Monday, July 25, 2005

More Suckey Right-Wing Law Enforcement

Alberto Gonzales gave White House Chief of Staff Andrew Card a 12 hour heads-up before Gonzales formally notified the White House staff that they were required to preserve any materials connected to the investigation of the Plame leak.

Talk about a friendly form of "knock and announce."

No Wonder Bushies Hate Using "Law Enforcement" in the War On Terror ... They Suck at It!!!

Now we learn "the Justice Department blocked efforts by its prosecutors in Seattle in 2002 to bring criminal charges against Haroon Aswat."

There is now a worldwide manhunt underway for Mr. Aswat based on suspicion that he was involved in the London bombings.

Sunday, July 24, 2005

President Bush's Statement Regarding The Sentencing of Right-Wing Terrorist Eric Rudolph



Saturday, July 23, 2005

Yeah, But The Little Sneddons Will Eat Well for Decades

The Michal Jackson trial cost Santa Maria county $2.7 million.

Tom Sneddon will probably get something like that from his book deal and other activities related to the trial. So, at least, the county can rest easy that future Sneddons won't be much of a burden.

Friday, July 22, 2005

Ain't It a Bitch When ...

your alibi is contradicted by another direct witness.

Last week, we learned that, while Ari claimed to not have seen the INR memo, another witness on Air Force One states he saw Ari perusing the INR memo.

Today, we learn that Libby said he got Plame's name from Pumpkinhead Timmeh Russert, but Timmeh says, "No Way!!" ...

and ...

that Rove claims he got Plame's name from Novacula, but Novack gave the grand jury a somewhat different version. Indeed, remember Novack's initial comments about Plame's identity:

Novak, in an interview, said his sources had come to him with the information. "I didn't dig it out, it was given to me," he said. "They thought it was significant, they gave me the name and I used it."


MACSWAIN'S SELF-HELP TIP-O-THE-DAY: When, in your daily life, you are confronted with that god-awful predicament of whether to reveal a CIA agent's identity for political gain, as we all are, you can avoid the troubling problems that arise when others contradict your cover story by simply not revealing the agent's identity in the first place. Trust me. Follow this simple advice and it will all be O.K.

Yahoo Message Board: "Nancy Under Attack by Liberal Blogger Macswain"


UPDATE: Here's my favorite post (again from our funniest commenter "fanofgrace"):

Ohhhhhhhhhhhhhh I'm so mad at this Macswain person. Now he's
twisting my comments in his so-called "humor" section, and openly
parodying Nancy. Macswain's latest comment:

"It sounds like I'm being begged for more Nancy Grace parodies.

Here's another:

Nancy Grace: "Hellloooo!!! The police arrested the man. You know what
that means ... GUILTY!!! Hellllooo!!! The police don't arrest you if
your innocent!"

Im my dreams I see Macswain in the defendant's chair with Nancy
as prosecutor.....

In fact, it's more likely to be the other way around (with Nancy Grace sitting in the defendant's chair) given that it's not Macswain who plays "fast and loose" with the rules of ethics but ... uhm ... Nancy Grace.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Conservatives'll Put A Guy in the Electric Chair on Less Evidence Than Exists Against Rove

Consevatives on the internet are either ignoring the Rove story or playing dumb. Here's a brief primer of the circumstantial case that appears to exist against Rove.

The smoking gun is the INR memo that was prepared on June 10, 2003 shortly after Kristof's NYT piece criticizing Bush’s reliance on the African uranium evidence on the basis of info Kristof was receiving from an unnamed “former ambassador” (who was obviously Wilson). The INR memo's origin is based in the counterattack effort.

The memo is then supplemented and sent to Powell on Air Force One, a flight that left on July 7th, the day after Wilson’s open piece in the NYT. The info in the INR documents that refers to Plame can only be seen as providing info re a counterattack to Wilson’s piece in the NYT that ran on July 6th; THE DAY BEFORE AIR FORCE ONE SETS SAIL. A source on the plane, many believe Powell or someone associated with him, places the memo in Ari Fleischer’s hands. For those who have had their head buried in the sand for the last five years, it is important to understand that Fleischer reports directly to Rove and Rove is the guy in charge of the WH’s media message. The guy who would, in fact, be handling the White House's counter to Wilson's piece.

Again for those righties who are a bit slow, you should be aware that there are these new fangled things called phones that they actually have on Air Force One. In fact, as another commenter noted in a blog I visited today, AFO has a veritable Kinko's on board capable of sending faxes and all sorts of wonderful electronic communications. And you righties might be surprised to know that Fleischer & Rove coordinated the White House’s message every day and, indeed, they talked to each other numerous times throughout any given day.

