Saturday, March 31, 2007


There's barely enough time to blog about Giuliani's booby-rigged history or El Presidente Bush ante-ing up American in the British sailor situation in Iran. And tonight my head is filled with two completely different fantasies, although if you stick with this post to the end, I think I can explain what ties them together.

One one hand an Associated Press article read on Huffington Post makes me yearn for the rescue of pioneering female aviator, Amelia Earhart. While attempting to earn her place in history by being the first woman pilot to circumnavigate the globe, she ended up even larger-than-that-life when she, her plane and her (male) co-pilot disappeared over the Pacific on their last leg home.

The cause for the piece is a newly discovered diary, written by a young AP stringer at the time (James W. Carey), which contains information supporting the theory that Earhart emergency landed on Gardner Island, and that failure to circulate certain information may have led to a botch rescue operation:

When Pan Am's Pacific stations triangulated the signals to the Phoenix Islands, the Achilles, less than 48 hours away at its top speed of 32 knots, was ignored. Instead, the Colorado was sent south, but by the time it reached the area a week later, the radio calls had ceased.

After a float-plane search of eight atolls, senior pilot Lt. John O. Lambrecht reported that "signs of recent habitation were clearly visible" at Gardner Island, but "repeated circling and zooming failed to elicit any answering wave from possible inhabitants, and it was finally taken for granted that none were there."

Had Lambrecht known that the island had been uninhabited for more than 40 years, he might have looked more closely. In an interview years later, he described the signs only as "markers," without elaboration. Inexplicably, the final report by Colorado's captain said no sign of habitation had been found.

There's more to the article, including some evidently old news about American shortwave radio enthusiasts who heard what they believed to be Earhart's post-landing distress transmissions, as well as information about her radio reception antenna having snapped off the plane's exterior on take-off.

It's hard to imagine the pain and desolation she and her co-pilot must have endured on that island if the theory is true. How much nicer to imagine a rescue -- the pilot flying over touching down and making hero, Earhart meeting with President Roosevelt, maybe even a successful round-the-world flight a year later.

The second fantasy has its roots in a disconcertingly hilarious bit that Al Gore did to open Saturday Night Live last May. It was an address from the Oval Office during the sixth year of his fantasy Presidency. Very funny stuff, like:

In the last 6 years we have been able to stop global warming. No one could have predicted the negative results of this. Glaciers that once were melting are now on the attack. As you know, these renegade glaciers have already captured parts of upper Michigan and northern Maine, but I assure you: we will not let the glaciers win.

But if you want a more imaginable timeline of how a fantasy Gore Presidency might have played out, Phoenix Woman on firedoglake has it for you. I have a few personal favorite moments I only wish were true:

August 13, 2001: Moussaoui, under FBI questioning, reveals key details of an Al-Qaeda plot scheduled for next month to attack the Pentagon, the White House and the World Trade Center. These details are corroborated by the testimony of the students Williams had interviewed in Phoenix a month earlier.

August - early September, 2001: Dozens of students at flight schools are arrested in a major FBI operation. Thirteen of these students turn out to be directly involved in what will come to be called "the September Plot".

September 11, 2001: At the Houston, LAX and Minneapolis International airports, seven Saudi and Algerian men were forbidden from boarding their flights after airport security personnel found box cutters, wire and other banned items on their persons. These men turn out to be the remnants of the band of Al-Qaeda's September Plotters; all the others had been caught in the FBI's sweep of the flight schools.

Armed with this evidence, Gore demands and gets Congressional authorization to send US troops to Afghanistan. MSNBC's Joe Scarborough ridicules the idea that "idiots with box cutters" could take over an airliner. Rush Limbaugh claims that "Gore is sending our young men and women off on a wild goose chase." Bill O'Reilly, William Kristol, and Ann Coulter demand that Gore invade Iraq, even though none of the would-be hijackers is Iraqi or has any connection to Iraq or to Saddam Hussein.

And maybe best of all:

March 2, 2002: PNAC member and Halliburton CEO Dick Cheney is under investigation by a Federal grand jury for using shell companies to have oil dealings with Iran despite former President Clinton's 1996 Executive Order forbidding this. Fellow PNAC member Ahmad Chalabi, who is a convicted embezzler, denounces the action as "a naked attempt to silence a great humanitarian and his calls for a free Iraq." Cheney will eventually be convicted and be sentenced to ten years in prison, while his company Halliburton will pay a $500,000 fine.

So what makes these two things like one another?

The most powerful fantasies, arguably the most popular in fiction, are rescue fantasies. Rescue Amelia. Rescue America. And the natural inclination to wallow in both confirms our need, our bottomless longing, for orderly happy endings.

Both losses left a gaping void in public life (albeit one a bit more critical than the other). In both cases the real-life loss is likely more instructive than had the fantasy come true. If Earhart had been rescued, just a near miss, would she have such a resonant place in the collective psyche? Had Florida not been stolen in 2000, would America ever have come to grips with how vile Conservative GOP rule could really be?

Sure, I'd take the swap any day. But what should matter most to any registered adults is not what could have been, but what is.

Bottom line: chalk me up as an always striving member of the Reality-Based Community; and onto the next battleground in defense of it.

Friday, March 30, 2007


This is an incredibly valuable cinematic study resource.

Here's 2006 Part Two. I'm partial to Natalya Negoda and Jaye Davidson.

This seminar is for extra credit.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Kyle Sampson, Coffin Nail

Thursday's Senate committee testimony by ex-Justice Department Deputy Chief of Staff Kyle Sampson wasn't just the last nail in Alberto Gonzales' political coffin;it's a big one in slamming the lid on the entire George W. Bush Presidency.

You can enjoy Keith Olbermann's great distillation of Kyle's mortal blow, his total exposure of Gonzales' bald-faced lie that as Attorney General had nothing to do with the mega-hack firing of eight (8) U.S. Attorneys:

Specter asked about Gonzales' "candor" in saying earlier this month that he was not a part of any discussions on the firings. He asked about the November 27, 2006 meeting "where there were discussions" and Gonzales allegedly attended. Was Gonzales' statement about taking part in no discussions accurate?

"I don’t think it’s accurate,” Sampson replied. “I think he’s recently clarified it. But I remember discussing with him this process of asking certain U.S. attorneys to resign, and I believe that he was present at the meeting on Nov. 27.”

"So he was involved in discussions in contrast to his statement" this month? Specter asked.

"Yes," Sampson replied.

There it is. The hallmark of the Bush/Cheney reign has consistently been, in ways that dwarf any "is" that ever came out of President Bill Clinton's mouth, lying.

It started with the 2000 vote count in Florida, but the chaos his team was able to stir up was so great that it stayed subliminal...until those infamous sixteen words in his infamous 2003 State of the Union Address; the lie that took his Iraq War gin-up over the top. Hey, Scooter Libby was even convicted of lying.

The scandal swirls closer and closer to Karl Rove and George Bush himself. For Rove it has always been about his megalomaniacal drive to create a "permanent Republican majority". Although he claimed the way he was doing it was "to design a legislative and philosophical agenda" that would dominate, it turns out he's always been hedging his bets with bogus accusations of Democratic election fraud, accusations actually engineered for maximum voter-suppression. The U.S. Attorneys that were fired appear likely targeted because they were from swing states Rove was targeting, and they weren't doing Karl's dirty work.

So far there's tangential evidence that Karl was at the center of the decisions, an email cc that won't completely do the trick. Oh, and he replaced the Arkansas U.S. Attorney with his protege, another unscrupulous campaign hack. But with all of his non-governmental emails being subpoenaed, if they do see the light of day who knows what we'll learn.

