Monday, October 31, 2005

Like Charlie Brown

Judge Alito must certainly be feeling a bit like Charlie Brown as of late, last pick among the bunch. Third string, if you will. Here's a good point raised by one of the press at today's briefing:
Q Scott, on the subject of rude, my apologies for my unfortunate choice of words this morning to you, but I think the question bears asking again, and that is that the President said repeatedly when he nominated Harriet Miers that she is the best person for the job. Does that in any way indicate that while Sam Alito may be well-qualified for the Supreme Court, he is not, as was described of Harriet Miers, the best person?...

...Q -- why did the President think John Roberts and Harriet Miers were better choices than Judge Alito to replace Justice O'Connor?

MR. McCLELLAN: I don't think you can look at it that way. Judge Alito is someone that the President interviewed when Justice O'Connor announced that she was going to be retiring. He is someone they interviewed, he met with at length. The President has always been very impressed by Judge Alito because of what he said in his remarks about him today. And the President was pleased to nominate him to the bench.

Q He determined twice that there were people better than him. What --

MR. McCLELLAN: Well, again, I think you have to -- well, look back at what we said. Again, when he selected Harriet Miers, look at what he was looking for. And he felt that she was the best one to fill that vacancy based on what he thought was important to have on the Court at that time. But we all recognize now, very well, the culture of today's confirmation process. And --

Given that today is Halloween, it reminds me of one of my favorite Peanuts shows - involving the Great Pumpkin. All the kids are out trick-or-treating and after each house the examine eachother's booty. One after the other, the gang excitedly reports their treat but for Charlie Brown who, invariable says, "I got a rock." I wouldn't want to be Judge Alito today, yesterday, tomorrow, or the get the idea.

No Longer an Investigation

So, the Plame affair is no longer an "on-going investigation," but a legal procedure. Still, Scotty's still not going to talk about it. Enjoy this snappy and snippy exchange from today's Halloween press briefing:
Q Let me just follow up on an aspect of this and try it again here. On October 7, 2003, you were asked about a couple of the key players here, Karl Rove and Scooter Libby, as well as another administration official who has not figured in the investigation, so far as we know. And you said the following, "There are unsubstantiated accusations that are made, and that's exactly what happened in the case of these three individuals," including Rove and Libby. "They're good individuals, they're important members of our White House team, and that's why I spoke with them, so that I could come back to you and say that they were not involved." You were wrong then, weren't you?

MR. McCLELLAN: David, it's not a question of whether or not I'd like to talk more about this. I think I've indicated to you all that I'd be glad to talk about this once this process is complete, and I look forward to that opportunity. But, again, we have been directed by the White House Counsel's Office not to discuss this matter or respond to questions about it.

Q That was a public representation that was made to the American people.

MR. McCLELLAN: Hang on. We can have this conversation, but let me respond.

Q No, no, no, because it's such an artful dodge. Whether there's a question of legality --

MR. McCLELLAN: No, I disagree with you.

Q Whether there's a question of legality, we know for a fact that there was involvement. We know that Karl Rove, based on what he and his lawyer have said, did have a conversation about somebody who Patrick Fitzgerald said was a covert officer of the Central Intelligence Agency. We know that Scooter Libby also had conversations.

MR. McCLELLAN: I don't think that's accurate.

Q So aside from the question of legality here, you were wrong, weren't you?

MR. McCLELLAN: Again, David, if I were to get into commenting from this podium while this legal proceeding continues, I might be prejudicing the opportunity for there to be a fair and impartial trial. And I'm just not going to do that. I know very --

Q You speak for the President. Your credibility and his credibility is not on criminal trial. But it may very well be on trial with the American public, don't you agree?

MR. McCLELLAN: No, I'm very confident in the relationship that we have in this room, and the trust that has been established between us. This relationship --

Q See those cameras? It's not about us. It's about what the American people --

MR. McCLELLAN: This relationship is built on trust, and you know very well that I have worked hard to earn the trust of the people in this room, and I think I've earned it --

Q Is the President -- let me just follow up on one more thing.

MR. McCLELLAN: -- and I think I've earned it with the American people.

Q Does the President think that Karl Rove did anything wrong?

MR. McCLELLAN: Well, I think it would be good for you to allow me the opportunity to respond to your questions without jumping in. I'm glad to do that. I look forward to the opportunity --

Q I haven't heard a response.

MR. McCLELLAN: Well, no, I have been responding to you, David, and there's no need -- you're a good reporter, there's no need to be rude or disrespectful. We can have a conversation and respond to these questions, if you'll just give me the opportunity to respond. I'm glad to do that.

We need to let this legal process continue. The special counsel indicated the other day that it is ongoing. And that's what we're going to do from this White House. That's the policy that we have set for quite some time now.

Q In the year 2000, the President said the following: "In my administration, we will ask not only what is legal, but what is right; not just what the lawyers allow, but what the public deserves." Doesn't the American public deserve some answers from this President about the role of his Vice President in this story and what he knew and when he knew it, and how he feels about the conduct of his administration?

MR. McCLELLAN: The American people deserve a White House that is committed to doing their work. We are focused on the priorities of the American people. As the President indicated Friday, we've got a job to do, and we're going to do it. We're going to continue to focus on our efforts to protect the American people and to spread prosperity here at home. We're going to move forward on the Supreme Court nomination.

People in this White House fully understand what's expected of them. We are expected to focus on the people's business, first and foremost, and that's what we always do. We're also expected to adhere to the highest ethical standards. People understand that in this White House. That's what the President expects, and that's what the American people expect. And we've got a great team here, and we'll continue to adhere to those standards.

Perhaps this is why the Veep, yes, the Big Dick Cheney, appointed his legal counsel to replace Libby! He's going to need all the legal help he can muster (which many shares of his Halliburton stock aught supply a large legal team).

Cause for War

Ken over at Common Sense has another fantastic post he titles, "What's the Fighting Really about?" I found myself, once again, commenting and thinking the comment would make a fine post. So, here are a couple of teaser paragraphs to get you over to Ken's space (he is prolific, so slice some time out to read the original and others there):
Unfortunately, the information government’s offer for war justification (other than clear cut defensive reasons) is anything but clear and reasoned and often inconsistent with other governmental claims or policies. Shifting reasoning for military action is a sure sign that something is amiss, for if the fight is indeed a just and right cause, there should never be a change in the rationale for the war. Any change in rationale belies the fact that either the public was not told the truth initially, or that the real reasons for the war are in no way acceptable to the public. People may be willing to die for their freedom. They may be willing to die for someone else’s right to freedom. But how many are willing to die over a political sleight, or to enrich multinational corporations who always maximize their profits during wartime? How many are willing to die for half-truths or outright lies?

...The War on Terror began with some semblance of clarity, at least among the general public. We had a good idea who attacked us, where they were, and we went after them. With near unanimous support among the citizenry and around the world, our act of war in Afghanistan was as justified as war ever can be. Sadly, this conflict came at a time when the leadership in place had not the temerity to finish the initial task and end the conflict. Instead, the current crop of political leaders chose to deflect the momentum and turn their sights towards another foe, one that was despicable, but at best only tangentially connected with the other, ongoing war. Iraq presented a diplomatic problem, a humanitarian problem, and a political problem that threatened the reputation of the mighty U.S. of A. For reasons best described as greed, revenge, and control of resources, Iraq was portrayed as a player in the attack on the U.S. They were portrayed as an imminent military threat, not only eager but capable of sending heinous weapons to our shores. We now know that these rationales are false, were false, and will always be false. That Iraq was in need of a new form of government, for the benefit of its citizens and its neighbors, is of no real dispute. Tyrannies are never acceptable to those who love freedom and long for peace. But just as war in Afghanistan was fought for a declared purpose, and almost achieved its stated goal before ramping down efforts, the war in Iraq is just the opposite. The goal is ever changing, the reasons ever morphing, the evidence increasingly underwhelming and even fabricated. The truth is starting to show through, and the reasons offered aren’t holding up so well anymore.
Here's my comment. Let us know what you think by posting a comment here or over at Common Sense.
swinging our emotional psyche toward thinking maybe we are wrong for not supporting the war.

In essence, every time a politician stands up and suggest that we should continue to fight the war to validate and honor those who have already died suggest a disrespect beyond compare. Reprehensible, to say the least, suggesting that we continue to toss good lives at an illegitmate war [Iraq] seems - well, a bit insane, if you ask me.

