visiting injury immediately on society itself.'" [Congressional Record, 2/12/99] Sen. Hutchison: "The reason that I voted to remove him from office is because I think the overriding issue here is that truth will remain the standard for perjury and obstruction of justice in our criminal justice system and it must not be gray. It must not be muddy." [AP, 2/12/99] Sen. Craig: "There is no question in my mind that perjury and obstruction of justice are the kind of public crimes that the Founders had in mind, and the House managers have demonstrated these crimes were committed by the president. As for the excuses being desperately sought by some to allow President Clinton to escape accountability, it seems to me that creating such loopholes would require tearing holes in the Constitution-something that cannot be justified to protect this president, or any president." [Congressional Record, 2/12/99] Sen. Brownback: "Perjury and obstruction of justice are crimes against the state. Perjury goes directly against the truth-finding function of the judicial branch of government." [Congressional Record, 2/12/99]


President Conyers Speaks... listen. Rosa Parks' old boss is on the ball, as always. (Yeah, I know, he's only a Congressman. In this universe.)


Perjury: It's OK, If You're A Republican

Kay Bailey Hutchison, then:

The perjury committed in the second example was an attempt to impede, frustrate, and obstruct the judicial system in determining how the man was injured or killed, when, and by whose hand, in order to escape personal responsibility under the law, either civil or criminal. Such would be an impeachable offense. To say otherwise would be to severely lower the moral and legal standards of accountability that are imposed on ordinary citizens every day. The same standard should be imposed on our leaders. Nearly every child in America believes that President Washington, as a child himself, did in fact cut down the cherry tree and admitted to his father that he did it, saying simply: `I cannot tell a lie.' I will not compromise this simple but high moral principle in order to avoid serious consequences to a successor President who may choose to ignore it.
Kay Bailey Hutchison, now:
I certainly hope that if there is going to be an indictment that says something happened, that it is an indictment on a crime and not some perjury technicality where they couldn’t indict on the crime so they go to something just to show that their two years of investigation were not a waste of time and dollars.
The difference? Back then, a Democrat was president. Now, it's a Republican president and his staff that are under the gun. Perjury's OK, If You're A Republican.


2,000 Dead Americans

Kos diarist thereisnospoon notes this milestone -- and how BushCo plans to hide it from us. Meanwhile, by the most conservative of the logical estimates, the number of Iraqis killed in the three years since Bush invaded is, at minimum, around 34,000 as of October 23 (26,690 civilian deaths plus 7,350 troop deaths). And that's just from direct hits. The respected British medical journal The Lancet estimated last year that the total of invasion-related deaths (such deaths due to lack of food/water/other causes) was at least 100,000.

Monday, October 24, 2005


Hackett For Ohio

Because I like the guy, and because winning Cleveland isn't enough. (Ask John Kerry.) I'm going to try and put a link (with pretty picture!) in the sidebar, but I might not succeed -- I absolutely suck at using picture-upload programs. So in case I don't, click here. ...oh, what the heck: Here's a pretty picture:


Radnofsky to Hutchison: Resign if You Tolerate Perjury

Almost makes me wish I lived in Texas:

Texas Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate Barbara Ann Radnofsky called on her Republican opponent to resign if she tolerates perjury. "No elected official should tolerate or excuse perjury. I call on Kay Bailey Hutchison to renounce perjury. She should resign if she tolerates it," Radnofsky said. On October 23, Kay Bailey Hutchison said in televised comments concerning the Plame investigation that, "I certainly hope that if there is going to be an indictment that says something happened, that it is an indictment on a crime and not some perjury technicality where they couldn't indict on the crime..."
Donate to Barbara Ann Radnofsky here, if you like.


UPI: Fitzy's Looking Into Yellowcake Forgeries

Heheheheheheh! Methinks Ahmad Chalabi might not want to be making any visits to the US any time soon. This just might take out those high-level PNAC Platoonies that didn't get tagged by the first phase of Fitz' probe.


Toledo And The Nazis: David Neiwert Reports

This is a nice corrective to the 'lookit those silly Negroes trashing their own homes' crap that the right-wing bloggers and FOX News have been spewing.


Why Do Republicans Like Treason?

Jon Aravosis ponders that question, in light of the GOP's ramped-up efforts to smear Fitzgerald.