Then there's Harriet.

She may take down Rove, maybe it's his turn to fall for his El Presidente, but the most likely way Bush will be drawn into the swirlybowl is via Harriet Miers. Yes, the one he tried to stuff on the Supreme Court, like Gonzales another one of his personal attorneys from all the way back in Texas. Harriet recently resigned her White House job, but she's all over the

Much of the hearing focused on why prosecutors’ names were added to or dropped off the list. At regular White House meetings that included Ms. Miers and her deputy, William Kelley, progress on preparing the list was discussed, Mr. Sampson said.

Think of all the cracks you've ever heard about El Presidente's intelligence. Then think of all the cracks you heard about Harriet Miers during her short-lived dance with a Supreme Court nomination.

Will anyone really believe she vetted those lists of U.S. Attorneys to replace without the specific approval, in each and every instance, of her boss?

Hammer into nail.

Crossposted to The Daily Reel.

New Sheriff

How hard does House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) rock?

See for yourself.

A friend of mine said that she was speaking to him the way he always speaks to us, like she's talking to a three-year old. As a grandmother, maybe the hardest-rocking grandmother in America today, she certainly has plenty of experience talking to sullen toddlers.

The whole CNN clip is rousing, but the signature phrase has to be:

On this very important matter, I would extend the hand of friendship to the President, just to say to him, "Calm down with the threats; there's a new Congress in town."

Can this woman impose law on a man with, historically, only a manipulative relationship to it?

I'm visualizing Barbara Stanwyck in The Big Valley. Sorry, couldn't find that image of Babs in black leather with the whip.

But how about a little taste of this, you bad little boy?

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Rubber, Meet Road

Veto this.
“When it comes to the war in Iraq, the American people have spoken, the House and Senate have spoken,” said Senator Richard J. Durbin of Illinois, the No. 2 Democrat in the Senate. “Now, we hope the president is listening.”

I'm not holding my breath.

Maybe he'll just wait until April 6th.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Sing, Fat Lady, Sing

Okay, it's not over yet. But the warm-up acts are deep into their acts now, and I'm not even sure a sudden confrontation with Iran can halt the slide of the Bush Administration into near-total irrelevance, and not a moment too soon. It's the next best hope after impeachment.

What changed today?

Sure, there's the Senate Republicans saying the don't stick their necks out for no one, at least not for this President anymore. They're not liking where he's leaving their election prospects for '08. But the morning started with two Conservative columnists abandoning El Presidente like an unwanted piece of trash.

Plame villain Robert Novak, of all people, in light of zero GOP support for lying Attorney General Alberto Gonzales on the Sunday political talk shows, declared Bush, well:

With nearly two years remaining in his presidency, George W. Bush is alone. In half a century, I have not seen a president so isolated from his own party in Congress -- not Jimmy Carter, not even Richard Nixon as he faced impeachment.

Ah, that "i" word again. Cropping up more and more.

Novak prefers the "i" word of incompetence:

The I-word (for incompetence) is used by Republicans in describing the Bush administration generally. Several of them I talked to described a trifecta of incompetence: the Walter Reed hospital scandal, the FBI's misuse of the Patriot Act and the U.S. attorneys firing fiasco. "We always have claimed that we were the party of better management," one House leader told me. "How can we claim that anymore?"

I'd add the response to Katrina and the decision to gin up a war with Iraq, but I think incompetence is ultimately a dodge for a rotten ideology. Or maybe it's just an ideology that breeds incompetence.

Unlike Novak, however, the dean of American Conservatism, William F. Buckley, weighed in today more about another "i" word, again after invoking President Nixon's pending impeachment, that of "intent":

Of one thing Mr. Bush is manifestly guilty. It is the criminal (in the metaphorical sense) mismanagement of the whole business of the U.S. attorneys. The fault is not personal; it was probably the attorney general and other advisers of the president who took so many clumsy steps. But Mr. Bush's stress on his rights invites a coordinate stress on his responsibilities. "These attorneys," he said, "serve at my pleasure." Right. But presidential pleasures have to rest on defensible grounds.

That's two generations of Conservatives throwing in the towel.

Then there's the sudden revelation that 95% of Karl Rove's emailing is done through his Republican National Committee account. This is troubling from the point of view of using the White House for blatant Party gain (you know, like in Communist China), for appearing to be Rove dodging having all of his emails preserved per Federal law on White House communications, and maybe worst of all as a security breach.

After all, if the White House is maybe the world's highest value intelligence target, do we really want 95% of the emails to and from the man closest to our President going outside of governmental servers?

Come out of your dressing room, opera star -- hard rockin' Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA) and his Administration Oversight Committee just directed the RNC to preserve all White House emails. I imagine the RNC will. Who wants to keep breaking the law for these clowns?

Because the great big shoe that dropped today was a side-drama that will play out over the next few days or week. It turns out that:

Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales's senior counselor yesterday refused to testify in the Senate about her involvement in the firings of eight U.S. attorneys, invoking her Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination.

Another "i" word! And they said it first.

Josh Marshall, who's owned this story from the start, gets the help of his readers in exploring why the Fifth Amendment doesn't apply for Ms. Monica M. Goodling, who was Justice's liaison with the White House. Meanwhile, this terrified lackey was handling all the communications between Gonzales and Rove. A more cynical writer might wonder why they've still let her live.

Maybe she's thinking "trial" because yesterday the Bush's former deputy secretary of the Interior was convicted of lying to Senate investigators in the Jack Abramhoff scandal. Maybe everyone is starting to see the shape of endless years of attorney fees, court dates, jail time. Maybe everyone is starting to think they might have engaged in something that could be construed as, let's say, criminal.

It happened to Scooter. It happened to Reagan's men in Iran-Contra. It happened to all of Richard Nixon's men. Breaking the law sucks. I mean, for everyone else all the time, but for you especially when you get caught.

What's triggered Ms. Goodling's plea o' the Fifth can only be, as Josh writes of her lawyer's letter:

On page two of the letter, Goodling's lawyer asserts as the fourth reason for her refusal to testify that "it has come to our attention that a senior Department of Justice official has privately told Senator Schumer that he (the official) was not entirely candid in his report to the Committee, and that the official allegedly claimed that others, including our client, did not inform him of certain pertinent facts."

His name isn't stated. But this appears to be a reference to Deputy Attorney General McNulty, the subject of this post from earlier this evening. Here we finally appear to have a bad act that Goodling believes or at least claims may expose her to criminal prosecution -- lying to Congress by proxy by intentionally misinforming an official about to testify before Congress.

Just watching this from the outside, it looks as though that is the bad act she's afraid to testify about or -- and somehow I find this more believable -- she's afraid of indictment for perjury because she has to go up to Congress and testify under oath before the White House has decided what its story is. And yeah, I'd feel like I was in jeopardy then too.

Wow, another President, another Monica. Maybe she'll get that immunity deal one can only assume she's angling for. Maybe that's a trap, or maybe that's all Patrick Leahy has to do to bring down Karl Rove and Alberto Gonzales, and maybe George W. Bush as well.

I say sing, Monica, sing.

The Fat Lady is waiting in the wings.

Sunday, March 25, 2007


Just watched the series finale of Rome and the season closer (2nd half of a two-partner) of Battlestar Gallactica, and the common feeling to both is that times are changing. Big change.

The HBO series has been two extremely fast-moving seasons of reimagined history, and it sent me both back to Wikipedia repeatedly to see what, I guess, really happened, and back into my child brain when I actually thought about how things were, what it must have been to live at this time or that place. I'm guessing not quite as designed as the Rome world. I wonder if the players were more brutal in their everyday lives, their mores. I imagine they all spoke Latin.

