Saturday, July 7, 2007


Don't look now, but Wholesale gasoline is hitting new highs. This is not typical for this time of year.


New Blog Feature

We've added a feature that only shows a brief bit of a post with the rest hidden. If you want to read the entire post, click on the "Read More" link and the entire post is shown.

That way, my long winded posts don't take up the entire page and readers are able to check posts more quickly.


Friday, July 6, 2007

Question of the Day

Did Libby's defense team threaten to expose Dick Cheney's crimes during the trial? And did they only back off after being guaranteed a commutation or pardon?

This is the burning question at Mother Jones magazine blog. I'll let you go read the case they make. But my answer is, "no shit sherlock"!

Libby's defense team was going to call Cheney to the stand and fight vigorously to get Libby off.



Out-of-no where.

The Libby defense went limp. Totally limp. It even pissed off the judge.

Gee. Do you think maybe the deal for commutation was made at that point before Darth Cheney had to get on the stand?

Noooooo. It had to be a mere coincidence.

If you believe that, contact me about the sale of a bridge I've got ......


Crap Alert

I think you'll be hearing about this in the coming weeks. It's a "bipartisan" bill being proposed to implement the Iraq Study Group's suggestions. Except for one small item. It doesn't.

From Americablog:

The misnamed "Iraq Study Group (ISG) Recommendations Implementation Act of 2007," is being offered by Senators Ken Salazar (D-CO), Lamar Alexander (R-TN), Bob Bennett (R-UT), Mark Pryor (D-AR), Judd Gregg (R-NH), Robert Casey (D-PA), John Sununu (R-NH) and Blanche Lincoln (D-AR). Probably the most offensive thing about the legislation is that it outright calls for the continuation of the status quo policy of keeping US troops in Iraq until the day that Iraq is 100% ready to stand on its own
The list of conditions for withdrawal are very long, very detailed, and vary little from the Bush policy. For example:
1. A massive list of suggested policies need to first be accomplished before the US withdraws. These include transferring the Iraqi National Police to the Ministry of Defense, reorganizing the Iraqi security forces, upgrading Iraq's police communications equipment, establishing courts, training judges, prosecutors and investigators, drafting oil legislation, implementing metering at the oil pipelines, reorganizing the entire Iraqi oil industry, and more. But that's not all that has to happen before our troops are permitted to withdraw from Iraq. Oh no. Read on.

2. Additional Iraqi brigades need to deployed. Meaning, the exact same policy we have now under George Bush. No withdraw until the Iraqi security forces are up to par. And our military people on the ground in Iraq say this could take 40 to 50 years, if ever.

3. The eventual withdrawal of US forces is "subject to unexpected development in the security situation on the ground." Meaning, if things don't get better, we don't leave. That's the current policy. And things aren't getting better.

Gee. That's all? No problemo. I'll order up a cup of Iraq miracle at Starbucks this afternoon.

So while these nutbars try and appear to be distancing themselves from Bush, they in fact are doing a P.R. campaign.



Catch 22

It's time for an edition of "Catch 22", Republican court style. The 6th court of appeals today reversed a ruling against Bush's domestic spying program. Why? .......

The ruled that the ACLU had no "standing". Standing means that the court didn't think the ACLU was appropriate to sue. But catch this. The reason they felt they had no standing, even though the ACLU was suing on behalf of journalists lawyers and scholars with international contacts, the court ruled that they couldn't prove they'd been spied on.

There you have it. You have to prove that Bush actually spied on you before you can prove that the secret spying program is illegal. Here's how Steve Benen put it:

To grossly oversimplify:

Bush regime: "We're going to secretly surveil all green people without a warrant, because we don't need no steenkin' court system."

The ACLU says: "Fine! That gives Kermit the Frog, here, standing to sue to get his Fourth Amendment rights back!"

Bush regime: "Oh, no you don't! Kermit may be green, but he still has to personally prove he was sued!"

The ACLU: "It's a secret program! Kermit can't do that!"

Bush regime: "And your point is?"

Onward to the Supreme Conservative Tribunal Court where I'm sure the issue will be heard and fairly judged.



Bush at 26% approval in Newsweek poll! He's closing in on the all-time low of 22% by Truman and 23% by Nixon. Guess maybe Bush is a lot like Truman.




Except he wasn't .... or he's a man of extraordinary abilities:

“The U.S. command in Baghdad this week ballyhooed the killing of a key al Qaeda leader but later admitted that the military had declared him dead a year ago. A military spokesman acknowledged the mistake after it was called to his attention by The Examiner. He said public affairs officers will be more careful in announcing significant kills.”
You betcha they'll be more careful.

When you lie, it's important to remember your previous lies so that you don't contradict yourself. This is PR 101. But it looks like the Pentagon went to the "Vietnam School of PR Protocol" training.


Don't Go Out

If the President of Afghanistan is smart, he'll stay in his home ....

ISLAMABAD (Reuters) - Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf's plane was fired on as it took off on Friday from a military airfield in Rawalpindi, an intelligence officer said, contradicting official denials.

Musharraf's plane arrived safely in the southwestern town of Turbat, where the president visited flood victims. The military denied there had been any attack.

But an intelligence officer, speaking on condition of anonymity, said there had been an unsuccessful attempt on Musharraf's life.


A Reuters photographer saw two large guns mounted on the roof of a two-storey house in the congested area close to the airport, and a neighbor said he heard the firing.

One appeared to be a long barreled anti-aircraft gun and the other a light machine gun.

They were placed between large satellite dishes and a water tank of the flat-roofed house, located directly under the flight path close to the runway. A low wall ran round the perimeter of the roof.

Security is normally deployed in the area ahead of the president's flights, the timings of which are generally kept secret.
Very slowly but steadily, Afghanistan is looking more and more like Iraq.


A Wet Rant

I went to Costco yesterday .......

I care about the planet. I care about global warming. I'm trying to cut back on energy use. I bought a hybrid, don't run the A/C, have cut back on water use, compost yard waste and recycle like crazy.