Loss of Quality, it Seems

I don't see Alito as equivalent or even remotely close to the stature of Sandy D. Looks like the whole Miers thing was a diversionary ploy. Also, the Alito nomination looks like a smoke screen to cloud our judgement and thinking about the Plame affair. Nothing like a toxic SCOTUS nomination to gum up the works and divert attention from criminal proceedings.

At least Alito has a record by which we can see how he may rule in particular forthcoming cases. Is anyone buying this whole "legislating from the bench" gambit? Isn't the whole purpose of the Supreme Court to make difficult decisions that affect the rule of law and the execution of it's enforcement? What do they think we are, stupid?

Ultimately, the real reason W was trying to get his personal laywer, and now, a conservative person on the SCOTUS is to help him survive the legal whipping he is about to take from any civil suit the Wilson/Plame's file.
Legal experts are already debating whether the Wilsons have a case. These are some of the same legal experts who thought Paula Jones' case was going to get laughed out of court. Who knows, they might be right this time.

But the Wilsons' case will not end quickly, however it goes. Win or lose, there will be lots and lots of motions, depositions and days in court. The Jones case wound its way all the way up to the US Supreme Court, leaving a trail of embarrassing disclosures every inch of the way.

Soon after the Wilsons' case is filed, subpoenas will start arriving at the homes and/or offices of the President, Vice President, Rove, Libby, Tenet, Rumsfeld and others involved in the cooking of intelligence justifying the war. Sworn depositions will follow as images of Bill Clinton dancing a mocking jig in their heads.

That's why I say, the worst -- or best -- may be yet to come.

Sunday, October 30, 2005

Another Publicity Stunt

Condi attends Rosa Parks' funeral. Humm. Publicity stunt or disgrace? Certainly, she had no choice not to attend. She had to be there. Is she next in line to be Veep? It could go like this:
A - Libby = Prison - folds over on his chronies to shrink his sentence.

B - Official A = Rove = another indictment = another resignation.

C - Cheney = at the tip of the iceberg = resigns.

D - Ergo = W, in a bind, gives Condi a boost up to Veep.
The repubs have to be thinking this is the case, no? Are they scared yet?

Saturday, October 29, 2005

What's Next?

There are several affirming compenents revolving around the Libby/Plame affair, whether or not Libby et. al. are found guilty of the counts in any indictment. More palpably, it means at least the following for the U.S. Government and the people of the United States of America:

1 - It proves that no one is above the law, even top whitehouse officials.
2 - The system of checks and balances works.
3 - Truth matters, and bending the truth to justify a war is wholly inappropriate and illegal.

Saddly, what it means for the citizens of Iraq is quite different. Are we supposed to all breath a collective, "Whoops! We're sorry. Our bad. Can we have a do-over?" No doubt, the folks living in the middle east are hardy people and will make lemonade out of the lemons we gave them. I can't say that I would blame them and they have a right not to ever trust the good people of the USA every again.

Unfortunately, the W, Rove and Co will continue to justify the invasion despite the illegal reasons manufactured for going in, and some citizens will thank them for it (let's call them the W, Rove and Co Apologists). GIs continue to die for the W, Rove and Co. But why?

As Fitzy does his job, it is looking more and more likely that the justification to put our troops inside Iraq was egregiously and maliciously designed to trick the American people. The question turns toward, "what's next?" No doubt, we cannot know history before it happens, but this story will be one for the books.

The unraveling of the W, Rove and Co may very well lead to the downfall of the republican party as we know it. And like a phoenix, we will rise from these ashes a more powerful America. But lets hope it is not before those responsible are made to pay for their mistakes as we hold them responsible and accountable for delibrate actions that mislead us to where we are.
The biggest question of all is why the American people were misled about the reasons for provoking a war that continues to take an intolerable toll in lives and dollars -- and the credibility of the Bush White House.
Perhaps an even bigger question would be what was the real reason for the war on Iraq? But, I think we all know the answer to that one...

Friday, October 28, 2005

Wisdom from Tennessee

Got some half price tix to see Tennessee William's "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof" last eve. The play is fifty years old this year and never more salient. Here's a lesson that Mr. Williams might, should he rise from his grave, convey to the W, Rove and Co:
I think that deliberate, conscienceless mendacity, the acceptance of falsehood and hypocrisy, is the most dangerous of sins...I meant for the audience to discover how people erect false values by not facing what is true in their natures, by having to live a lie.

Long Odds

What is the probability that Libby will cut a deal with Fitzy for a plea deal to a lesser charge/sentence to bend the whitehouse over and screw them all by cooperating and spilling his guts open for all to see? Anyone taking the line on this?

Want to Talk to the Folks in Charge? Forgedaboudit

Meanwhile, the Vice President is sad as he is having a bad day. Yet, The Big Dick still insists on taking his ball and walking off the playground - refusing to talk about it:
Mr. Libby has informed me that he is resigning to fight the charges brought against him. I have accepted his decision with deep regret.

Scooter Libby is one of the most capable and talented individuals I have ever known. He has given many years of his life to public service and has served our nation tirelessly and with great distinction.

In our system of government an accused person is presumed innocent until a contrary finding is made by a jury after an opportunity to answer the charges and a full airing of the facts. Mr. Libby is entitled to that opportunity.

Because this is a pending legal proceeding, in fairness to all those involved, it would be inappropriate for me to comment on the charges or on any facts relating to the proceeding.

So, you remember when Scotty promised he would talk about it after the Grand Jury was finished? Don't hold your breath. There is no press briefing from today and it is past five o'clock in DC. Alternately, today the W,Rove and Co spectacle were busy ducking questions aboard Airforce One on the way to some PR Opportunity in Norfolk VA:

Q Will the President be prepared to talk once Mr. Fitzgerald has made his announcements?

MR. McCLELLAN: Let's see what the special prosecutor has to say, if he has something to say later today.

Q Were Mr. Rove and Mr. Libby in senior staff this morning?

MR. McCLELLAN: They were both at the White House this morning and participating in meetings.

Q But specifically in senior staff?

MR. McCLELLAN: Well, I think Karl left his house a little bit later than normal, so he was in a little bit later. And Scooter did come to senior staff.

Q Has Karl informed anybody at the White House that he's been informed that he is not to be indicted today, as his lawyer is telling others?

MR. McCLELLAN: All I know, Geoff, is that there's a lot of speculation and I don't have anything to add beyond that.

Q Karl, we understand, met late last night with the President. Was that -- can you tell us if that was about the pending indictments, or was this on a regular business matter?

MR. McCLELLAN: I saw that report and I'm not sure what they were referring to. If you have more information I'll be glad to check into it.

Q Is that typical that Karl talks with the President outside of normal business hours?

MR. McCLELLAN: Yes. He's Deputy Chief of Staff to the President. We don't have normal business hours at the White House. But again, I don't know what the Associated Press is referring to, that Geoff was bringing up. If you find out more, let me know and I'll check into it. Obviously, there are a lot of meetings that go on, on a lot of important priorities that we're focused on, and so --

...Q One more thing on Karl. If he were to escape an indictment today, but be told he is still in legal jeopardy, still under investigation, could he continue on in his capacity in that mode?

MR. McCLELLAN: I'm not going to get into what-ifs at this point. If, as is reported in the media, the special prosecutor has more to say today, then we'll be ready to talk after that.


The bumbling idiots in the whitehouse show more audaciousness in light of new indictments and more on the horizon. Scotty McMessage McClellan sticks his foot in it agian revealing the truth rather in the guise of obfuscation about the company line regarding Harriet Miers:
Q Scott, what's the President's reaction? And what does he do now?

MR. McCLELLAN: He is deeply disappointed in the process. He will move forward in a timely manner to name a new nominee, as he indicated in his letter -- or as indicated in his statement.

Q Would that be Miers? Would she maintain her role as the person to seek out --

MR. McCLELLAN: She is going to continue as White House Counsel, and as she indicates in her letter to the President, she looks forward to continuing to help him select people to the bench that have a conservative judicial philosophy, so I fully expect her to be involved, as she was before.

Q Is he also deeply disappointed in the way some of his own allies have treated her and him?