I enjoyed the show but they did the right thing since it was reportedly too expensive to renew, and gave a lot of closure at the end. Best of us, they made it clear they knew who was the true hero of the series.

Battlestar is just such an anomaly, a full-season show (at least 20 episodes, like the old days) without any bad episodes. There may be some that one constituency likes better than some others, but the story is sprawling enough without ever really letting up the tension for very long. And the last five minutes of the season finale flipped the whole show around four different ways including two huge ones -- the Final Five (okay, 4/5 but Baltar obviously a leading candidate for #5) and the Road to Earth.

I don't know if the goal is to keep the show going forever, or if an HBO-type series end date is planned. The world of the show is somewhat enclosed compared with, say, the Star Trek universe where literally anything can happen and has. Battlestar's strength is its focus on the war between the Cylons and this pack of last known human beings in the universe, on a high-speed chase to find the Earth home of mythology. So both of the twists make it seem like you could climax the series over a reasonably generous final two seasons.

In two weeks the final season of The Sopranos begins, a 10-episode closer. It'll be interesting to see how they handle it, and I can't wait to have that cast in my living room again. But most of all, it'll be the end of the big one, the one that really ignited this new era of franker dramatic television.

Most of all, it'll be change. More plotlines that have run their course. And maybe that's the zeitgeist right now; a need for renewal, a thirst for new direction.

Something in the air......?

Saturday, March 24, 2007

New Obsession

I'm in the bag for Amy Winehouse. A brown paper one.

"Rehab" sounds like Ronnie Spector produced by Phil with lyrics written in some sort of Go F--- Yourself Bizarro universe.

Live on Letterman here.

Is it a Morphine (R.I.P.) buzz I'm getting with "You Know I'm No Good"? Do you smell the danger?

Seems to be for real, including actual alcoholism and refusal of treatment that inspired her current breakthrough single. Supposedly she's singing the title track to the next Bond flick as well -- far from a stretch, per the sound of this title track from her current album, "Back to Black".

One might wonder, why not cut to the chase and make it the title song itself?

Friday, March 23, 2007


Gotta give her credit. It took four years, but the people's House finally voted against the Iraq War.

I mean, does this guy look like a winner?

By the way, Gonzo is on his way out. He's just a sleazy lying hack.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

"Reasonable" Dictatorship

Our Federal government appears to be on the verge of the biggest Constitutional crisis since Watergate. Disgraced former-President Richard Nixon actually said, "When the President does it that means it is not illegal." Maybe George W. Bush thinks that mutated reading of American law extends to an unelected official, Karl Rove, as well.

It's a twisted path to the Alberto Gonzales Federal "Prosecutor Purge" crisis, now reaching showdown level as the Democratic Congress wants answers from the White House for their myriad stories on who made the decision and for what potentially nefarious reason eight essentially well-regarded prosecutors were replaced, unusually, mid-term, especially when several of them were leading prosecutions against corrupt Republicans.

With an email trail leading back from Attorney General Gonzales' office to key Bush inner circle members Karl Rove and Harriet Miers (yes, the one Bush tried to appoint to the Supreme Court), Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-VT) has started issuing subpoenas. But President Bush has only offered a deal on Rove and Miers that Leahy calls, "nothing":
We're told we can have a closed door meeting, with no transcript, not under oath, limited number of people and the White House would determine what the agenda is. That to me is nothing.
Cue Jon Stewart, who blew the doors off President Bush's argument faster and more efficiently that all the cable pundits put together this week. In Stewart's vivisection of El Presidente's Titanic-like press conference on Tuesday night, he cuts together Bush's repetition of the "reasonable proposal" talking point -- 4 times, and the last is a doozy. "Senior Washington Correspondent" John Oliver drives the stake home with "It's a major concession from the President's initial offer to Congress, which was that they go f*ck themselves."

And, "the White House is adamant that its advisers retain the right, if they so choose, to lie.

Equally comic were it not so chilling was White House Press Secretary Tony Snow, the mouthpiece of the President, saying today that, "The Congress does have legitimate oversight responsibility for the Department of Justice. It created the Department of Justice. It does not have constitutional oversight responsibility over the White House."

Not only is Snow Constitutionally wrong, he's wrong in earlier statements that it is somehow unprecedented for Presidential aides to testify under oath. It's completely, uh, "precedented".

What's at stake here?

Aside from our Constitutional system of checks and balances, the ones the framers created out of fear that an Administration like that of George W. Bush might come to power, there's the links to the most powerful Republicans in Washington. As with the Valerie Plame covert C.I.A. agent outing, Karl Rove's fingerprints (and emails) are all over this one, and El Presidente shielded his so-called "brain" back then as well. But there's an extra connection as well.

It seems that now-disgraced GOP Rep. Randall "Duke" Cunningham, the man being nailed by U.S. Attorney Carol Lam when she was fired as one of the eight (the one for which the others were smokescreen?) received one of his bribes with money paid to the grafter by the Office of Vice President Dick Cheney.

Wow. It does lead one to ask, once all the doors are opened, if Congress is even successful in eventually opening all the doors, how big is this scandal?

Is this pretensions to dictatorship? Or just the start of the final season of a whole other show...

Crossposted to The Daily Reel.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Sanity Clause

CHICO: Hey, wait, wait. What does this say here, this thing here?

GROUCHO: Oh, that? Oh, that's the usual clause, that's in every contract. That just says, uh, it says, uh, if any of the parties participating in this contract are shown not to be in their right mind, the entire agreement is automatically nullified.

CHICO: Well, I don't know...

GROUCHO: It's all right. That's, that's in every contract. That's, that's what they call a sanity clause.

CHICO: Ha-ha-ha-ha-ha! You can't fool me. There ain't no Sanity Claus!

- The Marx Bros., A Night at the Opera (1935)

In the gloomy aftermath of El Presidente's loathsome bitch-slapping of America yesterday, one might get the feeling that there really isn't any "sanity claus" in Washington, D.C. Like, if this kind of rampant, out-and-out Executive Administration crime could happen twice in my lifetime, before I'm even 50, is there's something now fundamentally insane about whatever the institution of the Presidency has morphed into?

Well, if you're desperate for a breathe of sanity from a national leader, albeit one not currently elected, fill those lungs here.

While you can.

If, as seems likely from the advance word on their joint announcement tomorrow, Sen. John Edwards either ends or curtails appearances in his Presidential nomination campaign due to a recurrence of his wife's cancer, I gotta think there will be increased pressure, and justification, for the big man to enter the race.

In case you're wondering, here's his top 4 signs that we need to act now, and his top 10 recommendations for U.S. government action.

For completists.

After all, we're all in this together.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Bring It On

Welly, well, well.

On the fourth anniversary of his illegitimate war, the grizzled old crank celebrates by declaring war on Congress and our Constitution. His Royal Petulance has drawn the battle lines like a latter day Nixon, but just like Nixon he's going to end up with a very small constituency of wingnuts. After all, the fired Federal Prosecutors were Republicans. With these crooks in the White House, no honest public servant is safe.

Stay tough, Dems.


“The time for slippery explanations is over,” Mrs. Feinstein said Tuesday, after the Senate voted 94 to 2 to repeal the Patriot Act provision. “We don’t intend to stop now. We intend to flesh out who did what, when and why.”

