BRANDOLAND: Talking to God...For You!

Sunday, July 31, 2005

Merc-O-Rama

"Outsourcing" has gone to the next level.

Worry Grows as Foreigners Flock to Iraq's Risky Jobs

Once again...the mainstream media comes up with a bullshit headline.

The REAL headline? "Foreign Mercs working in Iraq...for US COMPANIES"

On your dime.
WASHINGTON — For hire: more than 1,000 U.S.-trained former soldiers and police officers from Colombia. Combat-hardened, experienced in fighting insurgents and ready for duty in Iraq.

This eye-popping advertisement recently appeared on an Iraq jobs website, posted by an AMERICAN ENTREPRENEUR who hopes to supply SECURITY FORCES for U.S. contractors in Iraq and elsewhere.
"Security Forces" = Mercs.
If hired, the Colombians would join a swelling population of heavily armed private military forces working in Iraq and other global hot spots. They also would join a growing corps of WORKERS from the developing world who are seeking higher wages in dangerous jobs, what some critics say is a troubling result of efforts by the U.S. to "OUTSOURCE" its operations in Iraq and other countries.

In a telephone interview from Colombia, the entrepreneur, Jeffrey Shippy, said he saw a booming global demand for his "PRIVATE ARMY," and a lLUCRATIVE BUSINESS OPPORTUNITY in recruiting Colombians.

Shippy, who formerly worked for DynCorp International, a major U.S. security contractor, said the Colombians were willing to work for $2,500 to $5,000 a month, compared with perhaps $10,000 or more for Americans.
The "American Entrepreneur" says that - the Colombians - are willing to do the same job - as the American Mercs -at a quarter of the cost.

Outsourcing 101.

Who pays the "American Entrepreneur?"

Uncle Sam...and YOU.

(Quick note: I'd like to remind you - that Cheney & Rumsfeld - have been working on the PRIVATIZATION of the military - since the NIXON Administration. Meaning - they've been trying to create business opportunities - within the miltary - for their peeps - for over 30 years. And here we are.)
But where Shippy sees opportunity, others see trouble.

Rep. Jan Schakowsky, an Illinois Democrat, worries that U.S. government contractors are hiring thousands of impoverished former military personnel, with no public scrutiny, little accountability and large hidden costs to taxpayers.
No. You're kidding? That's impossible.
The United States has spent more than $4 billion since 2000 on Plan Colombia, a counter-terrorism and counter-narcotics program that includes training and support for the Colombian police and military. Last month, Congress moved toward approval of an additional $734.5 million in aid to the Andean region in 2006, most of it for Colombia.

"We're training foreign nationals … who then take that training and market it to private companies, who pay them three or four times as much as we're paying soldiers," Schakowsky said.

"American taxpayers are paying for the training of those Colombian soldiers," she said. "When they leave to take more lucrative jobs, perhaps with an American military contractor … they take that training with them. So then we're paying to train that person's replacement. And then we're paying the bill to the private military contractors.
Do the math.

God, are these people good.
An estimated 20,000 Iraqis and about 6,000 non-Iraqis work in private security in Iraq, said Doug Brooks, president of International Peace Operations Assn., a trade group representing the burgeoning industry.

Security accounts for as much as 25% of reconstruction costs in Iraq, eating a substantial portion of an $18.4-billion rebuilding package funded by the U.S.
"Private Security": A Good Gig If You Can Get It!

*

Hey, have we found that missing $8-9 BILLION yet?
The reports are difficult to verify because many large companies, including DynCorp, which is based in TEXAS and operates in 40 countries, have policies against speaking to the media. Gary Jackson, president of Blackwater USA, said he had no comment.
Just LOVE IT when TEXAS comes up in a story like this.
Shippy, an Air Force veteran whose work for private military contractors has included stints in Saudi Arabia, Ecuador and Iraq, extolled the Colombians' virtues.

"These forces have been fighting terrorists the last 41 years," he wrote in his web posting seeking work. "These troops have been trained by the U.S. Navy SEALs and the U.S. [Drug Enforcement Administration] to conduct counter-drug/counter-terror ops in the jungles and rivers of Colombia."
That's...an interesting take on history.

Terrorist: ter-ror-ist (n) 1. Someone who threatens the profit of a US company. 2. Anyone on the other end of a "freedom-loving" gun.
Colombians who have completed their military service are entitled to seek higher-paying private-sector jobs when their stints are up, as are U.S. soldiers, he said.

"What's wrong with them using their skills, their know-how in Iraq?" asked David Spencer, a Washington-based security consultant who has spent nine years working in Colombia.

"It's good for the Colombian because he makes more money than he could make in Colombia, and it's good for the [U.S.] contractor because he has to pay less than he'd pay an American."
Outsourcing 101.

"It's good for the Colombian because he makes more money than he could make in Colombia, and it's good for the [U.S.] contractor because he has to pay less than he'd pay an American."

Jeans. Light-bulbs. Mercs.

Awesome.

You're paying for it. Don't forget that.
Shippy said he had been in business for only three months and had yet to land a contract for the Colombians.

He said he was interested in recruiting only Colombians who had been thoroughly vetted for criminal or human rights problems, to work for companies with U.S GOVERNMENT CONTRACTS.

Shippy said a trip to Baghdad had convinced him there was plenty of opportunity.

"THE U.S STATE DEPARTMENT IS VERY INTERESTED IN SAVING MONEY ON SECURITY NOW," Shippy said. "Because they're driving the prices down, we're seeking Third World people to fill the positions."
Good for you.

"That's the business of war, man."

Yep.

Dick and Don have made a lot of people...a lot of money.

My head hurts.

More later...

BTW. The average Iraqi sees NO DIFFERENCE between a dude in Army issued-fatigues and a dude in "private security" gear. Methinks some of the mercs...are making it tough for the "non-private" forces in Iraq, i.e. our soldiers. And that ain't right.