MR. McCLELLAN: We've always been focused on the Senate, not on the outside commentary or outside groups. Our focus has always been on the United States Senate. And it was the discussions that we had had, and the meetings that Harriet Miers had had with senators that led us to the belief that this was simply a conflict that could not be resolved.

Q You can't ignore what the Bill Kristols, the Charles Krauthammers, people who were supportive of him on so many other things have said about this. Has it had -- are you just calling this background noise, has it not had any effect on this?

MR. McCLELLAN: The focus was always on the Senate. And it was Harriet Miers that came to this decision. She made a courageous decision, and the President has only grown deeper in his admiration and respect for her during this process.

Q Did he talk about this with her at all before?


Q Did he talk about this at all --

MR. McCLELLAN: No, this was a decision that she came to.

Q He never -- it never came up?

MR. McCLELLAN: No, she was not asked to -- this was a decision she came to.

Q Why is he disappointed with the process --

MR. McCLELLAN: And I think it shows the type of person that she is. She is someone who is very selfless and wise, and she recognized that it was more important to protect this important separation of powers and principle than it was to move forward on her personal ambition.

Q Scott, why is the President disappointed with the process? Because it's inconceivable that you could put forward a nominee whose background and expertise in constitutional law you can't illuminate to the people who have to confirm her.

MR. McCLELLAN: Harriet Miers is an extraordinarily well-qualified individual. And the President reiterated that in his statement that you all now have. And there have been people who have not previously served on the Court that have been confirmed to the nation's highest court. They --

Q Right -- can look into their background.

So, they are not really dissapointed in themselves, but the process. Humm, talk about Chutzpah. I suppose they are going to be dissapointed in the Grand Jury Process that resulted in at least one indictment (Scooter - I'll resign now, but I'm innocent until proven guilty - Libby). Batter up and Fitzy's going to toss nothing but hard, fastball strikes.

Mr. Libby's story that he was at the tail end of a chain of phone calls, passing on from one reporter what he heard from another, was not true. It was false," the prosecutor said. "He was at the beginning of the chain of the phone calls, the first official to disclose this information outside the government to a reporter. And he lied about it afterward, under oath, repeatedly."
Just for kicks, you can view the indictment - and it is snazzy - a matter now of public record, start on page 11 for what he is alledge to have done:

...defendant herein (Libby), did knowingly and corruptly endeavor to influence, obstruct and impede the due adminnistration of justice, namely proceedings before Grand Jury 03-3, by misleading and deceiving the grand jury as to when, and the manner and means by which, Libby acquired and subsequently disclosed to the media information concering the employement of Valerie Wilson by the CIA...
If you ask me, Libby's Five Counts sounds substantially worse offense than recieving sexual gratification in the oval office from a willing intern - even if you are married. I still suggest that we exercise the portion of the Patriot Act that allows us to sequester Libby to a fine residence like Gitmo and keep him there indefinately, without trial, so he can no longer do any harm to these fine United States of America.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Bated Breath: A "Fitzmas" Contest

Every rumble from Fitzy is going to have journalists and bloggers at his/her keyboard with bated breath. Frothing is perhaps the best term I can think of to describe the blogisphere - Bloggers everywhere wait, media vultures starved to sink sharpened and sardonic talons into the affair akin to the Terry Schiavo, Katrina, Tsunami type tumult of blogposting. The only thing left is to figure out who may have the most intelligent post on the results.

So, rather than post the usual "I Told You So" statements lambasting reichwingers (or conversely smearing liberals) everywhere, what I'd like to do is have a little contests (no real reward, just bragging rights). After Fitzy makes the grand jury announcements and trots off for some well deserved rest, I want to know who has the most intelligent post regarding the outcome. It is not possible for me to read every blog there is, nor would I want to. What I want to know is, in your opinion, who has the most intelligent post. Here are the rules:
  1. The post must be intelligent
  2. It can't be your own (in other words this has to be another blogger, not just another one of your blogs - fess up, some bloggers out there have two, three or many more; as to why I don't know, but they do). In other words, you must nominate some one else's work.
  3. Slap a one or two sentence teaser quote in a comment below this post, and
  4. Be sure also place in the comment the URL link or provide a hot button so we can go see the full post for ourselves.
Thanks for playing and Blog on Y'all.

It's Begining To Look A Lot Like "Fitzmas."

The fever is catching. Many people are in a salubrious state wrought with antici...PATION (sorry, Mox:-). Bloggers around the globe are set to cream their shorts when the news leaks (ha, ha, pun intended). Fitzy has been extremely tight lipped - demonstrating exactly how to keep the trap shut unlike Kenny Starr who had looser lips than Linda Trip.

My bet is that Fitzy makes his announcements on Friday and has a nice laid back weekend in a personal retreat from the media spotlight. Moxie Grrrl has a post up for a day or so that has some nice commentary. Therein, I suggest an idea about how to actually save the U.S. Taxpayer some serious amounts of cash prosecuting these nut jobs:
... Oh, I just thought of a better option. Howzabout we let the justice system work magic by bypassing the usual due process in the name of the Patriot Act and send these folks down to Gitmo? Or, another option could be to enlist in the military to serve in a combat unit in Iraq? This would save the taxpayers a bundle of cash prosecuting the bastards, no?
The sad state of this whole situation is that our government is so rotten to the very core that we are becoming ecstatic about the possible demise of a reigning administration. How did it come to this? At least there is no armed coup d'etats, but really, the whole mess is an embarrassment - and in particular Republicans who voted for these nut jobs should give themselves some kind of self flagellation for voting for them.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

2000 - And No End to the Death

Have a look at this to refresh our thinking on what we are doing in Iraq. Originally on DailyKOS. I have asked this many times: At what number KIA does it become no longer worth it?

Torture: It's Good For America

I love Helen Thomas. Check out this line of query in today's press tailsmacking of McMessage McClellan:

Q You've already said the President is going to veto anything that would exempt us from torture. You have -- this White House demeans --

MR. McCLELLAN: No, that's not correct, that's --

Q -- you demean all Americans when you support torture. And your answer is so fuzzy --

MR. McCLELLAN: No, Helen, our answer is very clear, and that's flat-out wrong what you're suggesting, because this President has made it very clear what our policy is --

Q Didn't you say that he would veto any part of that legislation of defense spending?

MR. McCLELLAN: We did express our views on that legislation, but it is not the way you characterized it, because there are laws and treaty obligations that are on the books. We adhere to those laws and treaty obligations.

Q No, you don't. You are supporting torture.

MR. McCLELLAN: You are wrong. This is a -- the United States is a country that --

Q Is the story in the paper today wrong?

MR. McCLELLAN: -- believes in adhering to our laws and our values. And we do. And this President believes in abiding by our laws and our treaty obligations.

Q Why do we keep reading about torture then?

MR. McCLELLAN: Well, if you'll let me respond, I will. The President has made it very clear that he does not condone torture, nor would he ever authorize the use of torture --

Q Condone it, but does he allow it?

MR. McCLELLAN: -- and our policy is to comply with our laws and our treaty obligations. That's what we expect everyone to do. If there are ever instances of wrongdoing, we investigate and we follow through and hold people accountable.

Q That's not the point. He should --

MR. McCLELLAN: Sure it is.

Q -- come out flatly and say he was against torture.

MR. McCLELLAN: He has.

So, which is it Scotty? Does the President not condone, but allow torture? I am sure he does.

Trust and the Rediculous

Can anyone trust this administration? If so, how? Take a gander:
Q Scott, a couple of years ago, you told us that Scooter Libby and Karl Rove had nothing to do with the CIA leak. It appears that you may have gotten bad information before you made that statement. Now, today, we learn through extrapolation that when the Vice President said in September of 2003 that he didn't know who said Joe Wilson to Niger to investigate the claims that Iraq was trying to buy yellow cake, that he was not speaking the truth. My question is: Can we be confident that when we hear statements from the White House in public that they are truthful?

MR. McCLELLAN: I think you can because you know that our relationship is built on trust, and I have earned that trust with you all. As you pointed out, you pointed back to some past comments that I gave and I've talked to you about the assurances that I received on that.

In terms of the investigation, it is an ongoing investigation. The policy of this White House has been to carry out the direction of the President, which is to cooperate fully with the special prosecutor. That means not commenting on it publicly from here at the White House. There is a lot of speculation that is going on right now. There are many facts that are not known. The work of the special prosecutor continues, and we look forward to him successfully concluding his investigation.