"After telling a bunch of different stories about why they fired the U.S. Attorneys, the Bush administration is not entitled to the benefit of the doubt. Congress and the American people deserve a straight answer. If Karl Rove plans to tell the truth, he has nothing to fear from being under oath like any other witness."

A good start is that the Senate has already stripped the Attorney General's midnight-inserted-into-Patriot-Act powers to appoint Federal Prosecutors without Senate approval.

Now El Presidente is offering closed door, no transcript, no oath meetings with Congress.

What he wants is license to lie. Just like his press conference today, the crank can't open his goddamn mouth without lying. Nixon must be whirling in his grave.

Turns out there's another whole Watergate-like slant to this -- just like the infamous 18-minute gap in Nixon's tape recordings:

In DOJ documents that were publicly posted by the House Judiciary Committee, there is a gap from mid-November to early December in e-mails and other memos, which was a critical period as the White House and Justice Department reviewed, then approved, which U.S. attorneys would be fired while also developing a political and communications strategy for countering any fallout from the firings.

As Kos says,

Expect the phrases "constitutional crisis", "impeachment", and "inherent contempt" to start making the rounds.

This is it, folks, showtime. And if you want to know how arrogant these bastards are, check out Karl Rove in Kansas City today:

Besides his considerable security contingent, the chief executive was accompanied by Deputy Chief of Staff Karl Rove and Press Secretary Tony Snow.

A reporter approached Rove to ask him what he thought of rumors that former Missouri Sen. Jack Danforth could replace embattled Attorney General Alberto Gonzales. “How about you go over there and do your job,” Rove replied, pointed back to the media pool.

Here's a Hardball report that ties many of the pieces in this octopus-like criminal conspiracy together. It's hard to keep it all in your head at one time.

My biggest fear is that if we don't pressure our legislative leaders to press this all the way, if there are no thorough investigations or penalties no matter how hard El Presidente and his henchmen stonewall, the USA will end up rotted out from the inside with institutionalized corruption just like the USSR before their fall.

Impeachment of the Bush, Cheney, Rove and Gonzales would be a nice start.

But pretty soon, the only thing that'll satisfy our democracy may be jailtime.

Unhappy Anniversary

Not like Vietnam.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

The Doofus and the Crank

There's an old saw in politics (and elsewhere) that you can either be a rabbit or a hedgehog. A rabbit knows many things, but hops around with great frequency; the hedgehog knows only one thing...and sits on it.

Shorthand: Bill Clinton = Rabbit. George W. Bush = Hedgehog.

Back in the aftermath of the 9/11/2001 attacks on the U.S., some pundits and maybe even some of the population thought that El President might just be the hedgehog we needed at the time. However, it turns out to be a disastrous assessment. As Harold Meyerson wrote back in January, "Bush isn't merely a hedgehog who knows one thing rather than many things. He's a delusional hedgehog who knows one thing that isn't so."

I'd go further. Bush is, with his alternating smugness and peevishness, a classic crank, with all the loony yet abrasive cantankerous obstinacy that goes with that term. Not only will we celebrate his crank personality with the 4th Anniversary of the Iraq War on this coming Tuesday the 20th, we're afflicted with his "constituency of one" backing of doofus Attorney General Alberto Gonzales:
Republicans close to the White House tell CBS News chief White House correspondent Jim Axelrod that President Bush is in “his usual posture: pugnacious, that no one is going to tell him who to fire.”
Pugnacious is great in a smart, on-the-money guy. Especially a rabbit. In a smug, small man who thinks he's king as he fiddles over the fire of his own making, it's just crank.

I call Gonzales a "doofus" because it is now clear he's not a particularly clever henchman, not a mastermind of evil; he's just a loyal, ruthless hack, and one who has slid by on his liege's coattails and his own sliminess for way too long. He's just not very smart:
Recently, a trio of senators—Senate Judiciary Chairman Patrick Leahy; Arlen Specter, the senior Republican on the committee, and Democrat Charles Schumer—sat down with Gonzales in his wood-paneled conference room to discuss the firings of the U.S. attorneys. Gonzales was initially combative and defensive. "Why do I have to prove anything to you?" he demanded at one point, according to a source who was in the room but does not wish to be identified revealing a private conversation. He insisted that only poor performers had been fired. "Everyone was in the bottom tier," he said. "Everyone?" asked Schumer. What about David Iglesias of New Mexico? (The department's internal evaluations had given Iglesias glowing marks.) Gonzales hesitated. "I believe so," he said, but he seemed uncertain. As the meeting was breaking up, Gonzales suddenly switched tacks and seemed to want to be cooperative. "How can we make this better?" he asked. "What can we do?" According to this source, the attorney general seemed to some in the room to be genuinely befuddled.
Oh, and he's also stupid enough to perjure himself to Congress.
GONZALES: I would never, ever make a change in a United States attorney position for political reasons or if it would, in any way, jeopardize an ongoing serious investigation. I just would not do it.
Great, doof. Too bad about the emails:
Fired San Diego U.S. attorney Carol Lam notified the Justice Department that she intended to execute search warrants on a high-ranking CIA official as part of a corruption probe the day before a Justice Department official sent an e-mail that said Lam needed to be fired, U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein said Sunday.
Lam was investigating convicted bribe-taking GOP Representative Randall "Duke" Cunningham of San Diego, and it looked to take other Republican crooks in government down.

This links to a pattern of actions in the firings that Gonzales was stupid enough to execute under the guise of a loophole inserted at midnight into a bill. How likely is it now that this will eventually be uncovered as a criminal conspiracy hatched in the White House, whether or not we ever have proof of knowledge or involvement by the Crank-in-Chief himself?

Now Gonzales lamely attempts to apologize to all 93 U.S. Attorneys in a doofitious conference call. As if any of them will ever trust him again, which means how much of the People's Business will get properly handled over the next 22 months? In some ways, it's better to have Gonzo stuck in the job for awhile, getting slammed back by his intended fall guy, testifying weekly along with Rove & Co., grinding their various America-damaging plans to a halt while they finally jimmy the Crank and maybe even find a willing replacement.

Of course, what caliber of attorney would want to work directly for this particular President, after knowing what this vicious crank customarily orders his Attorney General to do?

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Fired Up

There's a layoff I got over the phone while I was visiting my in-laws in Florida, for a videogame development and licensing company pulling up stakes back in San Francisco. Earlier, when I was in Austin, TX in 1985 I had one of those, "You don't really seem to want to be here," conversations with one of the three partners at the ice cream parlor from which I was being fired by, I had to admit to myself, mutual consent.

The fact is that if you're young enough, getting fired is often the best thing that can ever happen to you. It all just depends on what you decide you want to do next, how much you put into getting it, and the market conditions at the time.

So many people I know got fired and got successful because of it. From a rinky-dink internally political foundation in NYC to the MacArthur Foundation. From an overextended special effects house to one managed successfully. From a division to a network. From a small money-management firm to a mammoth one.

This morning I got to enjoy a screening and q & a with Annabel Gurwitch and her funny, sympathetic independent film, Fired! Annabel is a talented actress, writer and now producer as well, and I am fortunate to know her as a friend through her husband and my old Albany buddy, Jeff Kahn, a talented television writer and essayist himself. The initiating incident of Fired! is her hiring and subsequent firing by Woody Allen, for a play he wrote and directed several years ago in New York. Annabel was, of course, thrilled to be chosen, all the deeper her humiliation, reenacted with an anonymous stand-in for Woody (shot mainly from the back) who couldn't have done a better impersonation. "You look retarded," Woody tells/told her. Smooth.

