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 http://www.senate.gov, 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
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
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.]And
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.]And
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.]And
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
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.
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:
Friday Cat Blogging
NRO Columnist Advocates that Bush Seize Power
New Right Wing meme: Enforcing the law will cause financial diaster
Danziger on the GOP's New Catchphrase
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
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.
Another Pretext for War? The UN Report on Syria and the Hariri Assassination
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
- Viewing Saturday from 3 p.m. until midnight at St. Paul AME Church, 706 E. Patton Ave.
- Public memorial from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Sunday at St. Paul.
- Viewing Sunday from 6 p.m. until midnight in the rotunda at the Lincoln Memorial.
- A public memorial from 1 to 2 p.m. Monday at Metropolitan AME Church, 1518 M St. NW
- Viewing from 9 p.m. Monday to 5 a.m. Wednesday at the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History, 315 E. Warren.
- Funeral at 11 a.m. Wednesday at Greater Grace Temple, 23500 W. Seven Mile.
- Interment at Woodlawn Cemetery, Woodward near 8 Mile.
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
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
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?
Republicans Rehearse Next Election Theft
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...
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
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.
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
Friday, October 21, 2005
The Noble Lie (or why Democrats and Republicans alike dragged us into this mess)
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."Heheheheh.
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 OpenSecrets.org 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 OpenSecrets.org: 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?
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
Friday Eve Cat Blogging
We Did It!
Well, not just the readers of this blog, but everyone on MoveOn.org'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.
More blogs about politics.