Q But in terms of public trust, if it is true that Scooter Libby learned of Valerie Plame's identity from Vice President Cheney in June of 2003, would that not mean then that the Vice President made a false statement three months later when he said he didn't know who sent Wilson to Niger?

MR. McCLELLAN: I appreciate that. A couple of things. One, the question you bring up is relating to a matter that is under investigation. And secondly, as I pointed out, there is a great deal of speculation that is going on right now, and I would urge you not to engage in that speculation. But certainly, you are pursuing this story as you should. We will wait to see what the special prosecutor does and learn more about the facts at that point.

Q Are you not commenting on whether this report is accurate or not? Will you comment?

MR. McCLELLAN: No, I'm not going to comment because it's relating to an ongoing investigation; the story that you're referencing relates to an ongoing investigation.

Q Given the fact that the Vice President did say publicly in September of 2003 that he never knew about Joe Wilson or who sent him, as John points out, and now there appears to be information to contradict that, how do you explain that contradiction?

MR. McCLELLAN: Again, there's an ongoing investigation. There are many facts that are not known. I would encourage you not to engage in speculation. And on top of that, if there's any additional information that the Vice President's Office wants to provide you, you can direct questions there. But the policy of this White House has been not to comment on this investigation while it's ongoing. And it has been that way for some time.

Q Does that mean that if you had information that could help clear this up and perhaps make it look like something other than what it is, which is a contradiction, would you provide that, or would you hold that just because you don't want to --

MR. McCLELLAN: Well, I said -- I mean, if you want to ask any more from the Vice President's Office, you're welcome to do that, but --

Q Have you done that?

MR. McCLELLAN: -- our policy has been that this is an ongoing investigation, we're not going to comment on it. The special prosecutor is the one that has been gathering the facts related to it. But just because I'm not commenting on it doesn't mean you should read anything into that one way or the other.

Q Have you attempted to clarify it with the Vice President's Office?

MR. McCLELLAN: No, this is an ongoing investigation, and what the President directed us to do was to cooperate fully with the special prosecutor. And so, as part of doing that, we've been carrying out the President's direction from the White House. That means -- we're not doing that ourselves, the special prosecutor is doing that.

Q So that's, no, you have not sought clarification?

MR. McCLELLAN: So, no -- no.

Q Does Vice President always tell the truth to the American people?


Q The President then stands by the Vice President's account in September of --

MR. McCLELLAN: I think it's a -- frankly, I think it's a ridiculous question, Terry, because --

Q Well, no, we now have reports that there are documents that directly contradict the public statement of the Vice President of the United States.

MR. McCLELLAN: Reports. The Vice President, like the President, is a straightforward, plainspoken person.

Liars can lie aboubt being truthful and trustworthy can't they? Where does that leave you in your decision to trust the W, Rove and Co?

Meanwhile, Back in DC

The rhetoric is getting thick as people distance themselves from the W, Rove and Co. Here's a handful of really interesting sentences:
Scowcroft, a close friend of former president George H.W. Bush, revealed in interviews with the New Yorker a deep disdain for the administration's foreign policy, according to an article published this week. He said he had once considered Vice President Cheney "a good friend," but "Dick Cheney I don't know anymore."

..."The case that I saw for four-plus years was a case I have never seen in my studies of aberrations, bastardizations, perturbations, changes to the national security decision-making process," Lawrence B. Wilkerson, Powell's former chief of staff and longtime confidant, said in a speech last week. "What I saw was a cabal between the vice president of the United States, Richard Cheney, and the Secretary of Defense, Donald Rumsfeld, on critical issues that made decisions that the bureaucracy did not know were being made."

..."She says we're going to democratize Iraq, and I said, 'Condi, you're not going to democratize Iraq,' and she said, 'You know, you're just stuck in the old days,' and she comes back to this thing that we've tolerated an autocratic Middle East for fifty years and so on and so forth," he said. The article stated that with a "barely perceptible note of satisfaction," Scowcroft added: "But we've had fifty years of peace."

More Talk: "Spreading Freedom"

Is it me, or does anyone else gag when the president uses the phrase, "spreading freedom?" It might work to allow freedom to grow more organically than by use of force, no? Of course, the W, Rove and Co doesn't think so and cooked up numerous reasons to kill people in the name of "spreading freedom." While some are tricked into thinking this cause is noble, really the means don't seem to justify the end. Hell accepts all visitors: "You can check in any time you like..."
Bush's remarks were aimed at addressing criticism expected when the U.S. death toll in Iraq reaches the 2,000 milestone. It stood at 1,999 on Tuesday.

"This war will require more sacrifice, more time and more resolve," he said

Monday, October 24, 2005

The Front of the Bus Will Never Be the Same

Bon Voyage, Mrs. Parks. Bon Voyage. In the dictionary under courage, they should have a picture of Rosa Parks:
Mrs. Parks was 42 when she committed an act of defiance in 1955 that was to change the course of American history and earn her the title "mother of the civil rights movement."

..."At the time I was arrested I had no idea it would turn into this," Mrs. Parks said 30 years later. "It was just a day like any other day. The only thing that made it significant was that the masses of the people joined in."

When You Commit A Crime, Do You Get A Promotion or Fired If You Work For The President?

Any one taking bets on whether the perps get fired or a promotion? The whitehouse spokesmodel is not saying:
Q Scott, a question about the leak investigation. The President has said in the months past that he would dismiss anyone who was responsible for leaking classified information. He was pretty clear-cut on that point. What would he do, though, if there were other charges -- charges like perjury or obstruction of justice? Would any member of the White House staff who is accused of such charges be expected to resign immediately, or would they be summarily fired by the President?

MR. McCLELLAN: I'm not going to speculate about an ongoing investigation at this point. I don't want to pre-judge the outcome of it. The President has spoken to it previously. The investigation continues and --

Q Right, but can't you -- since he has spoken to it previously, which is why I knew you wouldn't comment about the investigation -- but he has spoken to that point rather clearly. And, yet, he's raised some questions about what he might do in other --

MR. McCLELLAN: No, it's an ongoing investigation at this point, and I don't want to comment on it any further. You heard from the President earlier today, indicate that as well. And to get into commenting on it --

Q So you won't clarify for the American people as a matter of policy whether a White House advisor who faces criminal charges should be immediately --

MR. McCLELLAN: Well, I think the President has stated his views, but I'm not going to speculate beyond that, because the investigation continues. Let's let that investigation continue; it is a serious matter. The President wants to get to the bottom of it, and we support the work of the special prosecutor and I expect he'll have more to say on it soon -- as you all expect, as well.

Q How does the President feel about some White House allies, including Senator Hutchison yesterday, essentially making the argument that should the special counsel bring charges that involve a cover-up -- obstruction of justice or perjury -- that those are, in effect, technicalities and aren't really worthy of all the effort and money spent on this investigation? MR.

McCLELLAN: I appreciate that, but asking me to comment would be speculating about an ongoing investigation -- I'm just not going to do that. Let's let --

Q Well, wait a minute --

MR. McCLELLAN: Well, no, the President was asked this question --

Q That's kind of a dodge, don't you think?

MR. McCLELLAN: No, the President was asked this question earlier today. What we want to do is continue to support the work of the special prosecutor. The best way to do that is not to get into commenting on it --

Q There are allies of this White House --

MR. McCLELLAN: -- or speculating about it.

Q -- who are beginning to go out there and effectively lay the groundwork to trash the special counsel. Does the President want to put a stop to that?

MR. McCLELLAN: Let's let the investigation continue and we'll see what the special prosecutor does.

Q He doesn't want to take an advantage of an opportunity to either say, you know what, we shouldn't speak that way, or, no, I endorse those views?

MR. McCLELLAN: The President made it clear that we're not going to have any further comment from the White House while the investigation continues.

Q But you'll let surrogates do it?

MR. McCLELLAN: No, I didn't say that. You said that.

...but Scotty, it's true, no? Oh, yeah. You don't answer questions you don't like.

Why Are We Killing Iraqis?

Another fantastic line of questions from Helen Thomas in a long awaited press conference with Scotty McMessage McClellan:
Go ahead, Helen.

Q You were going to make a statement, White House statement on the approach of the 2,000 Americans dead in Iraq at the earlier briefing, didn't you? At the gaggle?