Annabel managed to turn her devastation into lemonade, and with her plucky screen presence explores the phenomenon of being fired through interviews with comedian friends like Tim Allen, Jeff Garlin, Anne Meara, David Cross, Sara Silverman -- lots of great stories about jobs before acting as well as getting fired from movies and TV shows -- as well as non-Hollywood explorations including firing counseling, Michigan auto worker layoffs, former Labor Secretary Robert Reich (under Clinton), and the White House chef fired by El Presidente W. himself when he came in.

While the movie is a proudly low-budget affair, it has some theatrical distribution in a few U.S. cities and nice slots coming up on Showtime. Annabel also wrote/edited a companion book collecting even more firing tales, including lots more creative Hollywood people who have battled inane jobs and jerkish managers, some even still. The DVD comes out in a few months, replete with extra footage.

If you've ever been laid off, downsized or simply shit-canned, you're going to forgive yourself a lot more after watching the movie. It moves briskly and opens up audience laughter with all the clever takes on man-against-"The Man" throughout. The style is in the vein of The Aristocrats, but the subject matter is a lot less inside. When you see Annabel interviewing the UAW union guys in Lansing, you certainly feel for them.

I'm guessing that at least 75% of American workers have been cut from a job sometime in their life, so none of us are alone, unless we just stayed in bed and never bothered looking for a job ever again. That's resonance for you.

And while I certainly know a tiny handful of people who have never left a positon except by their own choice...they just don't have the good stories.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Bushicide Blonde

Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA) rocked the House today with star witness outed C.I.A. covert agent Valerie Plame, who was smart, appealing, patriotic without waving it like a club and, most of all, clear.

While I helped to manage and run secret worldwide operations against this WMD target from CIA headquarters in Washington, I also traveled to foreign countries on secret missions to find vital intelligence.

I loved my career, because I love my country. I was proud of the serious responsibilities entrusted to me as a CIA covert operations officer. And I was dedicated to this work.

It was not common knowledge on the Georgetown cocktail circuit that everyone knew where I worked. But all of my efforts on behalf of the national security of the United States, all of my training, all the value of my years of service, were abruptly ended when my name and identity were exposed irresponsibly.

Meanwhile, with George W. Bush and his henchmen's constantly swirling, morphing, metastasizing lies I mean explanations for the Gonzalesgate Prosecutor Purge, the contrast couldn't be starker. Dumb, stomach-churning, traitorous and, emphatically, unclear.

Plame is catching up to them (Bush's big WMD lie in the State of the Union address that made the supposed case for attacking Iraq), the Purge is catching up to them, the stock market is catching up to them (and, unfortunately, all of us), the probe of Gonzales involvement with the illegal wiretap eavesdropping that Gonzo got Bush to shut down is catching up with them.

Bush must be impeached.

Let's face it, whatever their twisted oligarchical motives, he just never tells the truth. Our President lies for a living.

It's a disgrace among nations and a serious impediment to advancing our country, both internally and internationally. He even lied when he said, upon the first revelation of the Plame leak coming from the White House, that he was launching an investigation to track down the leaker.

He lied, lied, lied, and he needs to be impeached and removed from office, even if it's on the last day of his Presidency. I'll be patient, the wheel of justice, I understand. They just have to turn, eventually, one full revolution to forcing upon him, finally, just one iota of culpability for his bad works.

By the way, don't just take my word for it. Here's why, despite all the self-promotion and personality quirks, I'm a big fan of Donald Trump.

He agrees with me.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Red Rover

Sen. Charles "Chuck" Schumer (D-NY) takes it to the mat: the Prosecutor Purge scandal isn't going to stop with Attorney General Alberto Gonzales' resignation, it's going straight to the White House, via Karl Rove himself, caught red-handed in emails revealed today.

Schumer made the facts absolutely clear today:
"Now it's clear Karl Rove was involved. So statements from the White House press office and from others involved have proved to be false, false, false time after time after time."
That's right, new emails make it plain that the political purge orders originated in the White House, and came through the GOP campaign chief, Rove, these past seven years. Per Schumer:
"...The reason that it's so imperative for people to testify under oath is that every time the truth has come out, it proves the White House was not telling the truth in their previous statements."
In the words of the classic schoolyard game:

"Red Rover, Red Rover, send Karl right over." To Congress.

It turns out that in the midst of this whole purge conspiracy timeline, Bush also interceded at Gonzales' request to halt a Department of Justice inquiry into his involvement with the administration's warrantless domestic eavesdropping program:
President Bush's shutting down of the Justice Department probe was disclosed in July. However, it has not been previously reported that investigators were about to question at least two crucial witnesses and examine documents that might have shed light on Gonzales's role in authorizing and overseeing the eavesdropping program.
Okay, so it's Alberto, okay, so it's Karl. It's not exactly news, but we know it now for sure, no matter how furiously they'll spin. But a bigger question, a bigger fish, remains:

With all the obfuscations we've grown accustomed to clouding our vision of President George W. Bush's performance these past six and a quarter years...what has he really been doing with all his time?

Crossposted to The Daily Reel.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007


Don't be fooled by the man behind the curtain. This Prosecutor Purge story has legs.

Not only did Attorney General Alberto Gonzales botch his press appearance yesterday, not only is their plentiful email evidence that the firings were completely political and Gonzales, Bush et al have been positively lying in public and under oath, but too many high ranking Dems are declaring a significant stake in the investigation and Gonzales losing his job.

Sen. Charles Schumer has thrown down the gauntlet with his 5 devastating questions to which he's demanding Administration/Gonzales answers.

Sen. Diane Feinstein is right in there with him, heavy on the angle that the firings were really to get Federal Prosecutor Carol Lam off the disgraced Republican ex-Rep. Randall "Duke" Cunningham bribery and corruption case, along with Rep. Rahm Emanuel.

And Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy is spoiling for it:

"He can appear voluntarily if he wants," Leahy said of Rove in an interview with CNN Anchor Wolf Blitzer. "If he doesn't, I will subpoena him."

Leahy added, "The attorney general said, 'Well, there are some staff people or lower level people -- I am not sure whether I want to allow them to testify or not.' I said, 'Frankly, Mr. attorney general, it's not your decision, it's mine and the committee's.' We will have some subpoenas."
And you have both the Democratic and Republican Senators from Nevada (Harry Reid and John Ensign) against Alberto, with Reid giving Gonzales only a few more days in his job.

And, more spillover to the GOP side (what ultimately brought down Nixon -- bipartisan consensus against him, much harder in this GOPolarized days) with John Sununu of New Hampshire being the first Republican Senator to call for Gonzales' resignation.

I know Georgie Porgie will be loathe to lose one of his henchmen due to actual oversight, so I fully expect a fight replete with misdirection and smears, but if history is any judge the potential legs on this story are way too heavy for them not to name the sacrifice.


Tuesday, March 13, 2007

God Bless

Lord knows there's plenty to be angry and cynical about. Apparatchik Gonzales being the leading item of the moment. Roto gives him four days before resigning, down from four weeks prior to his finger-in-dyke press conference today. As the facts flood out, it becomes increasingly clear that this whole gang from the White House to Justice is, so obviously, crooked.

However, unlike one or two of my most cynical acquaintances, I actually have faith in the American people. Sure, they may be ill-informed about politics most places, but most folks are holding down a job or two and trying to hold the family or farm together, and not everyone has time to read political blogs after that.

The greatness of America, it seems to me, has always been our diversity. Sure, we've yet to see true diversity in the White House (although items like this make one think change could come sooner than later) and there are minglings of class and race issues that may not be untangled in my lifetime, but I try to maintain the sense that reasonable Americans of all different stripes can always get together on an individual level, away from the politicians and the hucksters, and find common ground.