*

Off to start my own private security firm.

"There's gold in them 'thar hills!"

Saturday, July 30, 2005

One Story

One story today:

"More Troops Developing Latent Mental Disorders"

Typical bullshit mainstream-media headline.

The REAL headline is simple:

"30% of the US Troops Returning From Iraq - Have MENTAL HEALTH PROBLEMS"

Unacceptable.
WASHINGTON - THIRTY PERCENT of U.S. troops returning from the Iraq war have developed stress-related mental health problems three to four months after coming home, the Army’s surgeon general said Thursday.
So wrong.
The problems include anxiety, depression, nightmares, anger and an inability to concentrate, said Lt. Gen. Kevin Kiley and other military medical officials. A smaller number of troops, often with more severe symptoms, were diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD, a serious mental illness.

*

Military medical officials, however, cautioned against people reading their data as suggesting THE WAR had driven so many soldiers over the edge.
Ha.

It would be crazy to suggest that WAR pushes people over the edge.
Instead, they characterized the anxiety and stress as NORMAL REACTIONS to combat, seeing dead and mutilated bodies, and feeling helpless to stop a violent situation.
How about - fighting in a country that was suposed to "great them as liberators" - and dealing with a vicious insurgency?
Still, such reactions can lead to problems with spouses and children, substance abuse and just day-to-day life, they said.

*

Truck drivers and convoy guards in Iraq are developing mental health problems in greater numbers than other troops, Ritchie said, suggesting the long hours on the road, constantly under threat of attack, are taking their toll.
Could you possibly imagine...driving that gauntlet?

Man.
Historically, mental health problems have always been a part of warfare, and were looked at systematically when shellshock cases accounted for significant losses during World War I.

(Ritchie) said mental health cases ebb and flow during a war, and suggested they are sometimes connected to a soldier’s sense of the success of the larger war effort.
That statement gets me - because the blame game is ON.

I can hear Rush Limbaugh now - blaming the mental health problems on the "libs" and the "democrat" anti-war movement.

Not on the men who put these guys into a FUCKED situation.

Man.

These guys better get ALL the care they need. And they better not spend one f*ing dime of their own money on health care.

"You're not sick, soldier. We see no signs of PTSD in ya. So why don't you just take a vacation, and forget about all that other stuff..."

Mor later...

Friday, July 29, 2005

Bizzarro-America

More news from Bizzarro-America:

AtriosState Dept admits Bolton gave inaccurate answers

This Reuters article re: John Bolton is obviously from the Bizzarro-America...because it's getting NO PLAY here in Bush-America.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The State Department reversed itself on Thursday night and acknowledged that President Bush's U.N. ambassador nominee gave Congress inaccurate information about an investigation he was involved in.
In other words...he lied to the Senate.

A BIG DEAL in Bizzarro-America...but not here.
The acknowledgment came after the State Department had earlier insisted nominee John Bolton's "answer was truthful" when he said he had not been questioned or provided information to jury or government investigations in the past five years.

"When Mr. Bolton completed his form during the Senate confirmation process he did not recall being interviewed by the State Department inspector general. Therefore his form as submitted was inaccurate in this regard and he will correct the form," State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said.
Well if he didn't recall...that's cool.
Earlier, Sen. Joseph Biden of Delaware said he had information Bolton was interviewed as part of a State Department-CIA joint investigation on intelligence lapses that led to the Bush administration's pre-Iraq war claim that Iraq tried to buy uranium from Niger.
Does anyone care about this stuff? I mean...Jesus.

No?

Because I'll write about other junk.

I happen to know - from very good sources - that Lindsey Lohan DOES party too much, and that my friend Rob "M20" Thomas IS NOT gay, and that Tom & Katie WILL ADOPT at some point in the future.

How about that?

"Yes!"

What about this?

Senate's Leader Veers From Bush Over Stem Cells

"Nope. Not important."
WASHINGTON, July 28 - In a break with President Bush, the Senate Republican leader, BILL FRIST, has decided to SUPPORT A BILL to expand federal financing for embryonic STEM CELL RESEARCH, a move that could push it closer to passage and force a confrontation with the White House, which is threatening to veto the measure.

*

While human embryonic stem cell research is still at a very early stage, the limitations put in place in 2001 will, over time, slow our ability to bring potential new treatments for certain diseases," Mr. Frist says, according to a text of the speech provided by his office Thursday evening. "Therefore, I believe the president's policy should be modified."
TRANSLATION: "We're being stupid here. There's SO MUCH money to be made with stem cell 'research.' 'Specially if we come up with some brand spankin' new 'treatments.' We'll all get...so fucking rich that...I think the President should, you know, rethink his position. I mean, he's an oil guy, I know, but once we show him the numbers, I'm sure he'll come around. Jim Dobson, too."

Frist is in the business of medicine, BTW. The for-profit business of medicine.

More later...

Thursday, July 28, 2005

Fun with Profanity

Arianna Huffington gives us one of the best little details so far re: Rove-gate.

Basically, it's Arianna's position that Judy Miller went nuclear after Joe Wilson's op-ed piece appeared in HER paper. And went hunting.

From Arianna's blog.
Not everyone in the Times building is on the same page when it comes to Judy Miller. The official story the paper is sticking to is that Miller is a heroic martyr, sacrificing her freedom in the name of journalistic integrity.

But a very different scenario is being floated in the halls. Here it is: It's July 6, 2003, and Joe Wilson's now famous op-ed piece appears in the Times, raising the idea that the Bush administration has "manipulate[d]" and "twisted" intelligence "to exaggerate the Iraqi threat."

Miller, who has been pushing this manipulated, twisted, and exaggerated intel in the Times for months, goes ballistic. Someone is using the pages of her own paper to call into question the justification for the war -- and, indirectly, much of her reporting.