MR. McCLELLAN: Do you have a question?

Q The question is, what is the feeling about that? And also, does the President approve now of finally telling how many Iraqis we killed?

MR. McCLELLAN: Well, a couple of things. One, we have lost over 2,200 men and women in uniform in Afghanistan and Iraq. There is no higher priority for the President of the United States than the safety and security of the American people. It is a responsibility he takes very seriously. No President wants to go to war. But four years ago, or just over four years ago, war was brought to our shores. This nation remains engaged in a global war on terrorism. It is a war against Islamic radicals who seek to spread their hateful and murderous ideology. Our men and women in uniform volunteered to defend the freedoms we hold so dearly. They are the ones who are on the front lines in this global struggle that we are engaged in. We mourn the loss of each and every one of our men and women in uniform who have made the ultimate sacrifice to make the world freer and more peaceful. We are forever grateful for their sacrifice, and we will always remember and honor what they have done. They have given their life in defense of freedom, and the best way to honor those who have made the ultimate sacrifice is to prevail in the war on terrorism. And that's --

Q And kill more people?

MR. McCLELLAN: -- and that's exactly what we will do. We will prepare --

Q The Iraqis did not attack us.

MR. McCLELLAN: Let me just finish my response. I appreciate that. We will prevail in the war on terrorism. Our men and women in uniform are doing an outstanding job in helping us to win this war. And the President made a decision after September 11th that we were going to wage a broad and comprehensive war on terrorism --

Q Against any country?

MR. McCLELLAN: We are taking the fight to the enemy to bring people to justice before they can carry out their attacks. We are also working to spread freedom and change the Middle East. We are no longer accepting the status quo in the Middle East. And one thing --

Q That's not your role, is it? What right do you have to do that?

MR. McCLELLAN: And one thing that Secretary Rice talked about was the significant -- in the Cabinet meeting -- was the significant change that we've seen in the Middle East over the last three to four years. We're seeing democracy take hold in Afghanistan. We're seeing democracy take hold in Iraq. The Iraqi people are showing through their courage and determination that they want to live in freedom. The Iraqi election commission just reported this weekend that some 63 percent of Iraqis showed up to vote; some 9.8 million people -- Q Do we expect sovereignty of nations?

MR. McCLELLAN: Let me finish, Helen. Our troops understand the importance of the mission. They are laying the foundation of peace for our children and grandchildren. We live in a dangerous world; the threats are real --

Q That's why you're killing Iraqis?

MR. McCLELLAN: -- and they are dangerous. But our men and women in uniform understand the enemy that we're up against, and they understand the stakes involved. We are forever grateful for their sacrifice; we're forever grateful for the sacrifice of the families of the fallen, as well. That's why the President visits with the families on a regular basis, to comfort them, console them, and to remind them of the importance of what their loved one sacrificed for.
For great questions, you get rhetoric and propaganda. Should Scotty be fired or would his replacement simply replicate the reprehensible conduct of a worn out administration.

Rotten at the Core

I don't know about you, but this coming election cycle I am anti-incumbent. 2006 should be about a wholesale find an replace to fix what is rotten in our government from the core out. I was commenting over at Moxie Grrl and had a reply to another person's comment that explains my postion:
In D.C. only concrete actions account for strong messages. When your government fails to help you after a hurricane, it hurts.

When the voters speak, particularly those not privy to large corporate pools of dollars to pay well shod lobbyists to speak for them, it's usually by voting. Unfortunately, particularly with this administration, they take a false majority and parley that into a "mandate from the people." And, the democrats are simply folding over - not a real spine among them. I would be happy to examine the record of anyone you suggest might be in possession of such a spine, but I think we may need to look for help outside the beltway to fix what's wrong with our system. It stinks from the inside out and the shit rains on the constituents.

In the end, a wholesale find and replace would be a strong message. Even better would be replacing all incumbents with strong, liberal and fiscally smart thinkers. I know they are hard to find, but they are out there - they have yet to present themselves.

Anyway, there may be one or two that need to stick around, but just by the fact that they are in there suggest that they like the system the way it is. The rot needs to be cleaned from the very dirty core, all the way to the nasty, failing and falling apart fringes. Like the mob, it's time for us to call in the governmental cleaners as there is nary a clean hand in this bloody mess.
When the time comes, I hope you all are with me to send a very strong message that will change the artificial mandate this administration has capitalized on and vote the bastards out.

Oh, What a Tangled Web

No child left behind is hemorrhaging. Should private companies be allowed to run amok in our public schools? Hell, let's just privatize the whole thing. That aught fix it. Right.

Did you know that your tax dollars are being used to pay for private tutors for some, but not all, students? I've said this many times, and above in my blog header - There is a dramatic difference between an equal opportunity for an education and an equal opportunity for an equal education.
It sounded simple enough: Help low-income students perform better in public schools deemed in need of improvement by giving them tutors. And let the federal government pick up the tab.

But what appeared to be an easy way to address a component of President Bush's No Child Left Behind Act has become anything but. The federal government, state education departments, local school systems and many of the 1,700 or so private education companies offering tutoring are battling over complex rules. Just who can tutor what, to whom -- and where?

...Critics have said that although the idea behind Supplemental Education Services is laudable, the Bush administration's rules are tilted in favor of the private sector."The Bush administration very much wants to encourage private [companies] to get involved in elementary and secondary public education," said Jack Jenning, director of the nonprofit Center on Education Policy, a Washington-based advocacy and research group. "They are finding any way they can to encourage federal money to be shifted to private companies . . . . Their whole bias is in favor of private companies and against school districts."

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Another Lesson For Georgie

"This I Remember" by Eleanor Roosevelt is actually a very interesting read. I'm enjoying it. She has a down to earth style. And she strikes me as a person who must have held warmth, brains, and talent, laced with a strong sense of humility. If alive today, I am almost certain she would disapprove of the behavior of the reigning inhabitants of the Whitehouse as well as many of the Congressional hoi pilloi. This from page 132:
Nothing we learn in this world is ever wasted and I have come to the conclusion that practically nothing we do ever stands by itself. If it is good, it will serve some good purpose in the future. If it is evil, it may haunt us and handicap our efforts in unimagined ways...

...Oh, yes, the human values were most rewarding, even if the financial returns to the government were not satisfactory [re: Social Security]...

...This was a truth that proved itself many times over during his presidency. Not only old friends, but with various other people he had frequent run-ins over the new theory that government had a responsibility to the people.

Saturday, October 22, 2005

Karen Hughes: Effective Expense of US Taxpayer Dollars?

Excuse me, but here's another example of GW's pals continuing to lie to the global population. Why is it that US Taxpayers are paying her salary?
Jakarta, Indonesia -- The Bush administration's envoy, Karen Hughes, visited Indonesia on Friday as part of her campaign to repair U.S. standing with the world's Muslims, and defended the invasion of Iraq by telling skeptical students that deposed President Saddam Hussein had gassed hundreds of thousands of his own people.

Her remark was an impassioned answer to familiar criticisms of U.S. policy raised by her audience at one of Indonesia's leading Islamic universities. But it was also wrong.
State Department officials later acknowledged that Hughes -- whom President Bush handpicked to set the record straight on U.S. policies in the Muslim world -- had misreported history.
If The Donald rather than The Dubbya were in charge, I am sure we would all hear the familiar refrain: "You're Fired!"

After Introducing the Experiment, Flat Results Mean What?

When conducting research using typical experimental design, scientists measure results by comparing the control and experimental groups. After the experimental events are introduced, one can discern if there is any difference between the two groups and make justifiable decisions as to whether the experiment is worth repeating.

When our Government introduces sweeping public policy, because such policy is usually pushed whole hog on the population, no control group remains. Instead, one has to use historical measures in a "before and after" style test for change. If there is no improvement over standard operating procedure, the only conclusion that could be reached is that there is a null effect.

That is, unless of course, the experiment is "no child left behind," which is a rather costly endeavor that was supposed to improve our schools. Is it worth replicating going forward? Certainly, the W, Rove and Co is going to desperately grasp at this policy as one of the very few "positive" initiatives started by their administration. Unfortunately for our children, the focus on testing is misplaced as a means to push the teaching of powerful, positive learning behavior.