No story better illustrates this belief in what is truly America's greatness, what sets us apart from all the other more homogeniously ethnic nations of the Earth, than this one from today's New York Times:

Ms. Higginsen, who runs a school for gospel singers in the brownstone, had organized this special family reunion to welcome to Harlem a newfound cousin she recently discovered through DNA testing.

And in walked the new cousin: a Missouri cattle rancher named Marion West, 76. It was Mr. West’s first visit to New York City, and he stood out partly because of his rancher outfit: black cowboy hat, shiny boots, string tie and a jacket advertising a feed company. But he also stood out because he was a white man greeted by a roomful of black New Yorkers embracing him as a long-lost member of their family.

Sure enough, his slave-owning, fightin' Confederate family progenerated a prominent African-American family in Harlem.

But in 21st Century America, the old rancher could not be more pleased at the revelation:
“Dear God, thank you for this beautiful night and this great family we got here,” he said in his heavy drawl. “My prayers have been answered. We just found the roots. It’s in the DNA.”

It's in the DNA. Have four more beautiful words ever been spoken? At a time when our entire Executive leadership is a house of lies, the irrefutable truth found in our very cells. Each and every one of us.

Rancher Marion West (hey, same effeminate guy first name as John Wayne's original) linked up their tests and made the initial contact:

She assumed he was white, and he assumed she was black, but neither said anything about it. He sent her a picture, and she sent him information on her gospel school and waited to hear back. She did: Mr. West invited her down for Thanksgiving.

“I thought, ‘Surely, he must be crazy,’ ” said Ms. Higginsen, who wound up going down in January with her 22-year-old daughter, Knoelle.

“As soon as Vy stepped off the plane, I could see in her face she was a West,” Mr. West said. He took her to the ranch and to the community college he helped open. Then he took her up a hill to the pine tree where he prays daily. They knelt and thanked God for each other.

Vy Higginsen returned the favor with what reads like an envious tour of Harlem from the inside, food, music, churchgoing. I urge you to check out the article if only for the photos you can enlarge from both the first and the second page. Did my heart good, bet it will for you, too. And what did Mr. West have to say to his newly discovered assembled family:

He brought laughter to the room when he spoke of cattle breeding.

“I’ve been breeding cattle all my life, and I’ll tell you, cross-breeding is better,” he said. “You mate the black angus with the other breeds, and you have better, healthier offspring.”

Mix it up, America. It's us at our best.

The President is Not a

The best remembered President Richard Nixon quote of all time is "People have got to know whether or not their President is a crook. Well, I'm not a crook."

I wonder if, lately, Attorney General Alberto Gonzales finds himself thinking about John Mitchell. Mitchell went from Nixon's campaign manager, to his Attorney General, to:
On February 21, 1975, Mitchell was found guilty of conspiracy, obstruction of justice, and perjury and sentenced to two and a half to eight years in prison for his role in the Watergate break-in and cover-up, which he dubbed the White House horrors.
This is the bombshell for El Presidente Bush's morning:

The White House suggested two years ago that the Justice Department fire all 93 U.S. attorneys, a proposal that eventually resulted in the dismissals of eight prosecutors last year, according to e-mails and internal documents that the administration will provide to Congress today.

The dismissals took place after President Bush told Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales in October that he had received complaints that some prosecutors had not energetically pursued voter-fraud investigations, according to a White House spokeswoman.

Bush knew.

The phrasing is to make it appear harmless. It is not. Read it again. President Bush told Gonzales to purge.

Schumer's going for blood, all the way, and makes a threat:
On Monday Congressional Democrats demanded more information from the White House about the ousters, calling on Mr. Rove to testify about any discussions he had had about federal prosecutors. Senator Charles E. Schumer, Democrat of New York, said he would seek a subpoena for Mr. Rove’s testimony if he did not appear voluntarily.
My bet is Rove will appear. Command performance. Like with Fitzgerald: For his skin. Out of jail.

Just in case you still don't get what this portends for starting down the path to impeachment, read how Josh Marshall lays out what is about to unfold:

Perhaps as telling, according to the new Times article, Kyle Sampson, Alberto Gonzales's Chief of Staff and the guy who was actually in charge of drawing up the list ... well, he resigned today.

Believe me, his boss won't long outlast him.

And one other tidbit -- Sampson had a partner in assembling the list: then-White House Counsel Harriet Miers.

Harriet recently resigned from the White House. Coincidence?

Marshall goes into the Republican canard that the Federal Prosecutors (most of them Republicans, by the way, just honest ones) were somehow being lax in going after "voter fraud." This from the Party that brought us Diebold electronic vote stealing machines. Writes Josh:
So this becomes a critical backdrop to understanding what happened in some of these cases. Why didn't the prosecutors pursue indictments when GOP operatives started yakking about voter fraud? Almost certainly because there just wasn't any evidence for it.
As I've often said, whatever you think the Bush/Cheney has been doing for the past six years and two months, it's much, much worse than most of us will allow ourselves to imagine:
As has happened so many times in the last six years, the maximal version of this story -- which seemed logical six weeks ago but which I couldn't get myself to believe -- turns out to be true. Indeed, it's worse. We now know that Gonzales, McNulty and Moschella each lied to Congress. We know that the purge was a plan that began at the White House -- and it was overseen by two of President Bush's closest lieutenants in Washington -- Miers and Gonzales. Sampson is the second resignation. There will certainly be more.

Let the games begin.

Saturday, March 10, 2007


The problem with trying to impeach Bush is that unlike Nixon, he's inoculated his self-destructiveness with belief. Tricky Dick ultimately drank his own hemlock of insecurity, boozing it up at the end just like DNA for loserdom. Bush, on the other hand, is a self-satisfied bully, not a self-pitier, and it will be a hell of a lot harder to bring him down. Same thing with Cheney -- unlike Nixon, their humanity is not their fatal flaw. In fact, it's exponentially harder to find.

So the hell with that, you hit one at a time. Convicting Libby is just a proof of a theorem, but now it's time to apply those laws to the others. Peel away his armor of fellow, lesser stakeholders. The ones who did his dirty work with calculation, because it was their own dirty work themselves. They own options, to pay off after eight years with fortunes from the very private sectors they advanced like jackals into the people's business.

Today The New York Times made their position -- "The Failed Attorney General" -- clear like a clarion to be read all around the world these 24 hours:

During the hearing on his nomination as attorney general, Alberto Gonzales said he understood the difference between the job he held — President Bush’s in-house lawyer — and the job he wanted, which was to represent all Americans as their chief law enforcement officer and a key defender of the Constitution. Two years later, it is obvious Mr. Gonzales does not have a clue about the difference.

He has never stopped being consigliere to Mr. Bush’s imperial presidency. If anyone, outside Mr. Bush’s rapidly shrinking circle of enablers, still had doubts about that, the events of last week should have erased them.

You can read it for the why, but here's the close:

We opposed Mr. Gonzales’s nomination as attorney general. His resume was weak, centered around producing legal briefs for Mr. Bush that assured him that the law said what he wanted it to say. More than anyone in the administration, except perhaps Vice President Dick Cheney, Mr. Gonzales symbolizes Mr. Bush’s disdain for the separation of powers, civil liberties and the rule of law.

On Thursday, Senator Arlen Specter, the senior Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee, hinted very obliquely that perhaps Mr. Gonzales’s time was up. We’re not going to be oblique. Mr. Bush should dismiss Mr. Gonzales and finally appoint an attorney general who will use the job to enforce the law and defend the Constitution.