But then I go into Costco, a generally liberal friendly retailer, and watch people carting cases and cases of bottled water out the door. Yes, bottled water. Now, just how much energy does it take to get water .... WATER .... into a plastic bottle (a petroleum product) and then ship it to all those Costco's? And I'm not even talking about the millions of other retailers that sell water.


The U.S. has the cleanest, most abundant water supply in the world. And yet we purchase literally millions of bottles of water each year. And by-the-way, testing has shown that much of the bottled water is no cleaner (and sometimes dirtier) than tap water.

It just goes to show how cheap energy has really been. When a business can sell water worldwide for a relatively low price and make a profit, energy is simply too cheap. We're subsidizing such nonsense via the cost of global warming and pollution. It makes no sense at all and the price for the luxury is going to apparently be very high.


Jobs Report

We had a new jobs report come out today.

It was really more of the same. With 132,000 "new" jobs it was barely enough to keep up with population growth. Yet those who are bullish on the economy thought it was great news.

And it was great news as long as you don't work in manufacturing or construction and like working in nursing homes, government or Starbucks.

Meanwhile, Barry Ritholtz takes a look at jobs data and concludes that it can't be right. His point, and I think it's a good one, is that if the job market is as tight as reported, where's the wage pressure? As with all markets, when there's not enough people for jobs wages should go up. Yet we've seen very anemic wage growth over the last several years.


Talk Is Cheap

A new study challenges and old myth.

USAT fronts, and everyone goes inside with, a new study that contradicts the stereotype that women talk more than men. Researchers used digital technology to record the conversations of almost 400 university students in the U.S. and Mexico, and found there was no statistically significant difference between the sexes. They both utter about 16,000 words a day.
Likely, both talk too much.


This Will Help

I don't think this will go over too well in the Arab world. No one will read the fine print, just the headline.

The Los Angeles Times leads with numbers that say U.S. and NATO troops killed more civilians in Afghanistan in the first half of 2007 than the Taliban and other insurgents.Of course, there are plenty of caveats to the explosive statistics. Western officials say that sometimes it's impossible to know who is a militant and insist that civilians are killed primarily because of the Taliban's tactics of putting them in the front lines. But, still, according to U.N. figures, by late June Western-led forces were responsible for the deaths of 314 civilians in the year, while militants killed 279 people.


Clinton Did It

Since there's been a outcry over Libby's commutation, the usual suspects are out on the teevee talking about their justification. They say that Clinton pardoned everyone, including Hitler!

I've got a really simple question. When the bile spills from their mouths as they say Clinton did it too, it's clear that they think that Clinton was wrong.

Ok. Let's go with that for a bit.

So let's say for a moment that we're actually talking apples and apples here. I'll trade one Marc Rich for one Scooter Libby. So let's agree Clinton was wrong. So that means Bush was wrong too, doesn't it?

It's funny, but the best argument they seem to come up with is similiar to a bunch of eight year olds at recess. Given that, I'll play the school teacher.

"Two wrongs don't make a right".

Now what?


Thursday, July 5, 2007

Struck A Chord

Has Michael Moore struck a chord? I heard about this on the radio and now I'm reading it on the internets. As Benen says, this anecdote hasn't been yet verified, but it wouldn't surprise me:

When the credits rolled the audience filed out and into the bathrooms. At the urinals, my redneck friend couldn't stop talking about the film, and I kept listening. He struck up a conversation with a random black man in his 40s standing next to him, and soon everyone was peeing and talking about just how fu**ed everything is.

I kept my distance, as we all finished and exited at the same time. Outside the restroom doors... the theater was in chaos. The entire Sicko audience had somehow formed an impromptu town hall meeting in front of the ladies room. I've never seen anything like it. This is Texas goddammit, not France or some liberal college campus. But here these people were, complete strangers from every walk of life talking excitedly about the movie. It was as if they simply couldn't go home without doing something drastic about what they'd just seen. My redneck compadre and his new friend found their wives at the center of the group, while I lingered in the background waiting for my spouse to emerge.

The talk gradually centered around a core of 10 or 12 strangers in a cluster while the rest of us stood around them listening intently to this thing that seemed to be happening out of nowhere. The black gentleman engaged by my redneck in the restroom shouted for everyone's attention. The conversation stopped instantly as all eyes in this group of 30 or 40 people were now on him. "If we just see this and do nothing about it," he said, "then what's the point? Something has to change." There was silence, then the redneck's wife started calling for email addresses. Suddenly everyone was scribbling down everyone else's email, promising to get together and do something ... though no one seemed to know quite what.
I have yet to see Sicko. But it wouldn't surprise me, given Michael's other films, that it would motivate people. Michael, in an interview I saw somewhere, said that he was not pushing an liberal ideology, but rather trying to appeal to everyone about the health care crisis. He specifically hinted at olive branches being offered to conservatives in Sicko.

I sure hope it has the effect that Michael seeks. The health care industry in the U.S. is a total mess.


Crystal Ball

We're going to be getting some gross domestic product numbers soon. If you'll recall, this important measure of the economic output of the U.S. is the key measure of growth and economic vitality. The last quarter saw very sluggish growth. I'm reading lots of prognostications that next quarter should be very good .... like around 3%.

But then I'm also seeing many stories like this one. And this. And this. It's looking like the second quarter GDP is going to be an anomaly, high due to inventory adjustments. Meanwhile the inflation and the housing mess seems to be winding it's way to consumers, who have been showing real signs of weakness. If Chucky (the consumer) stops buying, the economy will stall and this Christmas could be one with more coal in stockings than plasma teevee's. As always, we shall see.


Bailing Out

There's much tut-tutting in the media about various Republicans "bailing out" of supporting the Preznit in his great Iraq adventure. The latest to use this gambit is Senator Pete Domenici (R-NM). I don't buy it.