Ask yourself this: When you needed to know how to do something you have never done before, how did you learn it? The time for curricular and infrastructure reform in our Nation's schools is becoming over ripe. Like the stale piece of fruit in your bowl, the fruit flies are flocking and the mold is starting to bloom. When "no child left behind" (which incidentally, the W, Rove and Co is going to be sued for stealing the moniker from a non-profit agency) produces no result, this signals a time to move on to something else.

The Editorial that spurred this post is posted in full below as it is rather short:
The Bush administration responded characteristically this week when it put a positive gloss on national math and reading scores that were actually dismal - and bad news for the school reform effort. Faced with charges that his signature reform, the No Child Left Behind Act, was failing, the president played up the minor positive results. He should have seized the moment to acknowledge the bad news and explain what it would take to make things right.

He should also, of course, have reminded the nation that as long as it fails to take school reform seriously, American children will fall further and further behind their peers abroad.

The fourth grade reading scores on this year's National Assessment of Educational Progress were basically flat compared with 2003, even though the states are supposed to be ramping up student achievement and narrowing the achievement gap between poor and wealthy students. Fourth graders' math performance was also a clear disappointment, at a time when the country hopes to catch up with the international competition in science.

Critics of No Child Left Behind were quick to pounce, arguing that student progress was more impressive, by some measures, before the law kicked in. The truth is less depressing, but still extremely daunting. No Child Left Behind has reached that perilous interim phase that all reforms must eventually pass through if they are to survive. It has reaped the easy gains that were achieved by merely paying more attention to the problem. The next level of progress will require deeper systemic change, especially in the realm of teacher quality.

Most states have avoided this core issue and simply opted for repackaging a deeply inadequate teacher corps. Real reform will require better teacher training and higher teacher qualifications, which will in turn mean cracking the whip on teachers' colleges that have basically ignored the standards movement. The federal government was supposed to confront this issue head-on, but has tiptoed around it for several years. This week's test scores are not the end of reform. But they could well spell the beginning of a downward spiral unless Congress, federal officials and the states all pull together to move the country out of this trough and onto higher ground. That will mean hard work and more money - and a direct confrontation with the politically explosive issue of teacher preparedness. Happy talk won't get it done.

Friday, October 21, 2005


Meanwhile, we are almost at two thousand GIs who can't vote in the next election because they are dead.

The U.S. death toll in Iraq: 1,992 and counting

Three U.S. Marines and a U.S. Army soldier were killed in Iraq Thursday, bringing the U.S. death toll for the war to 1,992. If U.S. troops continue to die at the pace they have so far this month, the American death toll in Iraq will reach 2,000 before the weekend is over.

As We Move Toward November

All eyes should be trained on Patrick Fitzgerald. Now, he has a web location. I'll be checking frequently it after bookmarking it on a tip from Crooks and Liars.

What's Happened to Scotty?

No press briefing texts for the past two days, I suffer from withdrawl. Has Scotty be dethroned as the W, Rove and Co. spokesmodel? Anyone seen him lately?

Looks like Fran Townsend filled in for some updates on the forthcoming huricane aimed at florida. Does anyone in Florida or the Gulf Coast Area feel safer given her talking points?
Q Fran, in the other part of his testimony, he said that there was a systemic failure at all levels of government. In what you've looked at so far, what you've heard from people so far, do you think that reaches to the White House and to the President?

MS. TOWNSEND: The answer is a bad information flow at all levels will result in less than good, solid decision-making [bold and italics added]. And I think it's too early for me to say, because I don't have a comprehensive chronology yet. We're building that and it's getting stronger every day. I want to see that. But the President has made perfectly clear, if there are mistakes, wherever they are and wherever the problems are, we're to identify them, regardless of where that leads us. And we will go wherever the facts lead us.

Q Just one follow-up, if you don't mind. You talked about not wanting to finger-point. But you have to point fingers at someone and some things and some -- in order to fix things. So why the disconnect?

MS. TOWNSEND: I don't think there is a disconnect. Here's how I -- I'm not suggesting -- you will find -- I'm reading lessons learned in other context to understand how people did it, and I've talked to the United States military, which is the agency of government that's got the most experience right now with lessons learned. The answer is, we will -- you do need a narrative of facts to emphasize particular points and particular weaknesses. And to that extent -- I didn't mean to suggest -- there will be facts we need to use and to point to, to explain what the problem is, and how a particular recommendation solves that problem. So I'm not -- I'm gathering facts because I need them to make -- it really underscores your point -- but what I'm saying to you is, I'm not going to -- I refuse to be dragged down into a blame game and a finger-pointing exercise. That's not my role. And frankly, what I need to be able to do is to identify the systemic and process and procedural problems that resulted in the failures.

Q Fran, you talked about lessons learned. You've got another hurricane right now hovering down around Yucatan, which will probably end up making a beeline for Florida. What are some of the lessons learned thus far that might have to be applied and might be very applicable to the hurricane when it hits Florida? How is FEMA going to handle that?

MS. TOWNSEND: Well, for the specific details of this, I would refer you to DHS. But let me talk a little bit about some examples of things we understand. We are deploying more communications gear, both through FEMA and DOD, down into the affected areas. We have NORTHCOM planners now stationed at FEMA Headquarters here in Washington, D.C. that we didn't have the last time, to make sure that the connection between the military and civilian authority, federal authority in this country is closer. We have -- we've got people downrange in Florida working with state and local officials who I would emphasize are in the lead. We are there in support. The Governor has made clear what assistance he needs or does not need, and so, based on Governor Bush's requirements, we are positioned to meet them more effectively and efficiently, based on what we did the last time.

Systematic Failure at All Levels of Government

The American population deserve a better goverment. Here's another article that points toward the obvious conclusion that we are in dire need for a regime change here at home - call me anti-incumbant in '06:
Mr. Bahamonde sent a series of messages as the hours and days passed, desperation growing. Most startling, he told the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee on Thursday, was that his supervisors in Washington did not seem to understand. In a series of e-mail messages in which he warned of worsening problems, he was told that the director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency needed time to eat dinner at a restaurant in Baton Rouge, La., and to have a television interview.

"It was sad, it was inhumane, it was heartbreaking, and it was so wrong," Mr. Bahamonde said of the conditions and the response. "There was a systematic failure at all levels of government to understand the magnitude of the situation[bold and italics added]."

Thursday, October 20, 2005

What's Wrong With This Picture?

Why do you suppose DeLay is smiling? I grabbed this pic from the following news post via Yahoo. Aparently, DeLay is smug enough to think he is going to get off scott free from this indictment. Perhaps we can come up with some snarky captions for this pic. I'll post my first stab at the first comment below. Give 'er a try and have some fun.

Usually Loyal, The Military Starts to Fight Back - Tired of Getting Screwed by Their Civilian Leadership

Here's an interesting article from the Financial Times (full text of Wilkerson's speech is is also available). I find it interesting that the usually loyal subjects in the military are finally speaking out about the dysfunction perpetrated by the W, Rove and Co.
Vice-President Dick Cheney and a handful of others had hijacked the government's foreign policy apparatus, deciding in secret to carry out policies that had left the US weaker and more isolated in the world, the top aide to former Secretary of State Colin Powell claimed on Wednesday.

In a scathing attack on the record of President George W. Bush, Colonel Lawrence Wilkerson, chief of staff to Mr Powell until last January, said: “What I saw was a cabal between the vice-president of the United States, Richard Cheney, and the secretary of defense, Donald Rumsfeld, on critical issues that made decisions that the bureaucracy did not know were being made.

“Now it is paying the consequences of making those decisions in secret, but far more telling to me is America is paying the consequences...”

“...If you're not prepared to stop the feuding elements in the bureaucracy as they carry out your decisions, you are courting disaster. And I would say that we have courted disaster in Iraq, in North Korea, in Iran.”

The comments, made at the New America Foundation, a Washington think-tank, were the harshest attack on the administration by a former senior official since criticisms by Richard Clarke, former White House terrorism czar, and Paul O'Neill, former Treasury secretary, early last year.

Mr Wilkerson said his decision to go public had led to a personal falling out with Mr Powell, whom he served for 16 years at the Pentagon and the State Department.“He's not happy with my speaking out because, and I admire this in him, he is the world's most loyal soldier."

Among his other charges:
■ The detainee abuse at Abu Ghraib and elsewhere was “a concrete example” of the decision-making problem, with the president and other top officials in effect giving the green light to soldiers to abuse detainees. “You don't have this kind of pervasive attitude out there unless you've condoned it.”