"Attorney General" is a title that immediately confers upon its holder some measure of respect -- the highest law officer in the land, President excepted, and that along with his incredible ability to lie smoothly, smugly, under oath (much smoother but no less illegally than Scooter Libby) seems to have conferred some sort of bullshit gravitas unto this crony hack bagman. It seems that whenever Bush/Cheney asked him to bag a portion of federal law they didn't like, he brought it back to the White House from the GOP rubber stamp Congress in a plain brown wrapper.

So from Gonzales, finally, to Karl Rove, who by all reports narrowly escaped indictment in the CIA Outting Leak Affair de Plame:

Presidential advisor Karl Rove and at least one other member of the White House political team were urged by the New Mexico Republican party chairman to fire the state's U.S. attorney because of dissatisfaction in part with his failure to indict Democrats in a voter fraud investigation in the battleground election state.

In an interview Saturday with McClatchy Newspapers, Allen Weh, the party chairman, said he complained in 2005 about then-U.S. Attorney David Iglesias to a White House liaison who worked for Rove and asked that he be removed. Weh said he followed up with Rove personally in late 2006 during a visit to the White House.

"Is anything ever going to happen to that guy?" Weh said he asked Rove at a White House holiday event that month.

"He's gone," Rove said, according to Weh.

"He's gone." How Tony Soprano of you, Karl.

This is the path of corruption leading directly into the White House, as I'm sure subsequent revelations (from other skin-savers like Weh) will confirm.

So maybe two birds with one massive scandal. Gonzales forced to resign, Rove to follow after Congressional subpoena. Criminal conspiracy somewhere down the line, maybe tying into Libby, maybe tying into the war, maybe finally nailing Cheney. Depends how far the American public wants to go, and hard they fight for it. Because the forces against are still so vast.

And maybe this is the way, should events move quickly enough, to remove George W. Bush from power.

I know they've tried to inoculate him from impeachment with the moron savante strategy, but c'mon now, are you going to tell me El Presidente had no knowledge of the Valerie Plame smear or the sudden, wicked change of law to allow him to replace any U.S. attorney he wants without Congressional oversight?

Let's all just grow up and finally ask:

What did the President know, and when did he know it?

Friday, March 09, 2007

Showtime (Pt II)!

Monday night, a scant 96 hours ago, Nettertainment noted all the stuff hitting the fan this week, "with the possibilities for legal action against malfeasant Republicans."

Here's the list:
- Walter Reed Scandal Hearings
- Justice Department Political Purge Hearings
- Scooter Libby Trial Verdict Pending

In addition, are more bad times ahead for:

- Rightwing columnist who smeared homosexuals and John Edwards in one public utterance this past weekend poised to lose income?
- Bush's General Petraeus says the surge plan has only a 1-in-4 chance of success -- 25% and no Plan B?
Here's the developments since then:

- It was revealed that the Republican practice of privatizing government services rather than mere incompetence has made a lie of their "Support the Troops" mantra and turned the Walter Reed hospital into yet another Bush/Cheney Co. instigated shame of our nation.

- The Attorney General Alberto "Gonzales Eight" Prosecutor Purge turns out to be the one that will take Gonzales down, very possibly from office. Will he every be convicted of a crime and serve time like Nixon's Attorney General, John Mitchell? With the legislative fix having been dropped into a bill last year overnight, it's smelling more and more like criminal conspiracy, one that could easily reach into the White House.

A new scandal, with Gonzales' FBI now admittedly having committed crimes by overspying on American citizens, already does according to Glenn Greenwald.


- Edwards pulls out of planned Fox News staged Democratic candidate debate in Nevada, turns out to have been the absolute right decision as the event collapses under the naked partisan smears of the network chief. Edwards, a candidate I think opponents do themselves a disservice to underestimate, gets called a woman and only comes out looking stronger and stronger.

- The surge is revealed as code name for long term escalation.

Coming up for next week:

- Is it going to be a scandal that Bush/Cheney Co. is now outsourcing the drafting of new IRS rules to tax lawyers and accountants who create tax shelters and exploit loopholes for the very rich?

The Bush/Cheney Administration -- it's like one eight year-long slime bath.

Somebody, please, pass the soap!

Thursday, March 08, 2007

I Beg Your Pardon

Before anyone opens their mouth about a pardon, just answer one question: "Is it sometimes o.k. to lie to a Federal investigator, i.e. a Federal prosecutor or FBI agent?"

If you answered No, move on to "No Pardon".

If you answered Yes, then: "Who gets to decide when it's o.k. to lie while under Oath to a Federal investigator working to uncover the truth in an alleged crime?"

Do you?

Do I?

Do we let Dick Cheney be the one guy who decides for everyone?

Like a king?

Sam Seder breaks it down:
I think Libby is sort of like a gateway drug for Conservatives to truth. And if they accept the fact that Scooter Libby was convicted of these crimes, then they have to ask, well, why did he lie? Who was he protecting? Well, obviously we saw in the trial he was protecting Dick Cheney. And then the question becomes, why was Dick Cheney so obsessed with smearing Joe Wilson over these charges that he supposedly thought were real about yellowcake uranium.

So I think at the end of the day, it's a question of Conservatives; they just don't want to go down that road, because if they come to that conclusion that many Americans have, over 50% certainly of the country, that the Bush Administration lied us into the War in Iraq.
The bottom line is that sure, other guys should have been indicted as well, but their criminal conspiracy was successful enough that there was only sufficient evidence to prosecute the designated fall guy. Enough guilt for him. But any further investigation and prosecution is up to the new Democratic Congress.

Meet (my very own) Congressman, Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA).

Crossposted to The Daily Reel.

Illness and Antidote

The surge as presented by El Presidente Bush for himself and President Cheney to the country is, it turns out (surprise surprise), another lie:

When the Bush administration announced its troop buildup in January, it said it was sending 21,500 troops to Baghdad and Anbar Province. Since then, the Pentagon has said that as many as 7,000 additional support troops would also be deployed, including some 2,200 additional military police that General Petraeus had asked for to handle an anticipated increase in detainees. These increases would bring the total number of American troops in Iraq to around 160,000.

The country is getting antsy for a solution -- they voted in November and the Dems are on 2 months in Congress having a clear majority in the House and with barely a majority in the Senate -- and a couple friends of mine are starting to get annoyed with them.

However, they seem to have settled on a plan:

Democratic leaders in the U.S. House of Representatives have tentatively settled on a timetable and conditions for withdrawing U.S. troops from Iraq, which they hope to attach to a $100 billion Iraq war spending bill, senior lawmakers said on Wednesday.

It's sure to be derided from the Right, GOP Fox News driven noise machine, the kind that is so desperately trying to get national sentiment on the side of a Presidential pardon for convicted perjurer Scooter Libby. And it will be hell to try and get through the Senate, if the GOP decide to filibuster against it.

I promise not to do their work for them. If passed, this will be the first ever type of control put on these corporate criminals for their ruinous, lying, thieving war.

Let's give every sympathetic legislator in Congress the backing to pass it.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007


Scooter Libby is Guilty Guilty Guilty Guilty. Screw all the Republican/Fox spin to follow, this guy pejured himself to the F-fucking-B-I. Finally, a moment of justice after seven years of Bush/Cheney/Rove/Rumsfeld/GOP hell.

Joseph Wilson and his wife, covert CIA operative Valerie Plame, were smeared and outed by the corrupt Bush/Cheney regime. Let them all swing.

A few quick notes:

This is a blogger medium victory. All praise (is) shall go to firedoglake for making sense of the trial. Nettertainment covered them before.