As I have written in other posts and many other bloggers have pointed out, these calls for "redeployment" or a "change in strategy" don't mean a thing. The Republicans have only begun to split from Bush on the escalation issue, not on occupying Iraq or permanent bases. Plus, as Atrios points out, having a press conference with a change-in-strategy call is pure grandstanding and meaningless. Republicans are bleeding due to the boy king and are trying to stop the flow with band aides. Unfortunately, it's likely an arterial gush which may require something a but more substantive.

When Republicans get behind legislation, and vote for a Democratically sponsored bill to remove the troops from Iraq, then it'll mean something. Until then, they're just trying to wiggle out of a noose with as little commitment as possible. It may have entertainment value, but not much more than an old rerun of Laverne and Shirley.


Who's Boinking Who?

Looks like we'll find out. The DC Madam can now release the names.



How long does it take to pay a $250,000 fine?

When your name is Libby, and you have something on the Pres. and V Pres., not long


America Hater

Ezra Klein has written a very nice analysis of the Bush Presidency. The short version is that Bush hates America.

Here is an excerpt that truly captures the genius, stupidity and pathology of Bush:

Bush, as has so often been remarked, is a uniter, not a divider. He has united the country against him. But he has found power in division, in lonesomeness, in unpopularity. He realized that a slim plurality in the 2000 election meant he didn't need to govern so as to retain a robust majority. He understood that legislation didn't need as many votes as possible, it merely required as many votes as necessary. And he figured out that a lame duck president who polls in the 20s need never make another compromise -- and so need never kowtow to a disagreeable electorate.

This will be his legacy, as it was, in the end, his genius. While Nixon famously pursued the Southern strategy because he realized that if he broke the country into pieces, his piece would be bigger, Bush broke the country into pieces, and embraced the smaller half, and then a mere quarter. He made the executive branch the minority party, and in doing, freed himself from many of the constraints of democracy. Truly, he has achieved a Machiavellian enlightenment, a state of perfect zen-like detachment from democracy.

Honestly, I would have preferred if he'd simply been raptured up to heaven.
Me too Ezra. Me too.



Did you know that Fred Thompson was Nixon's mole?

WASHINGTON -- The day before Senate Watergate Committee minority counsel Fred Thompson made the inquiry that launched him into the national spotlight -- asking an aide to President Nixon whether there was a White House taping system -- he telephoned Nixon's lawyer.

Thompson tipped off the White House that the committee knew about the taping system and would be making the information public. In his all-but-forgotten Watergate memoir, "At That Point in Time," Thompson said he acted with "no authority" in divulging the committee's knowledge of the tapes, which provided the evidence that led to Nixon's resignation. It was one of many Thompson leaks to the Nixon team, according to a former investigator for Democrats on the committee, Scott Armstrong , who remains upset at Thompson's actions.

"Thompson was a mole for the White House," Armstrong said in an interview. "Fred was working hammer and tong to defeat the investigation of finding out what happened to authorize Watergate and find out what the role of the president was."

Asked about the matter this week, Thompson -- who is preparing to run for the 2008 Republican presidential nomination -- responded via e-mail without addressing the specific charge of being a Nixon mole: "I'm glad all of this has finally caused someone to read my Watergate book, even though it's taken them over thirty years."
Glib SOB.

I must say, I'm not surprised. But, hey, remember, ole' Freddy is just a gun totin'pickup drivin' simple boy from Tennessee.



Stu Rothenberg has joined David Broder in castigating the dirty f#@king hippies left wing grassroots. Didn't you know we're all just a small rabel of noisemakers?

Here's what Stu, usually a pretty good watcher of politics and pollster no less, had to say:

Congressional Democrats apparently were surprised by the base’s reaction to the bill’s passage. They shouldn’t have been. Have they been living under a rock?

We’ve seen grass-roots Democratic anger for the past few years directed at the White House, and the animosity and invective aimed at Sen. Joe Lieberman (ID-Conn.) during his bid for renomination and re-election should have warned House and Senate Democrats that even they are not immune to attacks from left-of-center bloggers who see any cooperation with the White House on Iraq as perfidy.

Increasingly, the Democratic left is acting much the way the Republican right has acted for decades, measuring Capitol Hill behavior against a standard of ideological purity that treats pragmatists as traitors and those who compromise as worse than the enemy.

These voices have always been around, mind you. It is just that they now have a megaphone with the Internet, much as angry conservatives did when talk radio burst on the scene more than a decade ago….

Maybe Democratic leaders could have done a better job preparing angry party activists for the passage of the spending bill, possibly sparing Hill Democrats the nasty e-mails and angry comments on liberal blogs, but I doubt it. Democrats have spent so many months cranking up the volume on Iraq — making it a major issue in the 2006 elections and since then increasing their attacks on the president and his policies — that it would have been very difficult to persuade grass-roots anti-war activists to accept a deal with the White House that funded the war for even another week.
I'm becoming pretty accustomed to those who consider themselves the wise men, the moderates, of Washington punditry to castigate the netroots. What I continue to find astounding is how their personal bias and perception shapes a view that is so completely out of touch with reality and not supported by the data. Particularly when done by a pollster.

The Iraq war is one example, but Joe Lieberman is another. Lieberman only won his seat based on catering to Republicans. Those who are Democrats .... of all stripes .... repudiated Joe and his policies in the Connecticut primary. But to Rothenberg and those of his ilk, it was the radical wild-eyed left that has been a thorn in Boltin' Joe's side.

I just wish these folks would read a poll once in awhile. There was a time, a dark time, when many of the views I held were a minority view. And I lamented that point at the time. That time has now passed .... at least according to the polls.


Through The Roof

Don't look now, but wholesale gasoline is up at the previous highs of last winter.



More information is coming out regarding the perpetrators of the bombing attacks in London. It turns out that those who participated were highly educated, highly religious and really really angry over the Iraq war. The fact that this is news shows how the west continues to misunderstand the nature of the Islamic cause.