■ Condoleezza Rice, the former national security adviser and now secretary of state, was “part of the problem”. Instead of ensuring that Mr Bush received the best possible advice, “she would side with the president to build her intimacy with the president”.

■ The military, particularly the army and marine corps, is overstretched and demoralised. Officers, Mr Wilkerson claimed, “start voting with their feet, as they did in Vietnam. . . and all of a sudden your military begins to unravel”.

Mr Wilkerson said former president George H.W. Bush “one of the finest presidents we have ever had” understood how to make foreign policy work. In contrast, he said, his son was “not versed in international relations and not too much interested in them either”.

“There's a vast difference between the way George H.W. Bush dealt with major challenges, some of the greatest challenges at the end of the 20th century, and effected positive results in my view, and the way we conduct diplomacy today.”
If you ask me, any time there is a "cabal" within our government, it's time for a regiem change.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Reverse Robin Hood

More ironic, or more apropos, moronic decision making by the folks running our government today. As if you need more evidence to be anti-incumbent in the 2006 election cycle:
As soon as tomorrow morning, the House of Representatives will consider a Republican amendment to permanently slash funding for basic health care, nutrition and education services for the poor. The budget proposal already calls for $35 billion in cuts, but top Republicans want to push it up to $50 billion. Meanwhile, the same budget proposal calls for $70 billion in new tax breaks, largely for the wealthy.1 It's reverse Robin Hood politics—robbing the poor to pay back the rich.

"I Already Answered That;" Uh, No You Didn't Scotty!

Correct me if I am wrong, but Helen Thomas has another set of good questions that remains unanswered even though Scotty McMessage McClellan said he gave one:
Q Scott, did the President talk to Karl Rove two years ago about the leak?

MR. McCLELLAN: Steve, I appreciate the question. That's a question relating to an ongoing investigation, and I'm just not going to have further comment while that investigation is underway.

Q Because The New York Daily News says the President rebuked Rove two years ago.

MR. McCLELLAN: There are a lot of news reports out there and I've seen a lot of conflicting news reports, and we're just not going to comment any further on an ongoing investigation.

Q It behooves you to.

MR. McCLELLAN: Well, there's a special prosecutor doing his work, Helen, and we want him to come to a successful conclusion. And that's what we're doing, is cooperating --

Q This is a question that directly affects the President, and --

MR. McCLELLAN: -- cooperating with the ongoing investigation.

Q -- you should say it's true, or not true.

MR. McCLELLAN: As you have known for sometime now, we've been saying that while this is an ongoing investigation what we're going to do from the White House is cooperate fully with that investigation and let the special prosecutor do his work. We're not going to speculate or prejudge the outcome.

Q We're not asking you to speculate. We're asking you, is this report true or not.

MR. McCLELLAN: And I've already answered that.
I love Helen's last statement - Of course, these folks are half way down the road to hell in a handbasket, yet they still refuse to answer many salient questions. Goes to state of mind of the W, Rove and Co if you ask me.

Rock and Roll, Coochie Coo

Well, I wouldn't mind being "like a fly on the wall" (bonus points to the person who can name the U2 song this lyric comes from) for the W, Bono tete-a-tete today. I wish that Bono would give him an earful given his prior ties to Amnesty International, but I doubt he will. Nice that Irish citizens can bend the ear of the President over lunch. I wonder who footed the bill for that? US Taxpayers?
A couple of other updates on the President's schedule. The President right now is having lunch over in the residence with Bono. As you are aware, Bono is in town for some concerts. This meeting with Bono follows up on their discussion at Gleneagles during the G8 summit that took place in Scotland. They have a very good discussion at the G8 about our common priorities. Both share a deep commitment to combating AIDS, preventing malaria, and expanding trade to lift people out of poverty, particularly in developing countries. And Bono is scheduled to be meeting with Steve Hadley, as well, today -- our National Security Advisor -- to talk about some of those issues, too...

...Q Scott, two questions. This is a serious one. Since you raised Bono, is there --

MR. McCLELLAN: Those were serious, too.

Q But this is serious about Bono. Is there a possibility he might be given a position in the administration? He's a big name.

MR. McCLELLAN: I haven't heard that. I think he's enjoying the career that he has right now and doing all the good work that he does on behalf of people who are suffering in developing countries.

Q But is he considered an advisor or supporter of the administration?

MR. McCLELLAN: He's someone who has a lot of influence and is committed to helping people who are in need, and lifting people out of poverty, and helping those who are suffering from AIDS. And those are priorities that the President shares. And so they've had some discussions over the last few years, and we appreciate the opportunity to visit with him.
Humm...I don't quite know what to make of Bono at this point. Was he giving W hell or was he kissing ass (or I should type "arse" given his nationality). Any thoughts in the blogoshiphere about this meeting? Please comment below.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Actually Scott, You are Wrong.

If you believe the current adminstration's spokesmodel, there is no room for interpretation of the Constitution within the context of the rule of law that ends in "new" law. Take a look:
Q Why is it that most judges who have the personal view that abortion ought to be legal end up finding in the law that it should be legal, and most judges who have personal views, religious or otherwise, that it's wrong, and shouldn't be legal, end up finding in the law that it's illegal?

MR. McCLELLAN: I don't know which specific instance you're referring to. I mean, I haven't done that kind of analysis myself. But I know what the American people want. The American people want judges that are going to interpret our Constitution and our laws and not make law from the bench. That's what the role of a judge is. The role of a judge is to look at the facts and look at the law and then apply the law. And Harriet Miers is someone who recognizes that ideology and religion have no role to play when you're making decisions on the bench. That's what the American people expect in a Supreme Court nominee or any judicial nominee.
In fact, Scotty is wrong here. The true purpose of the Supreme Court is overt. Indeed, it is to make difficult rulings on complicated cases while interpreting the constitution amid the existing rule of law. Here's a quote from their own documentation:
The complex role of the Supreme Court in this system derives from its authority to invalidate legislation or executive actions which, in the Court's considered judgment, conflict with the Constitution. This power of "judicial review" has given the Court crucial responsiblity in assuring individual rights, as well as maintaining a "living Constitution" whose broad provisions are continually applied to complicated new situations."

"To Move Forward on a Free and Peaceful Future" - Sub Title: More Tragedy in Iraq

Helen Thomas always brings up the hard questions that befuddle Scotty. I love her:
Q Dispatches from Iraq said that yesterday we killed 70 people in Iraq, near Ramadi, including 18 children. I want to know what the President thinks of that.

MR. McCLELLAN: Well, first of all, I think you need to talk to the military, because the military --

Q No, I'm talking here.

MR. McCLELLAN: Yes, and as I'm responding to you, the military has said otherwise at this point. Now, the military has review mechanisms in place and when there are questions raised, they look into those matters, and so that's something that, obviously, they will look into. But, beyond that, you'd have to talk to the military about where that stands. Now --

Q Eighteen children --

MR. McCLELLAN: -- in terms of our United States military, our military goes out of the way not to target --

Q Why were 18 children killed?

MR. McCLELLAN: Our military goes out of the way not to target innocent civilians.

Q I'm not saying they were targeted --

MR. McCLELLAN: Our military goes out of the way to target the enemy, and to --

Q Why did they say 18 children?

MR. McCLELLAN: -- bring to justice the terrorists and those who are seeking to prevent democracy from taking hold, through violent means, to justice. And that's what our military does. And they do --

Q Seventy people were killed by an air strike.

MR. McCLELLAN: Helen, please let me respond, because I think it's important to point this out when you're bringing up a question like this. We fully support our men and women in uniform. They're doing an outstanding job to defend our freedoms and to help the Iraqi people move forward on a free --

Q I'm not saying -- I'm saying why did they kill 70 people?

MR. McCLELLAN: -- to move forward on a free and peaceful future. I think everybody in this room would like me to have the opportunity to be able to talk to you about this question. And you're assuming things that people have different recollections about right now, or have characterized very differently. And that's why I said the military has review mechanisms in place, when situations like this arise, and they look into those matters. That's why you need to talk to the military, to see where that stands.

Q Are the figures wrong in all the newspapers?

MR. McCLELLAN: The military is looking into the matter, Helen. I don't have any more information at this point.