Sunday, October 23, 2005


No Wonder He's Been Freaking Out On TV Lately

From the Washington Post:

A critical early success for Fitzgerald was winning the cooperation of Robert D. Novak, the Chicago Sun-Times columnist who named Plame in a July 2003 story and attributed key information to "two senior administration officials." Legal sources said Novak avoided a fight and quietly helped the special counsel's inquiry, although neither the columnist nor his attorney have said so publicly.
Of course Novak sang. He realized early on that Fitzgerald would have no compunctions about putting his privileged butt in a jail cell for an indefinite period of time. And of course the rest of the media knew that he sang, which is why it's been so sickening to hear them talk so piously about "why is that mean man Fitzgerald picking on Pooooor Judy-Wudy when she didn't write any articles mentioning Plame?" They knew full well why. No wonder Novak's been freaking out lately. Between the Bushes pressuring him one way and Fitz another, he's probably ready for the funny farm.

Saturday, October 22, 2005


The limited hangout. MoDo stakes Miller to the altar and runs.

Shorter MoDo: ** Miller is a haughty hysterical tramp, and a stenographer for con man Chalabi, but one must admire the singlemindedness and picaresque quaintness of her sociopathy. Indulgent management let her run amok, including credulous Washington bureau chief Phil Taubman (he's a friend, at least theoretically, which is why I get to call him Phil). She lied about talking to editor Jill Abramson, about not remembering writing about "Valerie Flame" or who she heard the name from. The prosecutor had to squeeze the admission of her June 23rd meeting with Libby out of her. Liar and whore, she is clearly the most serious threat to freedom that our nation faces. And as far as the virtuous Dowd, she did her very best: she worried that Miller was engaged in "incestuous amplification," known by lesser mortals as propaganda. Dowd admires Keller and Sulzberger (i.e., the people who sign her paycheck) for backing up their reporters. Unfortunately, they were too credulous. Please notice the extraordinary delicacy and literary style with which I have managed to trash a colleague and kiss my boss's... ring** We have seen this before. It's called the limited hangout. Judy is guilty (but picaresque!) and everyone else at The Times is just too d--n trusting. I wonder if it's a coincidence that the White House is doing exactly the same thing with Libby

Wake Up And Smell The Chalabi

Der Spiegel reports that Zuheir al-Siddiq, the central witness on whom the UN's Detlev Mehlis relied for his report on the Hariri assassination, has a résumé awfully similar to that of Ahmad "the Iraqis will greet you with flowers and candy" Chalabi: Grifter, liar, not particularly trustworthy. Even the very UN Commission which had submitted the Mehlis report to the UN Security Council is raising serious doubts about the reliability and credibility of al-Siddiq's declarations, since it was revealed that the alleged former officer of the Syrian secret services had in reality been convicted more than once for penal offenses related to money subtraction. (An English synopsis of the Der Spiegel article can be found here.) The Syrians are by no means angels; few of the régimes in the area are run by angels. But even if Bush's motives were of the purest -- and as anyone who's studied the history of the PNAC platoon (Rumsfeld, Cheney, Wolfowitz, Bolton, etc.) knows, Bush's motives are NOT of the purest -- Bush simply can't be trusted to do régime change properly. (Just look at Iraq and Afghanistan.) [UPDATE: Bob Parry over at The Consortium is also apparently deeply skeptical of the Mehlis/al-Siddiq report. I got an e-mail teaser, but it wasn't up on the Consortium's website just yet. Will keep an eye peeled.] [Later UPDATE: Here's Bob Parry's take. Yeah, he's suspicious.]


James Wolcott as The Scooter Whisperer

Both Josh Marshall and James Walcott -- to name but two in the reality-based community -- have noted that the Bushistas have decided, as we knew they would, that Karl Rove is more important than Scooter Libby, so Scooter's being tossed over the side. Publicly, anyway. Rove may well have tried to cut a deal with Fitzgerald: We'll give you Libby if you leave the rest of us be. Which would, admittedly, be a tempting deal, if you assume that Rove isn't caught as securely in Fitz's nets as is Libby. But what if it winds up going the other way? What if Libby, seeing the extreme peril he's in, and realizing that his friends in the White House have cut him loose, suddenly decides to sing like a canary for Fitzgerald? Oh, what pretty Fitzmas carols he'd sing. As Wolcott points out, Scooter may be going down, but he'll make sure he won't go down alone. The aspens' roots are interconnected, you know. Libby could just as well have been warning Bush and Rove, along with Judy Miller, when he wrote that.


The wounded and the spiritually dead

Stewart Nusbaumer has a good look at the life of wounded American soldiers, via Truthout. As a vet wounded in Vietnam, his advice and his comments about how our soldiers need us after they are released from hospital as much as when they are in are worth your time. And this related item: Mot of the Day Award to Joel Bleifuss: (via the Chimp) Out of prison, Miller promised that once she returned to work she would cover "the same thing I've always covered--threats to our country." Which means, we presume, she'll be covering the White House.