The fact that all the suspects were well-off and had tons of education shouldn't be surprising, says an interesting piece in the WSJ that reports on the research work of a Princeton economist who says that it's a "misconception" to think poverty leads to terrorism. Alan Krueger says there's simply no evidence to prove that the uneducated and the poor are more likely to carry out a terrorist act, and, in fact, the opposite is usually true.
It seems unfathomable to the lizard brain conservatives that these people might actually believe in their cause. They'd rather wallow around in the cliche's of middle easterners as poverty ridden, ignorant, backward tribal heathens who just need some edukation. In fact, middle easterners have a proud tradition and long history and, like everyone else on the planet, are quite proud of themselves. So is it really any surprise that well-educated individuals would decide to give their lives to fight an invasion in the best ways they know how?

Just askin' .....


"They're Still Alive"?

I'm afraid that atrocities are commonplace in Iraq. This is all so reminiscent of Vietnam, another war where everyone is a combatant and soldiers are surrounded by enemy.

The LAT fronts word that investigators are looking into claims that Marines killed as many as eight unarmed Iraqi prisoners. During the early days of the intense fighting to take control of Fallujah in November 2004, Marines detained a group of insurgents. When the Marines asked what they should do with the prisoners their superiors asked, "They're still alive?" They apparently took that to mean that the prisoners should be killed. This would make it the third known investigation into possible war crimes by Marines stationed out of California's Camp Pendleton.Type rest of the post here
This is horrible, but yet it's also understandable. Sitting here in my comfortable room on my computer, it's easy to pass judgement. But when you put young people with guns in a god-forsaken place where anarchy rules, what would any of us do? I'd like to think I'd be perfectly moral. Experience tells me otherwise. And of course, the problem is with our leadership, not soldiers put into impossible situations .....


New Embassy

The construction of the U.S. palace embassy in Iraq is apparently not going too well ....

The WP's lead focuses on the problems facing the guards' base, which was built to house the embassy's security personnel and was supposed to be finished in January. When it finally opened in May, it was plagued with problems that were detailed in a "toughly worded cable" sent from Iraq to Washington that pointed out several issues with the construction, some of which were seen as potential safety threats to the staff. For example, a contractor admitted to using a toxic chemical in the construction of housing trailers. There's lots of finger-pointing between State Department officials, as well as among the different contractors, which ultimately "reflect the broader problems that have thwarted reconstruction efforts throughout war-torn Iraq," says the Post.


Wednesday, July 4, 2007


Headline of the day:

Libby Vows To Track Down the Real Perjurers

It's a joke. But a damned good one.


Too Funny

A major GOP talking point is to compare Libby's commutation with Clinton's pardon of Marc Rich.

Well, this is from the "you can't make this s*#t up file:

Libby was Rich's lawyer from 1985 through 2000, collecting more than $2 million in legal fees over the period. In early 2001, during the fallout over the pardon, Libby appeared before Congress (above) and testified that he thought Rich had "not violated tax laws" and that federal prosecutors had "misconstrued the facts and the law" during the course of their investigation. In a New York Times editorial, President Clinton said Libby—then chief of staff for Vice President Cheney—supported the decision to pardon Rich.


More Independents

Did you know that there are more "independent contractors" in Iraq than American soldiers? I'm sure that sits quite well with the Iraq people.


Law Enforcement

William Arkin has a nice piece up today about the Great War On Terra! He makes the argument that fighting the war with military has completely failed, and provides evidence that we need to go back to a law enforcement model. Here is his concluding graf which is right on:

What is needed is a declaration that the war is over. Terrorists are not warriors, they are just criminals. They will no longer be accorded the honors of war. Of course we will do all we can to stop them, even as we recognize that we cannot completely protect ourselves from their criminality. But we will no longer be hostage to their desire for terror and fear, nor will we be subject to the authority of the oppressive national security state.


The Other War

Or I should probably say, one of the other wars behind Afghanistan, Iraq, Kurdistan/Turkey, Israel and everyone else, the Palestinian civil war and Iran:

Dawn reports on the fierce fighting in the streets of Islamabad between radical fundamentalists and the army loyal to secular general Pervez Musharraf, which left 21 dead (including one soldier) and 150 injured. The government's Interior Minister had recently warned of the spread of Taliban-type activists through the country.
A meltdown in Pakistan will have, shall we say, "international implications" to say the least. While most of Pakistan is relatively moderate, there is a very strong contingent of fundamentalists in the country with Musharraf, much like Karzai in Afghanistan, more of a major city mayor than a central government leader.


July 4th

You've really got to wonder if it's not time to revisit the principles embodied in this document?


Talking Point

I know it's not necessary to prove that Bush is a hypocritical pr#@K, but this will help you when you get into the inevitable argument with some nutbar friend:

The LAT takes a look at the numbers and says that the Justice Department "frequently has sought sentences that are long, or longer, in cases similar to Libby's." The average sentence for those found guilty of obstruction of justice was 70 months. Everyone mentions the case decided two weeks ago by the Supreme Court, who sided with the administration in maintaining a 33-month sentence in a case similar to Libby's, even though the defendant argued for leniency based on his 25 years of service in the armed forces.
You can also add this to the mixture:
The NYT talks to legal experts who say that Bush may have inadvertently sparked a debate about sentencing guidelines, which wouldn't have happened if he had simply chosen to pardon Libby. Many defense lawyers are likely to begin using Bush's rationale for commutation in arguing cases across the country. "I anticipate that we're going to get a new motion called 'the Libby motion'," a professor tells the NYT. In Slate, Harlan J. Protass makes a similar argument and says that although the tactic "probably won't work" defense attorneys won't be able to help themselves because "the administration's inconsistency is so glaring."
Kinda goes with the funny Supreme Court decision back in 2000.


Voting By Pocketbook

Let's hope this is indeed meaningful:

The Post points out that Sen. Barack Obama received money from more people than the combined total for Romney, Giuliani, and Sen. John McCain. This trend is "a striking reversal of fortunes for Democratic presidential hopefuls, who have often labored with less money than their Republican counterparts," notes the WP.


Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Kissing Your Cousin

Talk about a mixed message:

This morning, the WSJ reported that Defense Secretary Robert Gates is “seeking to build bipartisan political support for a long-term U.S. presence in Iraq by moving toward withdrawing significant numbers of troops from Iraq by the end of President Bush’s term.” As TPM’s Spencer Ackerman notes, “it’s basically a trade-off: cut the surge short in order to stay in Iraq indefinitely.
We are a long long way from solving the "Iraq problem". Removing troops? Definitely a good thing. Leaving a permanent presence? Crazy. But how many politicians, even politicians advocating a change in policy, are actually supporting a total withdrawal? The nonsense CW that we need a presence to prevent a meltdown is ridiculous. Iraq is in meltdown now. Iraq will stay in meltdown until Iraqis take on the task of solving their disputes. As long as their is a foreign presence, particularly a western presence, those disputes will not be solved.

To have any American soldiers in Iraq is to continue the war. Anyone thinking otherwise is just deluding themselves.


Two Other's

Here are two cases that Bush's refuses to consider. One of them was written about here .... the case of the Iraq vet with some distant crapola conviction that he needs expunged so he can be a cop.

The hypocrisy is being revealed all over the place. But, in fact, it really only matters to the unaware, unconvinced or ignorant. We knew it was coming and it taste bitter going down.


Who's Really To Blame

This is an old story. But I'm going to do this one for the pure catharsis of it. The media is terrible. And I'm going to use this Reuters story as exhibit A. Regarding the Libby-get-out-of-jail-free story:

Bush, who angered Democrats but reassured conservatives by saving Libby from serving a 2-1/2 year prison sentence, told reporters who asked about an eventual full pardon for Libby: "As to the future I rule nothing in and nothing out."
So, "Democrats" (emphasis on rat) were angered, but "conservatives", not Republicans, were reassured. And just how many actually people wanted Libby to walk? Polls have shown it to be around 20%. Do you see that context in this paragraph at all? No. It's pretty much implied that it's the usual partisan bickering, with 50% of Americans for Libby walking and 50% against it.
Bush's move to spare Libby -- while leaving intact a $250,000 fine and two-year probation -- was seen in Washington as an act of loyalty by an unpopular president attempting to repair ties with disaffected conservatives who had pressed him to keep Libby out of jail.
"Was seen in Washington". By who? And it was a issue of "loyalty"? How about that "O" word, like some context of how Bush was likely covering his and Cheney's butt? Oh, I'm sorry, that wouldn't be polite to talk about the elephant in the Washington weenie groups living room. Besides, don't you know it was highly courageous for a "unpopular President" to remain loyal to his felonies buddies?
The decision was also likened to then-President Bill Clinton's 11th-hour pardon in 2001 of financier Marc Rich from tax-evasion charges.
This paragraph is right out of the GOP talking points play book ..... again .... still. Once again, it's Ok if Clinton did it. And besides that, there is absolutely no comparison between outing a CIA covert operative and then lying about it and Rich's crime of (OH NO!) tax evasion.
"It closes one chapter of the sort of life-draining issue of George W. Bush and Iraq," presidential historian Stephen Hess said of Monday's action. "It's totally in keeping with everything he's done up to now, including his sense of loyalty to his people."
Again, no quote from anyone even suggesting a cover-up, obstruction of justice or any possible motivation for the commutation beyond Bush commendable trait of "loyalty". No. Bushie-boy did it because he's like your ordinary household pet, loyal to the end.
Many at the White House found criticism from New York Sen. Hillary Clinton particularly ironic. Aside from the Rich pardon, her husband's former national security adviser, Sandy Berger, reached a plea deal in 2005 and avoided a jail sentence for illegally removing classified documents from the National Archives and destroying some of them.
Another GOP talking point, and right out of the White House. Yep, Sandy Berger sticking a few archives in his pants is the same as a treasonous act of outing a covert op agent. Besides, what does Sandy Berger's action in 2005 have to do with either Clinton? I guess they're guilty because they know each other.
The White House said Bush acted without input from the Justice Department, sparing further criticism of his embattled attorney general, Alberto Gonzales.
They don't get to this until the second to last graf. And notice the context, "sparing further criticism" for Abu, not that Bush did an extraordinary thing of commuting a sentence without input from DOJ, which is unheard of. No. Bush was being a really nice guy and "sparing" his other buddy, Abu. Jesus H. Christ.

Is it any wonder that most people don't know what's going on? Is it any wonder that Bush has to virtually take a lighter to the Constitution on the steps of the Supreme Court building before anyone notices? This kind of lazy ass, biased reporting is pure bullshit.


Disgust List

This one is pretty good.

I tell ya, the bile emanating from my computer this morning is so thick I'm going to have to hose it off.


Libby's Angry

Catch this:

Robert Novak writes: “Bush is blamed by friends of Libby for losing control of the Plame investigation by putting it in the hands of a special prosecutor — the U.S. attorney in Chicago, Patrick Fitzgerald. In his decision sparing Libby jail time, Bush did not say a word of criticism about Fitzgerald.”
I swear. When stuff like this happens, or you get guys like Duncan Hunter on the teevee talking about what a great Amurikan Ann Coulter is, I feel like I live in a different dimension, an alternate universe if you will.

I've experienced being in highly dysfunctional relationships. I've also studied the subject extensively. And I tell you, our country feels like one of the sickest families I ever studied. The way some of these conservatives see the world is literally 180 degrees away from what I see. I keep waiting for the country to right itself. I guess I'm assuming I'm at least sorta in the direction of "right", but at times I begin to wonder (a normal part of the crazy-making of our national family). So, I guess we're just left with a wait and see in terms of the only way Americans can really express their political values ..... elections. Then I guess I can make further conclusions about my own insanity.

Update: Digby enters the alternate universe so you don't have to, and let's us know what's happening:
I just saw the Fox Allstars practically pole dancing over this, saying outright that Libby's pals are going to pay his fines for him and that he'll have no problem finding work. High fives all around. They got so excited that they forgot they were supposed to be all dour and somber over the horrible, awful punishment that poor little Scooter is going to have to endure even though he isn't spending a day in jail.