The idea that intelligence was being fixed goes to the heart of Miller's credibility.

So she calls her friends in the intelligence community and asks, Who is this guy?
I'm sure she said, "Who THE FUCK is this fucking asshole?!"

But that's just me.
She finds out he's married to a CIA agent. She then passes on the info about Mrs. Wilson to Scooter Libby (Newsday has identified a meeting Miller had on July 8 in Washington with an "unnamed government official"). Maybe Miller tells Rove too -- or Libby does. The White House hatchet men turn around and tell Novak and Cooper. The story gets out.
Read the whole piece.

*

More fun with profanity and the "Unidentified Iraqi" quote of the day.

"The terrorists are attacking the infrastructure, the children and all of Iraq," said one Iraqi man who preferred not to be identified. "They are enemies of humanity without religion or any sort of ethics. They have attacked my community today and I will now take the fight to the terrorists."

REAL QUOTE:

"Aaaggghhh. My...truck! They blew up my fucking...burrito truck! Goddmmit! Aaaggghhh! Fucking...bastards! I'll fucking kill you! Aaagghhh!!!"

*
This is an incredibly detailed break-down of Rove-gate...written by a dude named Roger Morris. (Morris was Senior Staff on the National Security Council under both Presidents Lyndon Johnson and Richard Nixon.) His piece was originally posted on the Green Institute's site.

His point? Condi is at the heart of the scandal.
She alone among senior officials was knowing and complicitous at every successive stage of the great half-baked yellow cake fraud.

She alone was the White House peer—and in national security matters the superior—to Rove and Libby, who never could have acted without her collusion in peddling Plame’s identity.

She as much as anyone had a stake in smearing Wilson by any and all means at hand.

If Rove and Libby are to be held criminally or at least politically accountable for a breach of national security, our “mushroom cloud” secretary of state should certainly be in the dock with them.
Read the whole piece if you can.

More later...

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

The Unidentified Iraqi

Strong language today. Brace yourself.

*

Another crazy story from CNN:

U.S. military admits error in news releases - Statements had similar quotes from 'unidentified Iraqi'

Actually, the 'unidentified Iraqi' is a fake.

That's the "error."

Read on.
BAGHDAD (CNN) -- The U.S. military expressed regret Monday for issuing news releases about two separate attacks in Iraq that included almost identical quotes attributed to an unidentified Iraqi.

In both statements, the military quoted an Iraqi calling the attackers "enemies of humanity" and vowing to "take the fight to the terrorists," the latter an expression President Bush frequently has used in speeches.
"Do we have any 'unidentified Iraqi' quotes around here?"

"Yeah. Here's one. One that includes the 'take the fight to the terrorists' line."

"Good. They've been wanting us to, uh, push that one."
In the first news release, issued after a July 13 Baghdad bombing that killed mostly youngsters, an unidentified Iraqi spoke of terrorists attacking "the children."

In the second release, sent out after an attack Sunday near a police station in the capital, an unidentified Iraqi referred to strikes on "the ISF," or Iraqi Security Forces.

Task Force Baghdad with the Army's 3rd Infantry Division released both statements.

After the media contacted officials Sunday on the similarities, the military reissued the latest release without the quote.

"Task Force Baghdad Public Affairs regrets the confusion regarding two press releases issued in support of our operations July 24," said a statement Monday.

Although not referring to the quote in Sunday's release, it said there was "a draft press release which, due to an administrative error, was mistakenly issued on behalf of the 3rd Infantry Division."
Administrative error.

Ha!

Some dude forgot to remove the "ISF" thing from the copy.
Below are the two news releases from the U.S. military with the similar quotes:

From Sunday:

" 'The terrorists are attacking the infrastructure, the ISF and all of Iraq. They are enemies of humanity without religion or any sort of ethics. They have attacked my community today and I will now take the fight to the terrorists,' said one Iraqi man who preferred not to be identified."
Said one Iraqi man...who preferred not to be identified...because he didn't exist.

"The terrorists are attacking the infrastructure, the ISF and all of Iraq. They are enemies of humanity without religion or any sort of ethics. They have attacked my community today and I will now take the fight to the terrorists."

Guys?

NO ONE TALKS LIKE THAT.

that's the giveaway.

They talk like this: "Those motherfuckers blew up my fucking business, man!"

"Goddammit. I mean...shit...they killed my fucking car!"

"Do you see what happens, Larry? When you fuck a stranger in the ass?!"
From July 13:

" 'The terrorists are attacking the infrastructure, the children and all of Iraq,' said one Iraqi man who preferred not to be identified. 'They are enemies of humanity without religion or any sort of ethics. They have attacked my community today and I will now take the fight to the terrorists.' "
Sloppy.

Again, it's as simple as this: "Those fucking assholes blew up my neighbor's kid," said one Iraqi man who preferred not to be identified. "I'm sick of this shit. I swear to God, if I had a gun, I fucking shoot 'em all."

*

No need for the fake Arab/English translation and 10th Century world-play.

It's bad b-movie writing.

Capice?

My head hurts already and it's not even 9:00.

Christian Publisher Pans POTTER, Presents Bible-Based Comic Alternative

Noooooo!
Many people, including some Christian parents and even a number of Christian writers and cultural commentators, claim (the) best-selling series by British author J.K. Rowling is harmless and even contains some morally positive messages. Meanwhile, Christian author Connie Neal has written a book called The Gospel According to Harry Potter, in which she contends that the sorcery so many Christians condemn in Harry Potter is only a literary device and that the books contain biblical messages that can be used to teach children about good and evil.