Now you can believe Fleischer told Rove about the memo. A very reasonable conclusion given that Wilson was the talk of the day. Or you can believe Rove’s story that he learned of Plame through a media (W)horse with No Name. An incredible tale made all the worse by Rove’s initial false stories to McClellan and the FBI. Why the false stories if you did nothing wrong? In court, its called evidence of consciousness of guilt.

And why are all these guys (Rove, Bartlett, Fleischer, etc.) lawyered up? And why won’t their lawyers call Judith Miller’s lawyer and give her a direct, personal, unequivocal and unconditional release?

There is hope, righties. Maybe, you can wait for Rove’s third story or maybe his fourth to find the one you truly want to hang your hat on. There's no doubt he'll continue to spin (most often through anonymous sources, no doubt) right until the bitter end.

The Obligatory Roberts Post

I haven't posted on Bush's nomination of John Roberts to the Supreme Court because I didn't have anything overwhelmingly original to say about it.

Fester at the Unpaid Punditry Corps (a new must-read site which includes posts by both liberals and conservatives) did a good job gave voicing pragmatic liberal position regarding the nomination. I posted a comment there, which I will include here (with a couple minor edits), with my initial thoughts:

[Roberts'] confirmation is sewn-up mostly because Roberts has wisely established so many “friends” in the media. On NPR, Nina Tottenberg, Jeffrey Rosen of the New Republic and some right-winger discussed Roberts and it was clear all these people had friendly personal relationships with the guy. He’s in the club and, regardless of his beliefs and how they will effect the public for decades, that means, in Washington, he gets a pass.

But mark my words, this guy will be a lot closer to Scalia than Souter. He is getting in under the same wingnut bar Scalia snuck under two decades ago. It was Lino Graglia and the nomination of Rehnquist to CJ for Scalia and it is the likes of Luttig, Owen and Rogers Brown for Roberts.

BTW - You gotta love the sideshot video [UPDATE: CBS has apparently deep-sixed the video link. I'll try & find a new one] with Roberts' son doing what little boys do. The pained expression on Mrs. Roberts' face when Bush unobservantly fails to adjust his planned remarks for the early exit of Roberts' kids is priceless. Years from now we can all bow our heads in shame when we fully realize we failed to read the warning signals being given us from Roberts' own son.

Funniest Line of the Day

The aptly named "fanofgrace" commenting re the post below entitled "Will Nancy Grace Scream About Rove's Consciousness of Guilt?" busts out this gut buster:

If I were on one of Nancy's juries, and she said "fry," my only question would be "how hot?"

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

"S" is for ...

WaPo, A1

Looks like the lack of an explosion from the Dems over Roberts is paying off.

Ayatollah Khomeini Thanks the Great Satan

Billmon has a post up about Iraqi Prime Minister al-Jaafari's trip to Iran during which he visited Ayatollah Khomeini's grave and heaped praise on the deceased Islamic tyrant. [And yes ... the picture is photoshopped and borrowed from Billmon's site].

In related news, the New York Times has a piece on the draft Iraqi Constitution. Apparently, the draft Constitution acknowledges Sharia law that paves the way for institutionalized discrimination against women. I've previously posted about how Southern Iraq is slipping into a theocracy that discriminates against women. Can there be any real doubt that the Shiite coalition is intent on pushing their discriminatory beliefs upon all women in Iraq?

Moreover, we've learned this week, in a piece by Seymour Hersh, that the U.S. used covert operations in an effort to game the Iraqi elections. Indeed, the piece suggests that election fraud was much more widespread than has been acknowledged with the Kurds and religious Shiites (possibly with Iranian aid) also taking part. This strikes me as eerily similar to the games the Iranians play with their "elections." Worse, for us, it takes away our moral authority to criticize the Guardian Council in Iran and other countries' governments that claim the mantle of democracy while adhering to some manipulated and bastardized version of an election that denies the populace its true say in picking their leaders.

Is this really what we sent our soldiers to fight, die and be maimed for?

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Will Nancy Grace Scream About Rove's Consciousness of Guilt?

A critical fact in establishing the circumstantial case against Scott Peterson was evidence of his possible flight.

Another way of showing consciousness of guilt is evidence of a changing story or false alibis. With Rove, there's evidence not only that he lied to Scott McClellan about his role in the leak but it also seems there may be evidence he lied to the FBI.

Cut to Nancy Grace: "HELLLOOOO!!!! Why're you lyin' unless you did something wrong?"