Joe DiGenova on CNN just spent what seemed like a half hour saying over and over again that Libby was a great American and the next step is an investigation into prosecutorial misconduct by Patrick Fitzgerald and hopes that more will come out during "the appeal." Patrick Fitzgerald is about to see his career permanently destroyed by these scumbags.

This is a very, very depressing day, even though we knew it would happen in one way or another. It's just a continuation of this administration's complete disregard for the law and their belief that they are entitled to special treatment because, well, they are just, so special.

Bush has just slapped a jury, four Republican judges, and the American people right in the face and blatantly instigated a cover-up of his illegal acts by giving his former aid amnesty. And the hits just keep on coming.
Update II: Steve Benen brings up a very good point:
Quite right. Yesterday's decision, as offensive as it is, brings the leak scandal into the Oval Office -- even more so. It necessarily gives the impression that Libby lied and obstructed justice in order to shield Bush and Cheney from their role in an even bigger crime. Even now, it's frustratingly unclear why, exactly, Libby decided to lie so brazenly, which suggests that he's covering up a more serious matter that might involve his only two WH bosses (the president and vice president). Amnesty only exacerbates these suspicions
There really wasn't any doubt that Bush committed a criminal act in the entire Plamegate thing. But this is enough circumstantial evidence to prove it. Why not let Libby serve a couple of weeks and then commute? No. Libby holds the cards and called the play. Bush is obstructing justice to cover his and Cheney's asses.


Libby Hangover

I was in a foul mood all evening after Libby walks. As they've been saying, even Paris Hilton served some time.

My only hope is that the Wilson civil trial will now move forward. Like O.J. Simpson, there may be a bit of a backlash from the public, including the jury pool for a civil trial. Hitting Libby, Cheney et. al in the pocket book might be some consolation. Beyond that, it was a dark day in America yesterday. Harry Reid said it well:

"[The Libby conviction] was the one faint glimmer of accountability for White House efforts to manipulate intelligence."


Who Needs a Weatherman?

Does this sound like the wind up for a false flag operation to you?

"This is reminiscent of the warnings and intelligence we were getting in the summer of 2001." anon. official to ABC News.

Warnings in summer 2007 and into the fall.
"Terrorist" event this winter or early next year.
Bush declares martial law by April. He has the authority.
Wayne Downing was Bush’s deputy national security adviser for counterterrorism under Condoleezza Rice early in the first term. On December 24, 2002, six months after he retired, he told The Washington Post: “The United States may have to declare martial law someday in the case of a devastating attack with weapons of mass destruction causing tens of thousands of casualties. This could mean that the military would be given the authority to impose curfews, protect businesses and communities, even make arrests.”

General Tommy Franks, who led the Iraq invasion, told Cigar Aficionado in December 2003 that if terrorists attack us again, this time with a weapon of mass destruction, it will cause the “population to question our own Constitution and to begin to militarize our country in order to avoid a repeat of another mass-casualty-producing event. Which, in fact, then begins to potentially unravel the fabric of our Constitution.”
Downing and Franks aren’t the only former officials talking about martial law.



I like Joe's take:
George W. Bush, the man who executed 131 inmates while governor of Texas, has commuted the 30-month prison sentence of Lewis “Scooter” Libby because the punishment was too harsh for helping a Vice President commit treason against the United States of America.


Monday, July 2, 2007


Iraq. Iran. Bush's psychosis. Libby walks.

I'm feeling ill.

I need an extra long nap today.


Oh My....

Althought it's no surprise at all:

President Bush has spared Scooter Libby from a 2½-year prison term, issuing an order that commutes his sentence, the AP reports. Libby will never have to go to jail, but his felony conviction will stand, and he will still serve two years probation and owe $250,000 in fines.
There'll be lots of headlines, lots of screaming an yelling on both sides. Bush will go lower in the polls. Pundits will clutch pearls, requiring severe cleaning at local jewelry stores. But nothing else will happen. Bush had nothing to lose in political terms, but a lot to lose if Libby gave him an ultimatum like, commute my sentence or I'll talk.

This is a cover up of monumental proportions. No mafia family has ever done it better.

It's also an outrage.

Update: It's a twofer as well:
Well, George did it. Made sure that Scooter wouldn't flip rather than do jail time. He commuted Libby's sentence, guaranteeing not only that Libby wouldn't talk, but retaining Libby's right to invoke the Fifth.
That's right. Because Libby is still appealing he can't be compelled to testify to Congress. A pardon would have expunged the entire trial and he couldn't claim the fifth. But since he's still in litigation, fogettaboutit.

Update II: A good point:
Keep in mind, this is a guy who in all his time in Texas never commuted a single death sentence. But now he intervenes because a 30 month sentence for committing multiple serious felonies--a sentence that is well-within the sentencing guidelines--is "excessive."
Update III: From Bush in 1999:
"I don’t believe my role [as governor] is to replace the verdict of a jury with my own, unless there are new facts or evidence of which a jury was unaware, or evidence that the trial was somehow unfair."
It's wrong. Just plain wrong.


Ratchet Time

Throwing more mud on the wall, or a beginning of a real offensive?

BAGHDAD - The U.S. military accused Iran on Monday of a direct role in a sophisticated militant attack that killed five American troops in Iraq, portraying Tehran as waging a proxy war through Shiite extremists.

The claims over the January attack marked a sharp escalation in U.S. accusations that Iran has been arming and financing Iraqi militants, and for the first time linked the Iranian effort to its ally, Lebanon's Shiite Hezbollah militia. The allegations could endanger Iraqi efforts to hold a new round of talks between the U.S. and Iran.

U.S. military spokesman Brig. Gen. Kevin J. Bergner said the Quds Force, part of Iran's elite Republican Guards, was seeking to build an Iraqi version of Hezbollah to fight U.S. and Iraqi forces — and had brought in Hezbollah operatives to help train and organize militants.