But TIM TODD protests that Christians who believe these wildly successful children's books about witchcraft and sorcery are really Christian allegories are being led astray. And in hopes of disabusing kids and adults alike, he is offering an entertaining, biblically sound alternative to Harry Potter in comic book form called Harry Polarity and the Sinister Sorcery Satire.
That...is a horrible title.
"The things that concern me about the Harry Potter series," the preacher and Christian publisher notes, "are things like sacrificing animals and emphasizing power, regardless of good or evil. Or offering up blood sacrifices, and things like boiling what seems to be a baby alive in a cauldron, or being possessed by demons -- these are not things that we want to have our children subjected to."
No. We'll just wait 'til the "children" are in high school. THEN we'll tell them about "being possessed by demons."

Jesus Christ.

More later...

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Dios mio, man!

QUINTANA -I see you rolled your way into the semis. Dios mio, man. Liam and me? We're gonna fuck you up.

DUDE - Yeah well, that's just, ya know, like, your opinion, man.

*

Okay. Stick with me today. There's a new twist to an old story. (Regular readers - all 2 of you - of this blog will recognize the first part of the story.)

Let's start the bits from my old post:

This was headline - from the LA Times - back on July 8:

"Kidnappers in Iraq Kill Egyptian Envoy"

* Ihab Sherif is the highest-ranking hostage slain since the war began. The Al Qaeda wing in the country claims responsibility *

The info:
BAGHDAD — Al Qaeda's Iraq wing said Thursday that it had carried out "the verdict of God" and executed Egypt's top envoy to Baghdad, who was kidnapped from a street in the capital five days earlier.

The Egyptian government confirmed the death of the diplomat, Ihab Sherif, saying he had "lost his life at the hands of terrorism which trades in Islam."

*

An Iraqi official who asked not to be identified told the Los Angeles Times earlier that Sherif may have been lured to the scene of his abduction with the promise of meeting with representatives of Iraqi insurgents.

Before word of the execution became public, Interior Minister BAYAN JABR expressed dismay that some diplomats had attempted to negotiate with armed opposition groups privately, but he did not name the Egyptian.

"Some of them go to places on their own in order to meet some insurgents," the minister said. "We warned about doing such things before, as the results could be very serious."
So that's the story right?

Nope.

Buried within this piece? Bad B-Movie stuff:
JABR announced that within the last 10 days, Iraqi authorities had rolled up a SECRET CELL OF TURNCOAT OFFICERS WITH TIES to Zarqawi's AL-QAEDA branch WITHIN the upper echelons of an ELITE COMMANDO FORCE.
One more time:
Jabr announced that within the last 10 days, Iraqi authorities had rolled up a secret cell of turncoat officers with ties to Zarqawi's Al Qaeda branch within the upper echelons of an elite commando force.
"Dios mio, man!"
"The intent of this group was to conduct assassinations inside the brigade and an operation to totally blow up the Ministry of Interior headquarters," he said.
"Dios mio, man!"
Eight suspected officers, including three with the rank of BRIGADIER GENERAL, were among ex-Iraqi army officers recruited last year from Baghdad and northern Babil province, an area called the "triangle of death" because it is a hotbed of the Sunni Arab-led INSURGENCY.
"Look, I've got certain information, certain things have come to light, and uh, has it ever occurred to you, man, that given the nature of all this new shit, that, uh, instead of running around blaming me, that this whole thing might just be, not, you know, not just such a simple, but uh--you know?"
Jabr also announced the arrest of a suspect allegedly in possession of a computer hard drive containing names, addresses and other personal details of 7,000 public officials ranking as high as Prime Minister Ibrahim Jafari, underscoring the extent of infiltration by insurgents within the fledgling government.
"Well, okay, you're not privy to all the new shit, so uh, you know, but that's what you pay me for. Speaking of which, would it be possible for me to get my twenty grand in cash?"
The man arrested came under police suspicion after he checked into a Baghdad hotel and began spending "ENORMOUS AMOUNTS OF CASH," Jabr said.
That's the old story.

CUT TO the "NEW SHIT."

From CNN.

U.S. study: Insurgents infiltrate Iraq police

Yep.
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- INSURGENTS and other CRIMINALS have INFILTRATED Iraqi police ranks due to poor screening procedures by U.S. forces, according to a joint report released Monday by the U.S. Defense Department and State Department.
"We released what?!"

"A joint report, sir."

"Dios mio, man!"
"Recruitment and vetting procedures are faulty," said the report from the inspectors general of both departments.

"Despite recent improvements, too many recruits are marginally literate; some show up for training with criminal records or physical handicaps."
CUT TO:

EXT - IRAQI RECRUITING CENTER - DAY

For obvious comedy.

"Uh, you don't have any legs, man."

"'Tis but a scratch!"

"Okay then."
The 100-page report went on to say there was "sufficient evidence to conclude" that insurgents were "among the ranks of the Iraq police service."

Insurgents have carried out numerous bombings at Iraqi police and army recruiting centers -- many of the attacks occurring as potential recruits waited in long lines outside.

More than 1,600 police have been killed in attacks in the past year, the report said.
It never ends.

I mean - when can we - why doesn't - you know - is anybody - what the - I mean - Jesus Christ - what the - isn't this - this is all - this is all fucked!

Grr.

Whatever.

More later...

Sunday, July 24, 2005

Sunday Junk

Lotta stuff today.

First:

Britain Says Man Killed by Police Had No Tie to Bombings

Oops.
LONDON, July 23 - Scotland Yard admitted Saturday that a man police officers gunned down at point-blank range in front of horrified subway passengers on Friday HAD NOTHING TO DO WITH the investigation into the bombing attacks here.

The man was identified by police as Jean Charles de Menezes, a 27-year-old Brazilian, described by officers as an electrician on his way to work.
Blimey.
A cousin of the dead man, interviewed on Brazil's leading television network, identified him as João Alves Menezes and said he was an electrician who had been working in England for more than three years. The cousin, Alex Pereira Alves, identified Mr. Menezes' body in London, the network said.