Memo On Air Force One Was Marked As Sensitive

The Wall Street Journal (via Raw Storycontinues with another leak regarding the State Department Memo that was on Air Force One allegedly in the hands of Powell and Fleischer:

The paragraph in the memo discussing Ms. Wilson's involvement in her husband's trip is marked at the beginning with a letter designation in brackets to indicate the information shouldn't be shared, according to the person familiar with the memo. Such a designation would indicate to a reader that the information was sensitive. The memo, though, doesn't specifically describe Ms. Wilson as an undercover agent, the person familiar with the memo said.

OUTED!! The Beltway Press Corps' Misuse of Confidential Sources

Over at Kevin Drum's Washington Monthly site, guest blogger Michael Hiltzik turns in the must-read piece of the day regarding the role of reporters in the Rove-Plame Episode. Though you should read the whole piece, here's his concluding paragraph:

This episode is part and parcel of the debasement of the confidential source’s role in American journalism. Taking sources at their own level of self-interest is what has given us Whitewater, Wen Ho Lee, and Iraqi WMDs. In Washington, they’re used as social currency; when anonymous “senior administration officials” give their briefings, their identities are known to everyone in the system except the reader. It’s another expression of the elitism that has opened a yawning gap between the practitioners of journalism and the public. Even Hollywood is onto us now; this sign of the zeitgeist is only the beginning.

Sadly, this context was missing in action when Kevin Drum posted this last weekend about the pseudo-controversy at Time magazine. That all important context, however, would have taken away from Kevin's attempt to spin in favor of a broad (if-not-absolute) shield law for "journalists."

Monday, July 18, 2005

No Wonder Bush Is Trying to Move the Goalposts

New ABC Poll

Should Karl Rove Be Fired If He Leaked Classified Information?

Yes No
All 75% 15%
Republicans 71% 17%
Independents 74% 17%
Democrats 83% 12%

Sick Sack of the Day

Right-wing terrorist Eric Rudolph.

Maybe Colin Found A Phone

Billmon details the latest bit of info on the State Department memo about Joseph and Valerie Wilson that was aboard Air Force One.

An unnamed source that was on the plane puts the memo in Ari Fleischer's hands. OOUUCCHH!!!

And, of course, Ari would never have talked to Rove about this? Heh.

Rove's Waiver Games (Part V) - Josh Notes How Rove Did Not Intend to Give Cooper a Waiver

Josh Marshall weighs in on Rove's game of public declaring that he waived confidentiality but not really giving the reporters in question to find an actual waiver.

As I previously posted here, here and here, Cooper and Time misread Rove's public proclamations and both are now feeling the recriminations of having burned the "Architect" of the symbiotic relationship that exists between the right-wing smear machine and the mainstream media.

Bush Hates Leakers ... Not If Your One of His Own

Not surprisingly, Bush has backed down from his strong statements about despising leaks in Washington. The standard for punishing leakers that help him, even ones harming national security, has been shifted. There will be no investigations by this White House and you will only be held accountable if somehow an independent prosecutor gets through and you somehow get convicted under the highest of burdens of proof that apply to criminal prosecutions.

Simply put, Bush won't protect national security until after proof beyond a reasonable doubt.

What this shows is that there is no accountability from this President for wrongdoing so long as that wrongdoing benefits him. Political gain is more highly valued than national security.

The Right's Ward Churchill

Tom Tancredo.

The difference between the two is that Churchill's supporters on the left consist of three drunks and a dog while Tancredo's support on the Right is sufficient to place him in Congress.

Sunday, July 17, 2005

Ken Mehlman: Idiot Republican

Mehlman on CNN today: "The NAACP unfortunately in the 2000 campaign likened the president to James Byrd, who was a racist killer in east Texas, who the president brought to justice."

Was the racist, truck-dragging murder of a black man in Texas such a nonstory to Mehlman that he forgot that James Byrd was, in fact, the victim and not the murderer?

Mehlman owes the Byrd family an apology.

But then again, neither Mehlman nor Bush every really cared about Byrd nor his family, as this Salon piece from 2000 documents. That Mehlman would even attempt to spin Byrd's tragedy for political gain is sick.

Saturday, July 16, 2005

Where's Waldo? Colin Powell Edition

As we've learned, Colin Powell plays a huge role in the Plame/Rove controversy. He had the info re Joe & Valerie Wilson with him on Air Force One days before Rove discussed the matter with Novack and then Cooper.

So where's Powell? Coincidentally "out of the country" and apparently in a location unreachable by phone. Ha Ha Ha. Bushies always have a way of avoiding public questions at the most opportune times.

NOW THE BIG QUESTION FOR COLON: Why did he have the report, supposedly dated June 10th, with him on that flight? Given that it was mere days after Wilson's piece in the NYT, one can only surmise that he had it to dig up info on Wilson for a counterattack.

Cat Killer of the Day

How is this guy allowed to even be near a cat.