Let's face it. I don't think there's any doubt that Iran is in Iraq. Just like there's no doubt that the U.S. is in Iraq. I also don't think there's any doubt that aid is coming to Shiites in Iraq. Frankly, I'd be shocked if it weren't. And I suspect that some Iranian special ops have killed Americans as I am equally positive that Americans have killed Iranians.

My question is this. Does Iran have any less right to be meddling in Iraqi affairs than the U.S.?

Update: Add this to the mix. This is from Froomkin this morning on Bush's "soul searching" (LOLOLOLOLOLOLOL):
"Bush is fixated on Iraq, according to friends and advisers. One former aide went to see him recently to discuss various matters, only to find Bush turning the conversation back to Iraq again and again. He recognizes that his presidency hinges on whether Iraq can be turned around in 18 months. 'Nothing matters except the war,' said one person close to Bush. 'That's all that matters. The whole thing rides on that.'
So we have 1) "emerging evidence" of Iranians killing American boys and 2) being fixated on Iraq, the only place the guy has any power left. That equals 3) a dangerous President who feels a need to "do something" to save his sterling image. Then Froomkin notes this, classic Bush:

And consider the best example aides can come up with of someone telling Bush what he didn't want to hear: "Aides said they do challenge Bush. White House Chief of Staff Joshua B. Bolten had what one colleague called 'a lot of hard discussions' with the president after the November midterm elections to shock him into recognizing that his approach to Iraq had failed. Bolten set up meetings so Bush could hear from critics of his policy and sent him written material to emphasize the need for change, the colleague said. That led to the decision to send more troops."

So a concerted effort to convince him of something that should have been obvious leads to a contrarian and potentially irrational response. That's not exactly something to brag about.

Bush is a page right out of the Diagnostic Manual for Psychologists. Don't believe me? Check out this quote from Bush:
"The problem with the Oval Office, it is the kind of place where people stand outside and say, I'm going to walk in and tell him what for; they walk in, and they're overwhelmed by the environment, and they say, man, you're looking beautiful today, Mr. President."
Sheesh. I rest my freakin' case.

Update II: Here's a mouthful from the same blog post:
"One thing we all struggle to protect is a positive self-image. 'The more important the aspect of your self-image that's challenged by the truth, the more likely you are to go into denial,' says [psychologist Peter Ditto of the University of California, Irvine.] If you have a strong sense of self-worth and competence, your self-image can take hits but remain largely intact; if you're beset by self-doubt, however, any acknowledgment of failure can be devastating and any admission of error painful to the point of being unthinkable."
If it were a comedy bit, when this is said a drummer would hit the cymbals with a bada boom, bada bing. Unfortunately for a lot of victims worldwide, it's no joke.


If You Care

It turns out there's another reason that Chris Matthews keeps licking Ann Coulters boots, and it's not ratings. But it is about money.



Appeals court refuses to delay Libby’s prison term.

A U.S. appeals court ruled today that Scooter Libby “cannot delay serving his 2 1/2-year prison sentence while he appeals his perjury conviction,” ruling that he has not shown that his appeal “raises a substantial question.” A federal judge ruled last month that Libby must report to prison in six to eight weeks.



Rick Perlstein:

Karl Rove has a saying

It is: if you're explaining, you're losing.

Romney said, "sometimes when the stories come out in the media they don't quite get it accurate. The kennel that my family pet used to ride in is enclosed. It's not an open aired kennel. It's enclosed and there are air vents of course at the back. My family pet used to climb up there and lie down on his own. And we love our family pets. Have always loved our family pets. And have nothing but honor and pride in taking care of great dogs. We've had quite a few."

Mitt Romney is losing.


Quote Of The Day


4 years since George Bush said "bring'em on," approximately 3370 US troops have been killed in Iraq.


The Real Story

And to CNN's credit, they put the story on the air:


The Real Threat

This is really no surprise:

Europeans see U.S. as biggest world threat.

A new Financial Times poll finds “that 32 percent of respondents in five European countries regard the US as a bigger threat than any other state,” followed up by China, Iran, Iraq, and North Korea:


Also, “the youngest US respondents share the Europeans’ view that theirs is the biggest threat, with 35 per cent of American 16- to 24-year-olds identifying it as the chief danger to stability.”

Here's the corollary for the above story:
“At the nadir of his presidency, George W. Bush is looking for answers.” Unbeknownst “even to many on his staff,” Bush has summoned “leading authors, historians, philosophers and theologians to the White House” to discuss questions like, “Why does the rest of the world seem to hate America? Or is it just me they hate?
Absolutely classic narcissism. Totally clueless to his impact on people around him (in this case, the entire world).

Update: A salient comment from Steve Benen on the White House "chats":

What's unclear is exactly what the president hopes to get out of these conversations. Indeed, through the course of Baker's piece, it's clear that Bush isn't looking for advice, because he's already convinced that he's right. He isn't looking for constructive criticism, because he doesn't want to change course. He isn't looking for historical predictions, because he's already certain that history will look kindly on his tenure.

One gets the distinct impression that Bush is arranging meetings with these scholarly observers in the hopes that one of them will confirm everything he already believes.

The Hudson Institute's Irwin Stelzer, who participated in one of these White House chats, said the president either has "extraordinary self-confidence" or he's "out of touch with reality." Stelzer added, "I can't tell you which."

Irwin, buddy, I can give you the answer to that one. The answer is "both", and that's a very dangerous combination in an average person much less in a world leader.


This Explains It

Now I know exactly why when I gain weight, the spare tire gets bigger and when I lose weight, my shoe size goes down:

When researchers put mice and monkeys in stressful situations and fed them a high-fat, high-sugar diet, they discovered that a hormone was released that promoted the growth of abdominal fat. In what was the true breakthrough, researchers showed they could then use this information to either decrease or increase the accumulation of fat in specific areas of the body.


It Really is Free

There really is such a thing as a free credit report. I just did it. Read about it in Consumer Reports.
Go to


More on Mitt

More about Mitt Romney here and here. We've had enough of this kind of sociopathic behavior in the White House. Just say No to Mitt.