"How could they have done such a thing as to kill him from behind?" Mr. Alves told the Globo Television Network. "How could they have confused and killed a light-skinned person who had no resemblance at all to an Asian?"
Gee. I wonder.

*

You know, if things get really nutty in New York...can you imagine the chaos if police start chasing people who simply look suspicious or "look like" terrorists?

"Dogs and cats living together...mass hysteria!"

My God: I mean...pick your subway platform. Where do you start?

*

There's long been a story out there 'bout the way that W would play games with his siblings and cousins: Dude was the oldest Bushie, but dude would play to win...and would change the rules in the middle of the game to ensure victory.

Having said that...

White House Won't Show All Roberts Papers

Waaagh.
WASHINGTON - The Bush administration does not intend to release all memos and others documents written by Supreme Court nominee John Roberts during his tenure with two Republican administrations, a White House representative said Sunday.

Fred D. Thompson (R- LAW & ORDER), the former Tennessee senator who is guiding Roberts through the nomination process on behalf of the White House, said material that would come under attorney-client privilege would be withheld.
Is Fred guiding Roberts through the nomination as himself...or the character (D.A. Arthur Branch) he plays on TV?
Sen. Patrick Leahy (news, bio, voting record), D-Vt., said other nominees, including Chief Justice William Rehnquist, have provided material they wrote in confidence while working in the Justice Department.

"There's so much precedence for that," said Leahy, the senior Democrat on the committee. "It's a total red herring to say, 'Oh, we can't show this.' And of course there is no lawyer-client privilege. Those working in the solicitor general's office are not working for the president. They're working for you and me and all the American people," he told ABC's "This Week."
No.

If you work for Bush...you work for Bush. NOT the American people.

Which brings us to...Frank Rich.

Eight Days in July

Key bits from Rich's editorial re: the attack on Joe Wilson:
When the president decided not to replace Sandra Day O'Connor with a woman, why did he pick a white guy and not nominate the first Hispanic justice, his friend Alberto Gonzales? Mr. Bush was surely not scared off by Gonzales critics on the right (who find him soft on abortion) or left (who find him soft on the Geneva Conventions).

It's Mr. Gonzales's proximity to this scandal that inspires real fear.
The next excerpt is key:
As White House counsel, (Gonzales) WAS THE ONE FIRST NOTIFIED that the Justice Department, at the request of the C.I.A., had opened an investigation into the outing of Joseph Wilson's wife.

That notification came at 8:30 p.m. on Sept. 29, 2003, but it took Mr. Gonzales 12 MORE HOURS to inform the White House staff that it must "preserve all materials" relevant to the investigation.

This 12-hour delay, he has said, was sanctioned by the Justice Department, but since the department was then run by John Ashcroft, a Bush loyalist who refused to recuse himself from the Plame case, inquiring Senate Democrats would examine this 12-hour delay as closely as an 181?2-minute tape gap.

"Every good prosecutor knows that any delay could give a culprit time to destroy the evidence," said Senator Charles Schumer, correctly, back when the missing 12 hours was first revealed almost two years ago.

A new Gonzales confirmation process now would have quickly devolved into a neo-Watergate hearing. Mr. Gonzales was in the thick of the Plame investigation, all told, for 16 months.
God, are they good.

The WH is just a well oiled machine. Having said that...they never expected the anger that's coming from some CIA folk re: Valerie Plame. They had everyone...fairly well...intimidated.

Not anymore

So here we are - in the middle of a growing scandal. With more leaks coming from...?

Back to the article:
Once the unthreatening Ashcroft-controlled investigation began, there was another comfy three months.

Only after that did Patrick Fitzgerald, the special counsel, take over and put the heat on. Only after that did investigators hustle to seek Air Force One phone logs and did Mr. Bush feel compelled to hire a private lawyer. But by then the conspirators, drunk with the hubris characteristic of this administration, had already been quite careless.

It was during that pre-Fitzgerald honeymoon that Scott McClellan declared that both Karl Rove and Dick Cheney's chief of staff, Lewis Libby, had personally told him they were "not involved in this" - neither leaking any classified information nor even telling any reporter that Valerie Plame worked for the C.I.A.

*

Most fertile - and apparently ground zero for Mr. Fitzgerald's investigation - is the period at the very outset when those plotting against Mr. Wilson felt safest of all: those eight days in July 2003 between the Wilson Op-Ed, which so infuriated the administration, and the retaliatory Novak column.

It was during that long week, on a presidential trip to Africa, that Colin Powell was seen on Air Force One brandishing the classified State Department memo mentioning Valerie Plame, as first reported by The New York Times.

That memo may have been the genesis of an orchestrated assault on the Wilsons.
Which goes back to my old point: Who had THIS conversation during "those eight days?"
"Joe Wilson? Who the fuck does he think he is?!"

"Career diplomat, sir. Plays both sides of the fence."

"The fuck he does! I want a report - on every aspect of his miserable fucking life - yesterday!"

"Done and done, sir."
And...who read that report?

KnowwhatImsaying?

*

Quick time-out from Rove-gate.

Dozens of Chemicals Found in Most Americans' Bodies

According to the LA Times, "The concentration is especially high in children, a national study says. But experts aren't sure what the health effects are."

How about - I don't know - CANCER?
In the largest study of chemical exposure ever conducted on human beings, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported Thursday that most American children and adults were carrying in their bodies dozens of pesticides and toxic compounds used in consumer products, many of them linked to potential health threats.

The report documented bigger doses in children than in adults of many chemicals, including some pyrethroids, which are in virtually every household pesticide, and phthalates, which are found in nail polish and other beauty products as well as in soft plastics.
I'd like to add my own findings: The chemicals found in and around...