[Photoshoped picture jacked fom the General.]

A "(W)horse with No Name" ... Not!

Last night, the media, including the New York Times, was atwitter with Rove's spin piece ... the one in which he claimed he learned of PLame through a member of the media whom can no longer recall. Let's call it the "(W)horse with No Name" defense.

In the NYT tonight, Doug Jehl shows up to do some actual reporting from his State Department beat. He reveals the 200 lb. Gorilla in the closet (though those following the story closely are already aware of this). The Gorilla is a classified State Department Memo that details the facts that Joseph Wilson's wife is Valerie Wilson, that she works at the CIA and that she played a role in Wilson's trip to Niger. The memo is the Gorilla in the closet because it provides a simple, cogent and reasonable explanation as to where White House staffers (& maybe even the president himself) learned the classified info that was ultimately revealed by Novack in his July 14 article. Colin Powell, for reasons unstated but easy to adduce, took the memo with him, days after Wilson's NYT editorial appeared. He took the memo on Air Force One on the president's trip to Africa that set sail on July 7th.

Now you can either believe Rove's "(W)horse with No Name" defense or you can believe that Rove got the classified info from the State Dept memo that was with him mere days after Wilson's piece ran and mere days before the beans started spilling all over Washington.

I think the band America got it right ... you have to be suffering drug induced hallucinations to believe in the horse with no name.

Friday, July 15, 2005

Sick Sack of the Day

Twisted tales of the ultra-competitive.

An adult baseball coach paid one of his to purposefully injure an 8 year old mentally-disabled kid so that the coach's wouldn't have to put the disabled kid in a T-ball game.

Blame Boston!!!!

Delusion of the Day

Pataki for President.

As Eric Alterman reminds us ---"Remember, the liberal New York Times editorial page endorsed this deeply delusional conservative Republican governor for re-election over an extremely capable African-American."

Yeah ... and they continued proving their liberal cred by turning over their front page to Karl Rove today.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Loose Lips Sink Ships

Johnny America has a great breakdown on tonight's biggest story.

Last year, the Bushies blew the cover of an Al Qaeda mole in Pakistan. Now it appears the London bombers may have been tied into the Pakistani Al Qaeda ring, the investigation of which was compromised.

Free Advertising for Rove at the NY Times & AP

Both the New York Times and the Associated Press ride herd for Karl Rove printing an exculpatory factual spin from a single unnamed source. This isn't journalism. This is selling out to those who seek use of the media pulpit for pure propoganda.

Certainly the leaker is someone acting at Rove's behest ... so why do these "journalists" allow themselves to be used for such blatant spin?

And, of course, they completely miss the backstory. Bush said no comments should be made during the investigation. Yet, his surrogates have been on the airwaves and in print 24/7 in a ferocious attempt to affect public perceptions and bring pressure upon the prosecutor. Yet, these "journalists" who are witnessing this hypocrisy first hand do nothing call the President out.

Bush publicly decries commenting during an ongoing investigation and leaking in general, but he's only allowed to maintain this fake posture because the media actively participates in this ruse.

Feith: We Overemphasized the WMD aspect

No shit!

Waiver Games (Part IV): Questions for Rove's Lawyer

Is Judith Miller in jail for refusing to testify about converstaions with Karl Rove?

Have you contacted Judith Miller's attorney and provided him with a direct, personal, unequivocal and unconditional waiver of confidentiality?

Of course, Luskin will not do any interviews in which these questions have any chance of being publicly aired. Instead, he'll use compliant toadies, like Byron York, he either don't ask these obvious questions or don't report Luskin's nonanswers to such questions.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

A Classic

Heh heh.

It'd be inappropriate to comment during an ongoing investigation.

Heh heh.

And Karl doesn't have the time to write me any speaking points on this anyway given all the work he's doing on not having Luskin & Mehlman comment during the ongoing investigation.


Ken Mehlman: Republican & Liar

Josh Marshall gives the breakdown on how Ken Mehlman "slices & dices" a quote by Joseph Wilson in a false attempt at making Wilson say Cheney sent him to Niger.

With his obvious manipulation of Wilson's quote, Mehlman does prove his bona fides as a true sack of shit. When can we expect his next promotion up the Republican ladder?

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Rove: Destroy Cooper Now!!!

I've previously detailed the Waiver Game Rove was playing with Cooper (& probably Miller also) here and here.

Cooper misread Rove's public spin of having waived confidentiality to Rove's certain shock and anger. Now Cooper must pay.

The Battlecry has been sounded against Cooper with this bizarre piece in the NRO entitled Lawyer: Cooper "Burned" Karl Rove

It's no surprise that Byron Yorks steps up to do Rove's dirty work and it's no surprise that Drudge, another Rove toady, ran the battlecry headline on the top of his site today.