Friday, October 21, 2005


The Noble Lie (or why Democrats and Republicans alike dragged us into this mess)

Scott Ritter did an interesting segment today, in which he asserted that ever since the first Gulf War, the policy of the United States has been to overthrow Saddam Hussein whether or not he complied with sanctions. That would have been a violation of international law. But under Dubya, the wrongs deepened and deepened until they became crimes of war. They [The American people] think that this [the invasion of Iraq] was an accident, that this was a noble cause, that people like the president, like Bill Clinton before him, like their respective administrations, journalists like Judith Miller just honestly got it wrong...The problem isn't just what's happening in Iraq but it's the whole process that took place in the United States leading up to the war, this dishonest process of deliberately deceiving the American public. And it's not just George W. Bush. For eight years of the Clinton administration, that administration said the same things. The C.I.A. knew, since 1992, that significant aspects of the Iraqi weapons programs had been completely eliminated, but this was never about disarmament...This has been about, since 1991, solving a domestic political embarrassment. That is the continued survival of Saddam Hussein, a man who in March 1990 was labeled as a true friend of the American people and then in October 1990 in a dramatic flip-flop was called the Middle East equivalent of Adolph Hitler. The fact that in April, 1991, the United States helps draft and then votes in favor of a Chapter 7 resolution 687 that creates the weapons inspections, call upon Iraq to disarm and in Paragraph 14 says if Iraq complies, economic sanctions will be lifted. This is the law. A few months later, the president, George Herbert Walker Bush and the Secretary of State say economic sanctions will never be lifted against Iraq, even if they comply with their obligation to disarm, until which time Saddam Hussein is removed from power. It's the stated policy of the United States government. What we weren't quite aware of is just to what extreme they would go in undermining the credibility and integrity of the United Nations inspection process to achieve this objective. ...The tragedy of Iraq is that it’s about domestic American politics. This is a president, George Herbert Walker Bush, who in 1990, traps himself rhetorically by linking Saddam Hussein to Adolph Hitler. Once you do that, once you speak of a Nuremburg-like retribution, you can't negotiate your way out of that problem. Now it's either deliver Saddam Hussein's head on a platter or you failed.... This was inherited by Bill Clinton. The irony is that Bill Clinton – and I'm very critical of Bill Clinton, but you know, in the period between his election in 1992 and his being sworn in, his administration reached out to the Iraqis in saying, “Look, this is a ridiculous policy, let's figure out how we can get sanctions lifted and get you back into the family of nations.” But when politicians in Congress, both Democrat and Republican, found out about this, they said, “You can't do this. We have told our constituents this man is Hitler, and we can't negotiate with the devil.” This narrative is persuasive to me. Democrats and Republicans alike have gone along and gone along, going deeper and deeper into doing wrong. The Noble Lie (plus some good old-fashioned political calculation) is one of the few things that could explain this bizarre act of national self-destruction.

TreasonGate Watch: Fitz's Website

Patrick Fitzgerald has a website. (Yes, it's going up in our sidebar.) Anyone who wants to know the truth about what's been going on need only stop by for a visit. This is, as the WP's Dan Froomkin notes, a strong indication that indictments are about to be sprung. And so is this, from the contacts section of the website:

Chicago Office: Dirksen Federal Building 219 South Dearborn Street, Fifth Floor Chicago, Illinois 60604 (312) 353-5300 Washington Office: Bond Federal Building 1400 New York Avenue, NW, Ninth Floor Washington D.C. 20530 (202) 514-1187 Please address all correspondence to the Washington Office.
Oh, and my favorite passage of the Froomkin piece?
Incidentally, if you call the number the new Web site lists for Fitzgerald's D.C. office, the phone is somewhat mysteriously answered "counterespionage section."