Red Lobster
Home Towm Buffet
Miracle Whip
Zacky Farms
Sunny Delight
McDonald's
Tombstone Pizza
Carl's Jr.
TV Dinners
Applebee's
Store bought burritos
Mountain Dew
Slurpees
Oscar Meyer Bologna
Lunchables
Velveeta
Power Bars
Taco Bell

And KFC.

And Doritos.

Ever eaten a whole bag? Takes a day off your life.
The discovery of pyrethroids in most people is especially important, as no one had looked for them in the human body before. Pyrethroids are synthetic versions of natural compounds found in flowers, and they have been considered safer than older pesticides, such as DDT and chlordane, that build up in the environment and have been banned in the United States.

But in high doses, pyrethroids are toxic to the nervous system. They are the second most common class of pesticides that result in poisoning. At low doses, they might alter hormones.

The compounds are used in large volumes in farm and household pesticides and are sprayed by public agencies to kill mosquitoes.
I loved "Raid"commercials when I was a kid. Wanted the stuff in the house.

Used to spray myself in the face. 'Splains a lot about me.

Onward Christian Soldiers.

Here's an interesting bit from UK's Guardian:

Bush aide misled FBI, say reports

Quickly:
The investigation into the White House leak of a CIA agent's identity is now focusing on whether two top administration officials provided misleading statements to the FBI, it was reported yesterday.

According to press accounts, Karl Rove, the president's chief political adviser, and Lewis "Scooter" Libby, the vice-president's chief of staff, both provided testimony that was later contradicted by other evidence.
More importantly...
Meanwhile, a PARALLEL INVESTIGATION is under way into who FORGED the NIGER DOCUMENTS.
You know, the ones that Bush & Co. used to go to war. And to make that little 16-word statement in his now famous 2003 State of the Union address.
They are known to have been passed to an Italian journalist by a former Italian defence intelligence officer, Rocco Martino, in October 2002, but their origins have remained a mystery.

Mr Martino has insisted to the Italian press that he was "a tool used by someone for games much bigger than me", but has not specified who that might be.
Please read my post on Thursday for Ray McGovern's thoughts on "who that might be."

THIS IS HUGE.
A source familiar with the inquiry said investigators were examining whether former US intelligence agents may have been involved in possible collaboration with IRAQI EXILES determined to prove that Saddam Hussein had a nuclear programme.
Former US Intelligence...and Iraqi exiles: That would be some Neo-Con folk...and Ahmed Chalabi.

Man, this is huge.

*

"We need a document. Something that proves...something."

"Give me ten minutes."

"I like your style, dude."

"Well, I like your style, too, man. Got a whole cowboy thing going."

*

And another note re: John Bolton - a sort of footnote to my post on Friday re: Bolton's past efforts to get info on opponents.

This is from yesterday's Washington Note.
TWN has just learned from a highly placed source -- and in the right place to know -- that John Bolton was a regular source for Judith Miller's New York Times WMD and national security reports.
Wow.
The source did not have any knowledge on whether Bolton was one of Miller's sources on the Valerie Plame story she was preparing, but argues that he was a regular source otherwise.
Related to Rove-gate?

"No."

I didn't think so.

Finally, THE WHOLE ENCHILADA FROM HENRY (D-CA) WAXMAN'S OFFICE.

Waxman put together a great time-line for Rove-gate.
On July 14, 2003, columnist Robert Novak revealed that the wife of Ambassador Joseph Wilson, Valerie Plame Wilson, was a covert CIA agent. This disclosure of classified information has triggered a criminal investigation by a Special Counsel and led to calls for congressional investigations.

The Novak column, however, appears to be only one of multiple leaks of Ms. Wilson's identity. As this fact sheet documents, there appear to be at least 11 separate instances in which Administration officials disclosed information about Ms. Wilson's identity and association with the CIA.

Under Executive Order 12958, the White House is required to investigate any reports of security breaches and take "prompt corrective action," such as suspending the security clearances of those involved. Unlike prosecutions for criminal violations, which require "knowing" and "intentional" disclosures, the executive order covers a wider range of unauthorized breaches, including the "negligent" release of classified information.

There is no evidence that the White House has complied with its obligation to investigate any of the 11 reported instances of security breaches relating to Ms. Wilson or to apply administrative sanctions to those involved.
Click on the link to read the timeline and the "11 reported instances" of security breaches.

A MUST, MUST READ.

And a great way to see Rove-gate in it's current entirety.

TTFN.

Friday, July 22, 2005

TGIF

"Joe Wilson. Who the fuck does he think he is?!"

"He's a career diplomat, sir. Plays both sides of the fence."

"Bullshit. I want a report - on every aspect of his miserable fucking life - on my desk - now!"

"Yes, sir."

WHO HAD THAT KIND OF CONVERSATION? WHO WENT DIGGING - AND FOUND OUT THAT WIFEY WAS CIA IN THE FIRST PLACE?

*

"Interest. Are you interested? I know you are because it's fuck or walk."

*

For Two Aides in Leak Case, 2nd Issue Rises

Excerpts:
WASHINGTON, July 21 - At the same time in July 2003 that a C.I.A. operative's identity was exposed, two key White House officials who talked to journalists about the officer were also working closely together on a related underlying issue: whether President Bush was correct in suggesting earlier that year that Iraq had been trying to acquire nuclear materials from Africa.
He wasn't "correct."
The two issues had become inextricably linked because Joseph C. Wilson IV, the husband of the unmasked C.I.A. officer, had questioned Mr. Bush's assertion, prompting a damage-control effort by the White House that included challenging Mr. Wilson's standing and his credentials.

People who have been briefed on the case said the White House officials, Karl Rove and I. Lewis Libby, were helping prepare what became the administration's primary response to criticism that a FLAWED PHRASE about the nuclear materials in Africa had been in Mr. Bush's State of the Union address six months earlier.
Flawed phrase?!