Make no mistake, the story is the headline - Cooper "Burned" Rove. The headline gives one the gut reaction that Cooper Burned Rove by revealing him as one of the Plame leakers. That's the message Rove is really sending. The cover story that Rove's despicable attorney Luskin gives in the body of the York's piece is laughable and, no doubt, pure feint. Rove wants the headline Cooper "Burned" Rove--- a headline meant to cut off Cooper from all sources or other right-wing largesse. A headline meant to warn others that there are repercussions to pay for going sideways on Rove. A headline that points Rove's media toadies to take up arms in a new crusade; one that pits Cooper as villain.

Rove's got Cooper in a Catch-22. If Cooper fights back, he becomes a participant in an open and ugly dispute with his own source. He no longer wears the cap of objective journalist but becomes an even bigger story than he already is. One certain to be remembered (and to be always villainized by the right) for this battle with their beloved icon every time someone reads a future piece with his byline.

If he doesn't respond and attempts to retain the mantle of a dispassionate journalist, Rove gets to falsely spin a story which at its heart has Cooper as a dishonest person. Cooper's credibility and integrity will be publicly smeared and, without opposition, the media will come to accept this as conventional wisdom.

Anatomy of A Right Wing Smear

It's important to remember that the art of personal destruction is a tactic widely used by the right and not just limited to Rove. In this instance, the crime was that of a Republican, Cuban-American who publicly voiced doubt about the embargo of Cuba.

Ann Bardach at Slate details the disgusting tale.

What Bardach doesn't say, and I will, is that the people who engage in the tactics she describes are acting against American values. They use taxpayer money and the intrusive tools meant for use against terrorists (FISA and/or The Patriot Act) to push a personal agenda and to stifle free speech.

Carl Cameron Once Again Proves Fox Is A Republican Propoganda Machine

Media matters has the breakdown on the disingenuous and misleading claim by Fox's chief political correspondent Carl Cameron that Bush never said he would fire the leaker in the Plame matter.

Monday, July 11, 2005

Prosecutor Insists White House Remain Silent ... Huh?

Amidst Scotty's pathetic presser this a.m., one bizarre fact has almost escaped scrutiny. McScotty claimed the Special Prosecutor asked the White House not to talk about the Plame matter. WTF??

You don't have to watch The First 48 to know good investigative work includes keeping your suspects and their associates talking. Yeah, they read them the right to remain silent, but they discourage them to invoke it.

McClellan's initial statements that Rove told him he was not involved in the leak is powerful evidence for attacking Rove's credibility and circumstantial evidence that Rove was covering up something he considered wrong.

No prosecutor in his right mind would cut off this pipeline of information and possible evidence. So are we to disbelieve Scotty? Or should we begin questioning the integrity of Fitzgerald's investigation? At present, I lean toward the former.

Laughing At The Times

Here's a headline from the New York Times: "DNC Fundraising Tops $28 So Far in 2005"

Ooooppps ... left out the word "million."

UPDATE: It's now been changed to "$28M"

Rove's Waiver Game (or How Cooper Got Dizzy)

I previously posted about when a Waiver is not a waiver with regard to a guy like Karl Rove.

Wow ... now it appears that Cooper misread Rove's public lies as "Game off!!!" when really Karl was all about "Game On!!!"

Sunday, July 10, 2005

So Far, Rove Is Only a Vindictive, Lying Son of a Bitch

As Kevin Drum points out, Cooper's notes don't, by themselves, show Rove gave up Plame's name or whether he knew she was undercover.

They do give important insight in to how a sack of shit like Rove operates.

Why Do Bush's African Aid Recipients Look Like American, Christian Conservatives?

Quantitatively, every president exceeds their predecessor's international aid commmitment. Typically, they start where their predeccessor left off and make small price indexing adjustments. Money being spent under Bush on Africa has increased beyond price indexing, but not because Bush has led on the issue. Instead, he has been pressured by the likes of Bono and Gordon Brown to do so. Nonetheless, Bush's promises always come up short. In his January 2003 State of the Union address, Bush received wide praise for offering an "emergency plan" to spend $15 billion ($10 billion of which was to be new funds) on AIDs over the next 5 years in Africa and the Carribean. Yet, it then took Bush more than a year and a half to get any of these "emergency" funds to Africa, it appears that some of the early funds were coming from shifting funds promised to other problems (e.g. malaria relief) and the overall plan is off-pace to meet full-funding (even though Congress interceded in year one to raise Bush's proposed $2 billion to $2.4 billion; a move Bush opposed).