The US Oil-for-Food Scandal

From the WP: US Firm Fined in Oil-for-Food Scandal

NEW YORK, Oct. 20 -- A Reston-based firm pleaded guilty Thursday to charges that it paid former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein's government more than $440,000 in illegal kickbacks in 2000 and 2001 to purchase discounted Iraqi crude through the $64 billion U.N. oil-for-food program. Manhattan District Attorney Robert M. Morgenthau announced that Midway Trading conspired with a Romanian partner, Bulf Oil, to deposit the kickbacks in a Jordanian bank, bypassing U.N. rules designed to prevent oil profits from falling into the hands of the former Iraqi government. The company, which pleaded guilty to first-degree grand larceny in New York State Court, agreed to pay a $250,000 fine. Morgenthau declined to say whether officials at either company would be charged with crimes, and said his investigation into wrongdoing in the program is continuing. An attorney for the firm, Mark MacDougall, declined to comment. Attempts to reach Stephen W. Baumgart, listed in Virginia State Corporation Commission records as Midway's president, were unsuccessful. His wife, Margaret, who is listed as the company's secretary, said in a brief interview she had no information about the matter.
FOX News would have you believe that Kofi Annan and his family were behind all this, and got all the money. But the main culprits all seem to be Americans. As we've known for six months now. A quick tickle of turned up nothing for Baumgart or Midway Trading, so I can't tell you which party (if any) they supported. More as I find it.


Annals of Patheticness

Tom DeLay's lawyer pulled the old force-the-judge-to-recuse-himself-even-though-my-conflicts-of-interest-are-worse-than-his ploy today. (Of course, this just delays the inevitable, since this just goes to a superior court judge, and DeGuerin can't pick them. Neener neener.) In an effort to try and keep his own ploy from being used against him -- or rather, to keep from being revealed as a total hypocrite -- DeGuerin even claims to be a Democrat. Oh, really? DeGuerin a Democrat? Not where his political donations over the last few years are concerned, any way! From DeGuerin's 2005 donations (so far): DEGUERIN, DICK ATTORNEY 4/25/05 $400 HOUSTON,TX 77002 Recipient: Hutchison, Kay Bailey DEGUERIN, JANIE INTERIOR DECORATER 4/25/05 $400 HOUSTON,TX 77002 Recipient: Hutchison, Kay Bailey And here's DeGuerin's 2003 and 2004 donations: DEGUERIN, DICK ATTORNEY 5/14/03 $1,000 HOUSTON,TX 77002 Recipient: Hutchison, Kay Bailey DEGUERIN, DICK ATTORNEY 1/14/04 $1,000 HOUSTON,TX 77002 Recipient: Hutchison, Kay Bailey DEGUERIN, DICK ATTORNEY 1/14/04 $1,000 HOUSTON,TX 77002 Recipient: Hutchison, Kay Bailey DEGUERIN, DICK ATTORNEY 5/17/04 $1,000 HOUSTON,TX 77002 Recipient: Poe, Ted DEGUERIN, JANIE INTERIOR DECORATER 1/14/04 $2,000 HOUSTON,TX 77002 Recipient: Hutchison, Kay Bailey Oh, and wasn't Hutchison one of his clients? Why, yes, she was!


Fitzmas: Bad News and VERY GOOD News

For those anxiously awaiting the Fitzmas indictments next week: The Bad News: They may be delayed slightly -- or fewer in number than first thought. The GOOD News: That's only because Fitz has got so much damn dirt on BushCo that he's going to wind up pulling a Ronnie Earle and empaneling another Grand Jury! Plus, Pete Yost of the AP says that the BushCo defense is "crumbling". Crumbling! HEHEHEHEHEH! Check it out.


Look! It's Little Red Victim Hood!

Did you all see the hilarious ad DeLay's people are running on various websites?

Atrios has a copy.

Who here has Photoshop gear and wants to pull a Margaret Keane on poor widdle Saint Tommie's tragically martyred, extreme-soft-focus (so as to hide the evil) face?

[UPDATE: I did a Kos diary on this last night, and we have a winner!]

Thursday, October 20, 2005


It was a sad day for those who love America

A commission to inquire into war crimes by the Bush Administration was convened with the judicial panel to include a former US Senator, a former UN Assistant Secretary-General, and a former CIA analyst. A Spanish court indicted three GIs for firing on the Palestine Hotel, killing journalists. Human Rights Watch criticized the proceedings against Saddam Hussein as having an "anything goes" atmosphere One of Saddam Hussein's defense lawyers was kidnapped , lending doubts as to whether he can receive a fair trial. A former Indian ambassador has labeled the trial a kangaroo court Guantanamo prisoners, now in their third month of a hunger strike, allege that force feeding is being done in a manner that may constitute torture In the words of Cato author Tim Lynch, the Bush Administration has attacked and demolished the constitutional levee that protects our freedom. A former CIA analyst accused the Bush Administration of conducting a "covert operation" against the American people Our traditional ally, Venezuela, is realigning with the European bloc and probably carrying South America with it. Argentina and Brazil have strong traditional ties to Europe and good reason to be irritated with the US. In a historically unprecedented event, the House Majority Leader has been indicted on felony charges Meanwhile, the most important issue to Rev. Donald WIldmon is boycotting American Girl Dolls because they supposedly promote abortion and lesbianism. No wonder this man is smiling: (Photo by AP) Thank you, Truthout! (Hint, readers: send them a nickel)

Friday Eve Cat Blogging

I'm doing my Friday Cat Blogging early this week, since I'll be away from the computer over the weekend and I don't want to deprive Phoenix Woman of her cat fix.