The phrase was WRONG!
They had exchanged e-mail correspondence and drafts of a proposed statement by George J. Tenet, then the director of central intelligence, to explain how the disputed WORDING had gotten into the address.
"Someone forgot to hit the 'delete' key thing?"

"That's a good one."
Mr. Rove, the president's political strategist, and Mr. Libby, the chief of staff for Vice President Dick Cheney, coordinated their efforts with Stephen J. Hadley, then the deputy national security adviser, who was in turn consulting with Mr. Tenet.

At the same time, they were grappling with the fallout from an Op-Ed article on July 6, 2003, in The New York Times by Mr. Wilson, a former diplomat, in which he criticized the way the administration had used intelligence to support the claim in Mr. Bush's speech.

The work done by Mr. Rove and Mr. Libby on the Tenet statement during this intense period has not been previously disclosed. People who have been briefed on the case discussed this critical time period and the events surrounding it to demonstrate that Mr. Rove and Mr. Libby were not involved in an orchestrated scheme to discredit Mr. Wilson or disclose the undercover status of his wife, Valerie Wilson, but were intent on clarifying the use of intelligence in the president's address.
What spin.

They were not involved...in a scheme...to discredit Wilson...but intent on clarifying the African intelligence.

What the fuck does that mean?!

The clarified the intelligence by going after Wilson. That WAS the scheme.
The special counsel in the case, Patrick J. Fitzgerald, has been examining this period of time to determine whether the officials' work on the Tenet statement led in some way to the disclosure of Ms. Wilson's identity to Robert D. Novak, the syndicated columnist, according to the people who have been briefed.

It is not clear what information Mr. Rove and Mr. Libby might have collected about Ms. Wilson as they worked on the Tenet statement.
"Hmm. This is interesting. Joe is married."

"Damn. Was hoping he liked young dudes."
Mr. Rove has said he learned her name from Mr. Novak. Mr. Libby has declined to discuss the matter.
Ugh.

Here's the deal: The Neo-Cons were pissed that some people (Joe Wilson, Richard Clarke, etc) tried to call them out with FACTS...and went after everyone that did.

Again - that's how they tried to "clarify" their "use of intelligence."

*

Who else went digging?

Michael Isikoff and John Barry had this little piece from the May 9 Newsweek/MSNBC thing.
HEARINGS: Bolton Blunders

U.S. Senate Democrats, still trying to quash the U.N. nomination of John Bolton, are looking for ammo in Bolton requests for National Security Agency electronic "intercept" reports containing the names of U.S. officials. (NSA rules require it to delete names of Americans caught by its eavesdropping network, but officials can request that the names be disclosed if they have a "need to know.")

Bolton's request for 10 intercepts with U.S. names has set off a D.C. guessing game: Did he want info to undermine rivals like Korea expert Jack Pritchard, Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage, or even Colin Powell? Was he trying to check up on U.S. representatives to nuclear talks between Iran and Europe? Hoping to find out what two members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee said to Iran's U.N. ambassador? Wondering what the NSA had on an unnamed U.S. journalist?

The NSA indicates it will this week deliver full documentation on Bolton's requests to the Senate Intelligence Committee, which then will have to figure out how to publicize the contents without leaking sensitive intel.
My point: Bolton and his loyal deputies went digging "before." To get info on "opponents."

I'm just saying.

Related to Rove-gate?

"No."

Right.

More later...

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Decision: Have you made your decision for Christ?

Keep selling the story, man.
BLAKE: A-B-C. A-always, B-be, C-closing. Always be closing! Always be closing!! A-I-D-A. Attention, interest, decision, action. Attention -- do I have your attention? Interest -- are you interested? I know you are because it's fuck or walk. You close or you hit the bricks. Decision -- have you made your decision for Christ? And action. A-I-D-A; get out there!
Doing my part to keep the Rove thing alive.

And, strangely, so is the Washington Post:

Plame's Identity Marked As Secret: Memo Central to Probe Of Leak Was Written By State Dept. Analyst

Can't wait for the day when Bush PARDONS one of his top capos.
A classified State Department memorandum central to a federal leak investigation contained information about CIA officer Valerie Plame in a paragraph marked "(S)" for secret, a clear indication that any Bush administration official who read it should have been aware the information was classified, according to current and former government officials.

Plame -- who is referred to by her married name, Valerie Wilson, in the memo -- is mentioned in the second paragraph of the three-page document, which was written on June 10, 2003, by an analyst in the State Department's Bureau of Intelligence and Research (INR), according to a source who described the memo to The Washington Post.

The paragraph identifying her as the wife of former ambassador Joseph C. Wilson IV was clearly marked to show that it contained classified material at the "secret" level, two sources said. The CIA classifies as "secret" the names of officers whose identities are covert, according to former senior agency officials.
Oops!

Now...some very key passages.
Prosecutors attempting to determine whether senior government officials knowingly leaked Plame's identity as a covert CIA operative to the media are investigating whether White House officials gained access to information about her from the memo, according to two sources familiar with the investigation.

The memo may be important to answering three central questions in the Plame case: Who in the Bush administration knew about Plame's CIA role? Did they know the agency was trying to protect her identity? And, who leaked it to the media?
Here's the REAL story:
Almost all of the memo is devoted to describing why STATE DEPARTMENT intelligence EXPERTS DID NOT BELIEVE CLAIMS that Saddam Hussein had in the recent past sought to purchase uranium from Niger.
Did you get that?

INR FOLK - CAREER INTELLIGENCE EXPERTS - DID NOT BELIEVE THE NEO-CONS.

That's why the Bushies are trying to sell a different story - if this thing goes any deeper, "someone" might re-examine the lies in the march to war.
Only two sentences in the seven-sentence paragraph mention Wilson's wife.