Remaining on the quantitative side of things, the U.S.'s overall commitment to international aid remains dreadful under Bush. Of the 22 development assistance countries tracked by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, the U.S. has ranked at or near the bottom of development assistance, including AIDS relief, as a percentage of gross national income.

Yet, the larger problem with Bush's policies on African aid are qualatative. Bush is a world leader on Africa in one respect --- the giving of "phantom" aid. Phantom aid is "aid" diverted Aid for other purposes within bureaucratic aid systems, such as excess administration costs, double-counting aid as debt relief, tying aid to certain goods from the donor country, and failing to fulfill aid pledges. In a May 27, 2005 report, the Global Policy Forum estimated that 80% of U.S. spending is actually phantom aid.

An additional qualitative problem is the Bush administration's insistence on directing relief funds toward Bush's political supporters. As detailed in a Rolling Stone article by Geraldine Sealey in the June 16, 2005 issue, funding is being shifted away from the Global Fund to fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, a group widely recognized as being highly experienced and effective in the fight against disease in Africa. Instead, the Bush administration is focusing on abstinence-only programs and is discouraging condom promotion. Millions of dollars are being given to Christian organizations or other Bush cronies (typical Bush patronage) which have little experience fighting HIV and AIDS like FreshMinistries and the Childrens AIDS Fund.

The dangers posed by the shift from condom promotion to abstinence-only are certain to be devastating. As Sealey notes, Uganda is Africa's biggest success story having used condom promotion and sex education to cut its HIV rate from 15 percent of the population to 6 percent. Yet, with encouragement from the Bush administration, Uganda's Ministry of Education banned the promotion and distribution of condoms in public schools. The government has also recalled all state-supplied condoms and is impounding imported condoms. For its efforts, Uganda is being handsomely rewarded with $10 million being pumped into abstinence-only programs.

In summary, Bush only acts on African aid when pressured to do so, and then, the practice has been to make grand promises that garnish all sorts of praise but which are subsequently and quietly left unfulfilled. I remain disgusted by efforts on the right to use the London attacks to shift attention from the deaths of thousands and untold suffering happening on a massive scale in Africa and will not retract any of my prior criticism of Bush on this issue.

Friday, July 08, 2005

Where'd The Loot Go? Iraq Version

Here's a great breakdown of the massive financial scandals involving Iraq.

And Norm Coleman says, "Yawn."

Thigh Rubbing in Aruba with Joe Scarborough

The Incomparable Bob Somerby squashes Joe Scarborough's vile dump on African aid efforts. While the "rock stars" Scarborough demeans were raising funds and conciousness to ease the suffering and save the lives of thousands of Africans, Scarborough was using his platform for virtually nonstop coverage of the tragedy that has apparently befallen one white woman.

Yet, Scarborough seems to imply that it is the rock stars who are to blame for the London attacks. He says:

[R}ock stars replace grim Cassandras like Bush and Churchill as the prophets of pop culture. The results are almost always disastrous. And, today in London, they were deadly.

Are we truly to believe the rockstars focus on African aid somehow prevented Bush from enacting some plan that would have prevented in the London Attacks? Of course not, Scarborough's statements are those of a madman willing to look under every rock for political gain. A responsible network would fire him for such a hateful speech. But, of course, no one will expect the bottom dwelling millionaires who run MSNBC to lift a finger?

Bono & Bob Geldoff have and continue to save real human lives; every one of which is just as worthy as each one of ours. These noble men deserve our praise, and more, our assistance.

On the other hand, pukes, like Scarborough and Kilmeade, who are more interested in spining Bush and lining their pockets along the way, desrve nothing but scorn. They live in a world that devalues the millions of black Africans who are suffering and dying from preventable causes. To them, black Africa is a distraction when compared to the lives of "westerners" or even a single, beautiful, young white woman.

Is Jeb Bush Finally Done Mining Teri Schiavo's Demise?

The criminal investigation of Teri Schiavo's death has come up empty.

Will anybody in our so-called liberal media investigate Jeb Bush's exploitation of this issue for political gain? Will anyone ask how much right-wingers like Randall Terry and the Sheldons made off of this tragedy? Will anyone ask how much money came into The Terri Schindler-Schiavo Foundation at To my knowledge, it was never registered as a charity or even a non-profit, so who pocketed all the loot?

Thursday, July 07, 2005

Fox News Host Uses London Attacks to Denigrate Suffering in Africa & the Danger Posed By Global Warming

On the day of the London Terror Attacks, Fox News host Brian Kilmeade made the following despicable statement:

And he [British Prime Minister Tony Blair] made the statement, clearly shaken, but clearly determined. This is his second address in the last hour. First to the people of London, and now at the G8 summit, where their topic Number 1 --believe it or not-- was global warming, the second was African aid. And that was the first time since 9-11 when they should know, and they do know now, that terrorism should be Number 1. But it's important for them all to be together. I think that works to our advantage, in the Western world's advantage, for people to experience something like this together, just 500 miles from where the attacks have happened.