A fuzzy gray kitten and a tiger cat catloafing together in a bathroom sink


We Did It!

Well, not just the readers of this blog, but everyone on's mailing list as well. That is, we stopped the House Republicans from voting yesterday to cut $50 billion out of programs that help folks like you and me and then retain $70 billion in tax cuts that went mostly to the very rich. Turns out that the Republican Congresscritters in the South are also those whose districts have taken the hardest hits from Katrina, Rita, and now Wilma. The last thing they want to do is to face their constituents next year after having voted against aid for them this year. Oh, and speaking of Katrina, one of Mike Brown's former employees over at FEMA has released some e-mails showing that FEMA personnel were begging him to act proactively -- but he blew them off.


Democracy Surgery

The Founders counted on factions to keep one another in check. City versus farm. Federalist vs. Democrat-Republican, finance versus manufacturing, Catholic vs. Protestant and so on. They could have predicted that when a senior member of one of the political parties would declare that "there is no Opposition Party" in Trent Lott's chilling phrase, the Republic was at maximum peril. And so it is heartening to see the knives come out as Bush's carefully-bundled fasces start to come unbound. This democracy has cancer, and this is part of the necessary surgery. Considering whose political blood must be metaphorically spilled, it should be a joy to watch-- and egg on. Here are a few excerpts from today: Colonel Lawrences Wilkerson, CoS to SoS Colin Powell: What I saw was a cabal between the Vice President of the United States, Richard Cheney, and the Secretary of Defense and [inaudible] on critical issues that made decisions that the bureaucracy did not know were being made....Read George Packer’s book The Assassin’s [inaudible] if you haven’t already. George Packer, a New Yorker, reporter for The New Yorker, has got it right.... if you want to read how the Cheney Rumsfeld cabal flummoxed the process, read that book. And, of course, there are other names in there, Under Secretary of Defense Douglas [inaudible], whom most of you probably know Tommy Frank said was stupidest blankety blank man in the world. He was. Let me testify to that. He was. Seldom in my life have I met a dumber man. And yet, and yet, after the Secretary of State agrees to a $400 billion department, rather than a $30 billion department, having control, at least in the immediate post-war period in Iraq, this man is put in charge. Not only is he put in charge, he is given carte blanche to tell the State Department to go screw themselves in a closet somewhere. Melvin Laird, Defense Secretary under Nixon is warning that the United States is repeating in Iraq some of the mistakes that led to public disillusionment and ultimate defeat in Vietnam, including the impression that there is no clear goal for victory or a detailed, well-described plan to bring US troops home. Melvin R. Laird, who led the Defense Department in the final years of the Vietnam War, writes in the next edition of Foreign Affairs magazine that most Americans want to see a clearly defined exit strategy ... In the article, which breaks more than three decades of silence about his tenure during Vietnam, the 83-year-old Laird compares on-the-job lessons he learned from the US experience in Southeast Asia with the ongoing US presence in Iraq ... ''The war in Iraq is not 'another Vietnam.' But it could become one ... He adds, ''Our presence is what feeds the insurgency, and our gradual withdrawal would feed the confidence and the ability of average Iraqis to stand up to the insurgency." The heads of the Senate Judiciary Committee: Barely concealing their irritation during a 35-minute news conference at the Capitol, Chairman Arlen Specter, R-Pa., and ranking Democrat Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., called the lobbying on Miers' behalf "chaotic," and said the answers she provided Monday to a lengthy questionnaire were inadequate. "The comments I have heard range from incomplete to insulting," Leahy said...The two committee leaders - both of whom voted to confirm John G. Roberts Jr. as chief justice last month - said they are bothered by accounts of telephone conference calls in which supporters of Miers reportedly have assured conservative activists that they will be happy with her political views on abortion and other subjects. " But of course the faction that really counts in the United States of Amnesia is the late night comedians. Conan O’Brien: “Over the weekend, speaking of Iraq, Iraq held an election to approve their constitution. Some Iraqis claim the voting was fixed and the provinces of Nineveh and Diyala, which, by the way, are the Iraqi words for Ohio and Florida.” (Thanks to Johnny Wendell of KTLK) Carve them turkeys!

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