Here's Federal Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald and the rest of his heroic A-Constitutional Team.

Here's Harry Reid trying to shame Bush out of pardoning Libby.

Here's Andrew Sullivan on impeaching Cheney.

Here's NYTimes readers with the right ideas.

Monday, March 05, 2007


I know some friends are chomping at the bit that the Dems haven't completely reversed the suicide course of the Bush/Cheney Presidency and years of GOP Congressional misrule in the scant two months since taking office. The Senate, in particular, is so close to a 50/50 split that the Dems are hamstrung, unable to insure any Presidential Veto override or beat back a filibuster.

However, a lot of stuff is hitting the fan right now, with the possibilities for legal action against malfeasant Republicans:

- Walter Reed Scandal Hearings
- Justice Department Political Purge Hearings
- Scooter Libby Trial Verdict Pending

In addition, are more bad times ahead for:

- Rightwing columnist who smeared homosexuals and John Edwards in one public utterance this past weekend poised to lose income?
- Bush's General Petraeus says the surge plan has only a 1-in-4 chance of success -- 25% and no Plan B?

What will their platform be in 2008 -- we suck at governing, so suck on that?

Sunday, March 04, 2007


Rep. John "Jack" Murtha (D-PA) is a highly decorated, 37-year Marine Corps veteran who remains close to the Armed Services, closer (it is said) than any other member of Congress. He was always considered a Conservative among Democrats -- until his turn against Bush/Cheney's Iraq War, inception to prolongation.

Then the Republican noise machine came out and branded him and his very reasonable plan for withdrawal "loony."

Well, after several days of Nettertainment linking to too much poison, it's refreshing to hear this very wise, very energetic and with-in Congressman speaking plain sense on getting out of the War.

The GOP news media and the supposed objective media that takes its cues from it are the filter. How nice to hear Jack in his own voice. It won't be easy, but it is encouraging.

Here's to a Happy Monday.

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Who's Got Integrity?

Here's former basketball star John Amaechi, the first NBA associated player to come out of the closet and author of recently released book, Man in the Middle. Hate talk at the high public level leads to violence against persons from the slurred group at the local level.

Here's Elizabeth Edwards responding by writing about hate words in the public discourse and offering those of us who are truly offended by the odious public speech yesterday a chance to get back at the evildoer in the way that will hurt the most -- contribute to the person she smeared.

And on the other hand, here's the mainstream media ignoring these fire-up the fascism words, with the leading political reporter from the news organ one might think most responsible, The New York Times, equivocating the evildoer to, of all people, Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-NY). Does reporter Adam Nagourney think they're functionally equivalent because they both have only X chromosomes? As one is elected and the other is not, as one spew death threats at U.S. judges and the other does not, as one merrily brandishes hate language and the other does not, what the hell does Nagourney get off?

Lastly, while campaign staffers for Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) and Former NYC Mayor Rudolph Giuliani were quite clear in their denunciations of the evildoer (perhaps glad to do so, considering her scathing comments about them in her endorsement of Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney for the Republican Presidential nomination), Mitt's campaign only offered the following weak sauce:
Kevin Madden, a spokesman for Mr. Romney, said: “It was an offensive remark. Governor Romney believes all people should be treated with dignity and respect.”
From hereon in, I call bullshit on any reporter who doesn't ask Former Governor Romney if he distances himself from the evildoer, will cut all ties, will reject her endorsement.

Romney wants to play with the big boys. Then act like a man.

Friday, March 02, 2007

The Face

This is the face of the 2008 Republican Party.

Not reason. Not ideology. Simple, scummy, hate speech. You know, Hitler style.

The fact that Former Gov. Mitt Romney has welcomed this endorsement, introduced this speaker, and did not immediately distance himself from this individual, says all you need to know about his character.

This will catch up to him, and this will burn him. He thinks he is enjoying momentum. He will be toast.

We've got an ideology of privatization that led to horrific abuses of the very troops that Party always claims to support more than the Democrats -- yes, a Halliburton-related crony deal that sold out our injured soldiers and vets.

We've got a U.S. Attorney General who appears caught in a lie to Congress regarding politically motivated firings of some of our best and most principled government attorneys, a scandal that now threatens to destroy the GOP Senator and the GOP Congresswoman who helped initiate it.

We've got a war out of control and everybody knows it, but somehow their Party still hasn't been held accountable.

I guess the best defense is a good offense. And a vicious, lowest common denominator, shameless appeal to the most brutal and repressed base instincts and fear, is the essential earmark of fascism.

Their face. I don't see any of them denying it. Certainly not Mitt.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Nothing But Id

When MSNBC's Glenn Beck spoke with US Weekly Editor Dina Sansing, he gave the viewing public, once again, T.M.I.

Beck managed to bungle a softball segment about some naively salacious photos of American Idol contestant Antonella Barba (and some falsely attributed to her) with an embarrassingly sexist and demeaning come-on to Sansing.

The propensity for Beck to let slip a surfeit of information has been noted before, back in November right after the election, when he was asked interviewee Congressman-Elect Keith Ellison (D-MN), "Sir, prove to me that you are not working with our enemies."

Okay, maybe Beck was representing for a certain fearful segment of the white male populace for whom Islam is a threat more than a religion. In a certain sense, the fear is as legitimate as the ignorance. And if such a question is on the mind of an as such legitimate portion of our society, maybe it's better to have someone asking it even if, or maybe especially if, that someone is Glenn Beck stumbling into it.

How else to clear the air and demystify American Islam? Expose the fear, then rationally assuage rather than stoke it through silence. There's an argument to be made that in his blunder and subsequent ridiculing, Beck was actually part of the solution.

Well, this one is a little harder to justify as sociology, more on the Freudian side, more a head-first slide than a slip:

BECK: Dina, let me tell you something. I don`t think you have to be famous. I think you just work in the average environment in America now, somebody would get a picture of you, and then it would be posted all around, and it will happen in your office.

SANSING: Possibly.

BECK: You don`t think so?

SANSING: Well, it depends. You know, it depends…

BECK: Dina, I`ve got some time and a camera. Why don`t you stop by? No? OK.

When you watch the clip, the "No, OK." part is the afterthought, the duck for cover, right after the most uncomfortable pause on any cable news channel yet this year. Sansing, to her unending credit, is struck speechless by Beck's utterance, and follows it up with a Beck-withering smile.

The pathology is available to see, unmediated. Beck's gazing down and away from the camera as he utters the revealing phrase, then looking back up at her for her reaction (stunned), and maybe suddenly realizing his horrific mistake, looks back down and away again, rushes to restart the conversation, having revealed his tortured adolescent moment.

It this the high school coward, all pimply and insecure, who mythologized about the pretty girl, maybe the popular one who worked on the yearbook (like one great big US annual), and built up an image, a frustration, a raw desire for this image without the ability to ever, realistically, attract her?

So at his one moment of contact, an actual conversation, his guard slips. Maybe he thinks he's attract her, but his idea of their cross-gender relationship is all based on an apparition of her he's built up in his head, and maybe deep down he knows it because his come-on isn't attractive at all. It comes out as resentment. It presumes she'll take off her clothes for him if he's forceful enough with his "camera."

As another guy who hadn't a clue about women in high school, I feel for Beck. It's always embarrassing when your desire pops out of your mouth at the absolute wrong time, in public.

Of course, in public in school might be half a dozen kids.

In public on CNN is a considerably larger, much more national and even international audience.

Oh where-oh-where will Glenn Beck's raging id next rear its clownish head?

Crossposted to The Daily Reel.