Q If I could follow on Helen's question, though. Whatever the facts of this particular situation are, war is an inexact business, and children do get killed. And what I think she's asking is for a response from the President about children who may have been killed as a result of American action.

MR. McCLELLAN: Look, I don't want to assume, because this is an incident that's being looked into.

Q I'm not assuming. I'm not assuming.

MR. McCLELLAN: And I want to also make the point -- and I think you can go back and look at this -- yes, war is always the last resort. It's not something that's pleasant. But it is a decision that sometimes the Commander-in-Chief has to make in order to protect the American people. And he made the decision that we were going to go on the offensive in this global war on terrorism that we're engaged in, and that's exactly what we're doing, and that we're going to work to spread freedom and democracy in a part of the world that is in need of hope. And you have to recognize the struggle that we're engaged in.

And there are people in Iraq, terrorists, who recognized how high the stakes are, and they're seeking to do everything they can to stop the democratic process from advancing. And there are attacks carried out on some of our troops. And when those attacks are carried out on our troops, you have others that respond to that. And we appreciate all that our men and women in uniform are doing when it comes to defending our freedoms abroad.

Now, in terms of any innocent people being killed, we mourn the loss of any innocent life that is lost. We have seen that the terrorists have no regard for innocent human life. That's the difference between the enemy and between those in the civilized world who are committed to spreading freedom and peace. We target the enemy; they target innocent civilians. And there's a stark contrast in how we go about waging this war on terrorism. They carry out cowardly acts against innocent civilians. We go after those who seek to do harm to those innocent civilians.
Excuse me, but what's the fucking difference?

Personal v. Judicial Philosophy

Is it me, or am I the only one who thinks the reason Miers was nominated by the W, Rove and Co was that her personal and judicial philosophy match this administrations views on what a good activist judge might be? Aren't personal and judical philosophies inseperable?
Q And you separate the questionnaire as a --

MR. McCLELLAN: I would also -- I think Senator Schumer indicated to you all yesterday that Harriet Miers said that no one knows how she would view on any particular case.

Q So then we should regard this -- or the Senate should regard this just as a personal view, not as an indication of her judicial philosophy?

MR. McCLELLAN: Well, her judicial philosophy is how I just described it. And she'll be talking more about it as she moves forward on the confirmation process. She's already visited with some 18 senators before today as part of the courtesy visits. She's visiting with an additional two senators today. And she will continue those visits in the coming weeks -- through the remainder of this week, and in the coming weeks as they move forward toward the confirmation hearings. And then at the confirmation hearings, senators will have an opportunity to visit with her and ask her questions about her views and her experience and her judicial philosophy. And she looks forward to the opportunity to answer those questions at that time.

Q Was that document a part of the vetting process and the package of materials that the President reviewed prior to selecting Harriet Miers?

MR. McCLELLAN: Well, in terms of the President, they did not discuss this particular issue -- I think we've already indicated that -- or any other issue that may be viewed as controversial. The President doesn't have a litmus test, and that -- what we said before still stands. The President appoints people to the bench based on their qualifications and their experience and their judicial temperament. And that's what he makes the decision on. Now, in terms of the vetting process, there's a very thorough process that goes on for people to the President Supreme Court and people to other judicial vacancies, and it was a thorough vetting process.

Q Would that have included providing that kind of documentation to the President? Whether there was discussion, he could have simply read the --

MR. McCLELLAN: I'll see if there's more information on that. But, no, the President, as we have indicated, doesn't have a litmus test, so those are not questions he discusses with his nominees. And I'll see if there's any additional --

Q But did he read it, is what I'm asking. Was he aware of it prior to --

MR. McCLELLAN: That's what I said -- I'll see if there's any additional information to add.
The whole abortion issue is truly a red herring for those who might oppose Miers' nomination. As, I have said in the past, they don't have a litmus test becuase they already know her "heart." They don't need to ask.

Affirmative Action for Friends of the President

The Shit Must Go Somewhere

Interesting op-ed today in the Times. Iraqi "constitution" aside, it's still a time bomb. And there is no telling when we will get our troops home. Perhaps, even, the intent from the outset was to never leave. Have a look:
Anyone who thinks that such a constitution would calm the insurgency has probably been spending more time than he should have reading about Alice in Wonderland. I believe that should the constitution pass, the next few weeks will see an escalation of the unnecessary violence that has ripped my country apart. Unnecessary, because the ordinary citizen has no political agenda, and has found himself amid a war he neither understands nor cares about - a war waged by foreigners who could not care less about Iraq or Iraqis. All he seeks is the most basic necessities of life: electricity, security, a job, food, health care, clean water and working sewers.
Again, it's a shame the President doesn't read. Certainly, as the republicans prove over and again they are not the peoples' party, they are expanding that agenda in other countries as well: the very definition of imperialism.

Monday, October 17, 2005

Republican: The Party of Treason

A friend pointed me to this interesting article over at DailyKOS, which was originally posted at AMERICAblog:
If a senior White House staffer had intentionally outed an American spy during World War II, he'd have been shot.

We're at war, George Bush keeps reminding us. We cannot continue with business as usual. A pre-9/11 mentality is deadly. Putting the lives of our troops at risk is treason.

Then why is the White House and the Republican party engaged in a concerted campaign to make treason acceptable during a time of war? That's exactly what they're doing. On numerous news shows today, Republican surrogates, their talking points ready, issued variations of the following concerning White House chief of staff Karl Rove's outing of a covert CIA agent as part of a political vendetta:

- It's the criminalization of politics
- Is this 'minor' leak really worth all this?
- Political payback is common and should not be criminalized
- Mis-speaking or mis-remembering is not a crime

Yes, the Republicans are now making light of an intentional effort to expose an undercover CIA agent, working on weapons of mass destruction in the Middle East, no less, while we are at war in the Middle East on that very issue.

The GOP has become the party of treason.
Head on over to finish the post. It's worth the click.

Slashing Good

W, Rove and Co mantra must be, "Slashing Good" when it comes to the money. Yes, indeed, tax breaks for the already wealthy, corporate welfare for the already rich. Oh, and by the way, hey, lets slash benefits for those marginalized folks who may be poor or don't reach yet up to the middle class. Here's the latest electronic missive from Move on:

Here's a brief description of what's going on: Last spring, Congress passed a budget and tax blueprint calling for three major changes: $35 billion in cuts to vital national services, $70 billion in new tax cuts, largely for the wealthy, and an additional $35 billion tacked onto the deficit. This was bad policy before Katrina, but now it's a catastrophe. Responsible leaders on both sides of the aisle have called for canceling this process, called "budget reconciliation," in light of the cost and increased need created by the hurricane.

But instead of changing course, top Republicans are now using Katrina to argue for $15 billion in additional cuts to the services that the hurricane victims and other vulnerable Americans depend on the most.

Starting this week, the various committees in both houses of Congress will decide whether or not to go ahead with "budget reconciliation" and, if they do go ahead, how bad the cuts will be. If reconciliation bills are submitted, they are hard to amend and impossible to filibuster—so our plan is to weigh in now, before the final decisions are made about what to propose.

Here is a list of some of the programs that are or could be on the chopping block if "budget reconciliation" goes forward:2

  • Medicaid and Medicare—the primary health insurance provider for America's poor and elderly.
  • Federal Student loans—which make higher education possible for millions of American students.
  • Child Nutrition Programs (school lunch and breakfast, summer meals, day care meals)—which provide basic nutrition to underprivileged children in every state.
  • Food Stamps—the highly successful federal program that keeps millions of Americans from facing hunger and even starvation.

  • Earned Income & Child Tax Credits—vital tax relief for low-income working families.

  • Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation—the federal guarantor of private pension programs, needed more than ever in this era of major bankruptcies.
  • State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP).
  • Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and TANF—which provide basic cost of living support to millions of extremely low income and disabled Americans.

  • Unemployment insurance.

We're joining forces with the newly created "Emergency Campaign for American Priorities"—the same team that helped save Social Security—to fight back. And whatever happens this round, together we'll make sure the story gets clearly told and our representatives will be held accountable in 2006 and beyond.

The first step is to find out where all of our representatives stand and make sure Congress gets the message by phoning in 25,000 calls by Tuesday.

Call right now, and let us know what you find out.

But, aparently, the pentagon has a blank check to execute their Iraq mission.