The statement is not only morally bereft because of its denigration of the danger posed by global warming and the mass death and suffering in Africa, it is disingenuos as a factual matter as well.

The G8 is not the institution best suited to have its sole or main focus being on the War on Terror. The G-8, of course, is not a military coalition nor an intelliegence alliance, it is an economic forum. Even so, it has taken action to come up with strategies to restrict sources of terrorist finance and has, just weeks ago, agreed to an unprecedented plan for the international community to pool terrorism research, computer material and possibly DNA and fingerprint samples. Ironically, a quick search of the FoxNews website yields no stories of the latest G8 efforts in the war on terror --- apparently it was not a top priority for Fox.

Further, the G8 does not have an ordered list of priorities and, more importantly, does not note its top prorities publicly. Even so, any person with even a scintilla of knowledge about the G8 knows neither global warming nor aid to Africa are the G8's top priority. Curbing international restrictions on the ability of multinational corporations to make profits is. Global warming and African aid are simply the issues getting the most public attention because they have been pushed out front for PR purposes. In this case, they receive the most attention because Tony Blair, the host of this year's conference, is highlighting his efforts in an attempt to redeem his sullied reputation.

So why did Kilmeade make the statement? Simply because its the Fox ethos to carry water and constantly spin for the Bush administration. As can be understood from reading this NYT piece, President Bush is exploiting the tragedy to get attention off of global warming (an issue which hurts him) and off Africa aid (an issue in which he is clearly a reluctant participant) and on to an issue upon which he polls best. The Times piece notes:

Although Mr. Blair left for London several hours later, Mr. Bush and the other leaders who had gathered here at the Gleneagles golf resort made a show of sticking more or less to their schedule of meetings and discussing their differences over how to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases.

But Mr. Bush and the American delegation were clearly focused on the terrorist threat. The American president left a meeting during the middle of the morning and, sitting outside his hotel suite, held a videoconference over a secure line with his national security team in Washington to discuss the possible threat to the United States.

His aides subsequently participated in hourly videoconferences with officials in Washington. During the day, Mr. Bush held informal conversations with some of his counterparts from other nations, and although his aides declined to be specific about what they talked about, they said it would have been natural for him to raise the issue of combating terrorism.

Kilmeade apparently got the memo.

As for Kilmeade's need of proximity as precursor for understanding an issue, maybe he should spend sometime in a burned Darfur village or amongst a brutalized community in Central Africa or in a hospital treating AIDs in South Africa before he takes his next dump on the Africa aid issue.

Mr. Kilmeade, how many Africans suffered preventable deaths today?

The London Attacks: “Whatever you do, however many you kill, you will fail."

That's from London's Mayor Ken Livingstone (via O Dub).

To quote a Londoner I heard on NPR this morning (this is from memory so it may not be exact): "No matter how deeply held your religious beliefs, killing people is not a step forward."

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Here are Lil Macswain's Doo-Dahs

BTW - I have a confession to make. My favorite version of Wild Horses is by The Sundays. I know ... Rolling Stones fans will find this sacrilegious.

The Bright Spot That Is Southern Iraq

The New York Times plays catch-up on the story of Southern Iraqs march toward a Shiite theocracy. But the NYT, it what is one of the more amusing attempts at giving two sides of the story, notes "There is an upside." Basra is a pretty safe place if you're willing to conform to a strict interpretation of Shiite Islam. After all, who needs a poster of Eminem, when you can have a poster of Ayatollah Khomeini with the words: "All the problems of Islam stem from colonialism and the Great Powers."

I'm sure the Mullahs and Shiite parties like God's Vengeance and Master of Martyrs are most thankful for our efforts on their behalf.

Of course, more good news is that the British aren't suffering the number of casualties we are and will be able to execute their planned draw down. Given the excellent track record Islamic theocracies have on standing up against terrorism, protecting women's rights and human rights and respecting other faiths like Judaism, Tony Blair must be quite proud of himself.

On an even lighter note, the NYT piece contained this nugget --- Iraq has a river called the "Shatt." Try & say that wiothout laughing.

Good News from Iraq

The kidney market is booming!!!

Death Knell for Gonzales?

Democrat Harry Reid, the Senate Minority Leader, called Alberto Gonzales a qualified candidate to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Macswain's Fourth of July

Starin' Down the Bull!

Sounds just like every other day for a liberal blogger.