It's Your Money

The last election was more than a referendum on the Iraq invasion (I refuse to call it a war). It was also a call for more transparency in government. Now the elections are over and the promises are yesterday's news. CNN has requested from each representative a report of the earmarks that each senator has inserted into various bills. How many have been forthcoming?
Not many.

On Thursday, Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama, a member of the Illinois delegation, posted his more than 100 earmark requests on his Web site, the first presidential candidate to do so.

And 11 more House members released their earmark requests.

Six members of the House said they had no earmark requests.

Of the remainder, 68 declined to provide CNN with a list, and 315 either didn't respond to requests or said they would get back to us, and didn't. (Find out how your representative responded)

"As long as we are not required to release them, we're not going to," said Dan Turner, an aide to Rep. Jim McCrery, R-Louisiana.

All we want to know is where does our money go. Why is that too much to ask? There is more on the Senate side here. There is also a link to a pdf of how each senator responded. I found the pdf a bit confusing after watching the report on CNN. Russ Feingold is listed as "No Request" as is Jim DeMint but Feingold was one of the 6 who requested no earmarks at all while DeMint told CNN it was illegal for his office to divulge the information.

Sound like it is time for a Freedom of Information Act request.


Sunday, July 1, 2007


Shamelessly copied in full from Rick Perlstein's blog:

Multi-National Corps - Iraq
Public Affairs Office, Camp Victory
APO AE 09342

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Release No. 20070622-12 June 22, 2007

Coalition Forces kill 17 al-Qaeda gunmen near Khalis Multi-National Division – North PAO

BAQOUBA, Iraq – Coalition Forces attack helicopters engaged and killed 17 al-Qaeda gunmen southwest of Khalis, Friday.

Iraqi police were conducting security operations in and around the village when Coalition attack helicopters from the 25th Combat Aviation Brigade and ground forces from 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, observed more than 15 armed men attempting to circumvent the IPs and infiltrate the village.

The attack helicopters, armed with missiles, engaged and killed 17 al-Qaeda gunmen and destroyed the vehicle they were using.


What the eyewitnesses say:

"It was like a battlefront, but with the fire going only in one direction," said a local witness. "There was no return fire."

When frightened villagers ventured out at first light, they found 11 of the village guards dead, some of their bodies cut into small pieces by the munitions used against them.


What the press release said:

CHU LAI, VIETNAM (American IO) - For the third time in recent weeks, the Americal Division's 11th Brigade infantrymen from Task Force Barker raided a Viet COng stronghold known as 'Pinkville' six miles northeast of Quang Ngai, killing 128 enemy in a running battle...

What actually happened? I think you know.


Go Away ... Please?

Wouldn't it be nice if he would just, like, go away? I feel a need to wash every time I see him.


Contempt Of Congress

I'm skeptical, but hopeful:

If Congress passes a contempt-of-Congress measure, lawmakers would effectively be formally accusing the White House of a crime, which would then be referred to the U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia for consideration. Russert asked Leahy this morning, "Are you sure the U.S. Attorney would prosecute?" The chairman responded, "Well, I think it'd be very difficult for him not to."
Because Leahy is threatening doesn't mean he'll do it. We'll see if a "compromise" isn't agreed to (in others words, Congress bends over). And if Congress does hold Bush in contempt .... ah ... I mean officially ... be prepared for all the pundits to scream about CRISIS!, they're be official CNN logos and Wolf will have to furrow his brow more.


Sheeesh ... 27%?

I thought immigration was our nation's biggest problem?

A CBS News poll shows Americans are increasingly dissatisfied with the Iraq war, President Bush and the Congress, as well as the overall direction of the country.

More Americans than ever before, 77 percent, say the war is going badly, up from 66 percent just two months ago. Nearly half, 47 percent, say it's going very badly.

While the springtime surge in U.S. troops to Iraq is now complete, more Americans than ever are calling for U.S. forces to withdraw. Sixty-six percent say the number of U.S. troops in Iraq should be decreased, including 40 percent who want all U.S. troops removed. That's a 7-point increase since April.


Fewer than one in five thinks that the troop increase is helping to improve the situation in Iraq, while about half think the war is actually creating more terrorists.

The poll has bad news for President Bush, too. His job approval rating slipped to 27 percent, his lowest number ever in a CBS News poll — 3 points less than last month and 1 point below his previous low of 28 percent in January. His disapproval rating is also at an all-time high of 65 percent.
Can you say new all-time lows on the horizon? Nixon's in heaven hell hoping Bush will remove him from the record books.


Quote of the Day

Larry Johnson on the stupid criminal terror attacks in England:

As events unfold I'm simply asking that folks take a big deep breath and try to keep things in perspective. Are there jihadist extremists in the world who are willing to kill innocents? Absolutely. Are they amenable to negotiation? No. I am not in the, "have you hugged a terrorist today" camp. However, we need to stop equating their hatred with actual capability.

If today's events at Glasgow prove to be linked to the two non-events yesterday in London, then we should heave a sigh of relief. We may be witnessing the implosion of takfiri jihadists--religious fanatics who are incredibly inept. While I am not an explosives expert I am good friends with one of the world's foremost explosives experts. Propane tanks and petrol (gas for us Americans) can produce a dandy flame and a mighty boom but these are not the tools for making a car bomb long the lines of what we see detonating on a daily basis in Iraq.

My main beef remains that much of the cable news media reacts to this nonsense like a fifty year old guy on Viagra or Cialis--they pop major wood. And the same warnings are appropriate--an erection lasting more than four hours may be harmful.



Just so you know the truth, despite the crapola you will be hearing from the insurance industry:

CNN investigated the health care statistics Michael Moore cites in his new movie and finds them to be “mostly right.” “As we dug deep to uncover the numbers, we found surprisingly few inaccuracies in the film. In fact, most pundits or health-care experts we spoke to spent more time on errors of omission rather than disputing the actual claims in the film.” Click here to find a showing near you.