Actually, Macswain, Mrs. Macswain and Lil Macswain go to the same event every Fourth. A morning parade followed by a rodeo. This year, as Lil Macswain is not quite 2 years old, we didn't stay for the rodeo but visited the bulls and horses back behind the rodeo (to Lil Macswain's great delight). He actually calls horses "doo-dahs"; you know, from the song Camptown Races.

Rovian Replaces Orwellian: When A Waiver Is Not A Waiver

The Washington Post has the latest on Patrick Fitzgerald's continuing efforts to get testimony from Cooper & Miller. Fitzgerald gets it right when he notes that Cooper & Miller's seek a broader right to protect confidentiality than afforded lawyers, the president and law enforcement officials. He states: "Journalists are not entitled to promise complete confidentiality -- no one in America is."

But what really caught my attention is that Fitzgerald is contending that Cooper's and Miller's source(s) have waived any right to confidentiality. So why aren't they talking? I suspect its because Rove is engaging in a bit of gamesmanship. He's telling the prosecutor that he's waiving confidentiality for publicity's sake, but he is not telling Cooper & Miller he is waiving confidentiality. Part of protecting a source is not giving the source up when he or she publicly denies being the source or engages in other deceptive conduct regarding the leak. Rove would certainly know this and would know that Cooper and Miller understand these rules as well.

Bill Israel also provides a great analysis as to why this is the case to which a privilege should not apply and why, in fact, applying a privilege here actually does damage to the First Amendment.

Finally, how in the world did the Post come up with this "woe is me" hand-wringing photo of Cooper? Is Cooper intentionally striking this pose? It strikes me as all too affected.

UPDATE ON 07/06/05: It appears the NYT has confirmed my suspicions regarding Rove's gamesmanship:

Mr. Cooper's decision to drop his refusal to testify followed discussions on Wednesday morning among lawyers representing Mr. Cooper and Karl Rove, the senior White House political adviser, according to a person who has been officially briefed on the case.

Mr. Fitzgerald was also involved in the discussions, the person said.

In his statement in court, Mr. Cooper did not name Mr. Rove as the source about whom he would now testify, but the person who was briefed on the case said that he was referring to Mr. Rove and that Mr. Cooper's decision came after behind-the-scenes maneuvering by his lawyers and others in the case.

Those discussions centered on whether a legal release signed by Mr. Rove last year was meant to apply specifically to Mr. Cooper, who by its terms would be released from any pledge of confidentiality he had made to Mr. Rove, the person said.

The Scylla and Charybidis

After thinking about it a bit, I figured I'd weigh in on the Supreme Court opening. While Bush has given lip service to some of the issues important to the religious right, anyone with a half of a brain cell understands this is "The Issue" for them. I believe that the religious right will not accept a moderate or even a "stealth" candidate and, if Bush needed any convincing of this, he is certainly getting it through the preemptive attacks against a nomination of Alberto Gonzales.

Democrats, on the other hand, will not accept a nomination of anyone conceivably in the mold of a Thomas, Rehnquist or Scalia as a replacement for O'Connor.

Bush's White House loves to float ideas through the media first and this may be why there is so much media discussion about a Gonzales nomination. But I'd be shocked if this is the route Bush actually takes; he owes to much to the religious right and they are standing up to finally cash their IOUs. My prognostication is that Bush will pick a Judge that meets the litmus tests imposed by the religious right and the Democrats will tie it up.

BTW - The title from this post was jacked from Sting ("Wrapped Around Your Finger") who jacked it from ... well, I don't know.

Why Do Conservatives Hate Hispanics

Remember when many of us liberals opposed Alberto Gonzales for Attorney General and were explicitly and implicitly called racists by some conservatives, including members of Congress.

Well, now some conservative groups have launcehed a preemptive strike against a nomination of Gonzales to the Supreme Court. Of course, the fakes and phonys who attacked liberal opposition to Gonzales as racist will not level the same obscene rhetorical attack against conservatives. It just amazes me sometimes as to how quickly the world turns to reveal how devoid of principles some people are.

And for those whose sole interpretative capacity is literalism ... the title of this post is intentionally sarcastic. Or wait ... to be clearer I mean "tongue-in-cheek." Or wait ... to be clearer yet ... the title is not true; its just a humorous device for pointing out an inconsistency.

Friday, July 01, 2005

Luther Vandross ... R.I.P.

Luther Vandross has passed ... sad news indeed.

My favorite Luther song is "Superstar/Until You Come Back to Me" and it will be played at high volume tonight in the Macswain house.

Uh Oh ... & We're Not Talking Iraq

Afghanistan Progress in Danger of Unraveling.

Friday Dog Blogging --- Macswain's Hounds