The memo was delivered to Secretary of State Colin L. Powell on July 7, 2003, as he headed to Africa for a trip with President Bush aboard AIR FORCE ONE. Plame was unmasked in a syndicated column by Robert D. Novak seven days later.
Who held that memo? What members of the Administration?

And what snacks did they pass out that day? Eagle Snacks?

Has Air Force One followed the American Airlines plan...and moved to the bagged lunch?

More:
The material in the memo about Wilson's wife was based on notes taken by an INR analyst who attended a Feb. 19, 2002, meeting at the CIA where Wilson's intelligence-gathering trip to Niger was discussed.

The memo was drafted June 10, 2003, for Undersecretary of State MARC GROSSMAN, WHO ASKED TO BE BROUGHT UP TO DATE ON INR'S OPPOSITION TO THE WHITE HOUSE VIEW that Hussein was trying to buy uranium in Africa.
That is KEY.

The memo was drafted...for Undersecretary of State Marc Grossman...who asked to be brought up to date on INR's oppposition to the White House view.

Which...we now know WAS WRONG.

Who asked Grossman to get this info?
The description of Wilson's wife and her role in the Feb. 19, 2002, meeting at the CIA was considered "a footnote" in a background paragraph in the memo, according to an official who was aware of the process.

It records that the INR analyst at the meeting opposed Wilson's trip to Niger because THE STATE DEPARTMENT, through other inquiries, ALREADY HAD DISPROVED THE ALLEGATION that Iraq was seeking uranium from Niger. Attached to the INR memo were the notes taken by the senior INR analyst who attended the 2002 meeting at the CIA.
Oh, really?

*

Former CIA analyst Ray McGovern has an interesting piece on the ORIGINAL "Niger" memo, the memo the Bushies "used" to make THEIR case against Hussein.

Here.

Excerpts:
We noted yesterday that the main motivation of the White House campaign to discredit the Wilsons had to do with “the particular lie that Joseph Wilson exposed and the essential role it played in the administration’s plans.  The lie was that Iraq was on the verge of acquiring nuclear weapons and that, despite Iraq’s inability to deliver such weapons on the U.S., this somehow posed a “grave and gathering” threat.

*

This was a problem, especially since U.N. inspectors and U.S. intelligence knew that Iraq’s nuclear program had been destroyed after the Gulf War and there was no persuasive evidence that Baghdad was moving to reconstitute it.  Even the intelligence imagery analysts, whom former CIA director John Deutch gave away to the Pentagon in 1996, could not come up with the evidence needed, despite very strong incentive to please their boss, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld.

What a welcome windfall, then, when a deus ex machina appeared in early 2002, in the form of a report alleging that Iraq was seeking uranium in the African country of Niger.  Since Iraq had no other use for uranium, the White House spin machine went into high gear, playing up the report as proof that Baghdad was reconstituting its nuclear weapons development program.  The intelligence analysts had to hold their noses—not only because of the dubious sourcing but because the substance of the report made little sense.  They knew (and Wilson confirmed) that all the uranium mined in Niger is controlled by a French-led international consortium that exercises super-strict control over exports from Niger.  It just couldn’t happen.
McGovern is basically saying that THIS memo was a fraud.
Who authored the forgery remains a mystery, but one that Congress has avoided trying to solve, even though many have expressed outrage at having been snookered into voting for war.  Senate intelligence committee chair Pat Roberts, R-Kan., has demonstrated a curious lack of curiosity. Nothing that ranking minority member Jay Rockefeller could do would persuade Roberts to ask the FBI to investigate.

Those searching for answers are reduced to asking the obvious: Cui bono?  Who stood to benefit from such a forgery? 

A no-brainer—those lusting for war on Iraq. 

And who might that be?  Look up the “neocon” writings on the website of the Project for the New American Century .  There you will find information on people like Michael Ledeen, “Freedom Analyst” at the American Enterprise Institute and a key strategist among “neoconservative” hawks in and out of the Bush administration.
And now...we're way down the rabbit hole.

Oh, look! There's a tunnel to Cheney's office. And John Bolton's. And Condi's!

Well I'll be.

More later...

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Let Go

I say, "Let go, let God" on the John Roberts thing: Doesn't seem like the dude's a turbo wing-nut (yet) and we have more important things to worry about. (Like Karl Rove and Scotter Libby and...?) Let the Senate Dems will do their job - if there's anything in the dude's closet, it'll come out in the next few weeks.

'Til then...re-focus on Rove-gate and the Bushies' march to war.

The Boston Globe is still focused. Specifically, on Scooter Libby:


Link to Cheney deepens ‘leak-gate’ scandal


Good column - from Santorum's modern day Sodom & Gomorrah:
THE NEWS that Vice President Dick Cheney’s chief of staff was the second possible source in the leaking of the identity of a CIA agent to Time magazine elevates the scandal to a whole new level.

*

But if Time's story holds, I. Lewis Libby’s involvement represents an even more insidious abuse of power.

*

Bush would invade Iraq over weapons of mass destruction that were never found. But Libby, Cheney, and the other influential right-wing hard-liners, such as Donald Rumsfeld, Paul Wolfowitz, Richard Armitage, Richard Perle, and Douglas Feith, saw their dreams come true. Back in the administration of the senior President Bush, Cheney was defense secretary and Libby and Wolfowitz were two of his aides who, after the first Gulf War left Saddam in power, drafted a document advocating ‘‘preemptive’’ war against possible threats.

They said the United States should be ‘‘postured to act independently when collective action cannot be orchestrated.’’

Such provocation was kept at bay when President Clinton beat Bush in 1992 and took office for eight years. But when the junior Bush became president in 2000, the hard right on foreign policy took the helm. They used the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11 as an excuse for invading Iraq, even though President Bush’s own 9/11 Commission found no tie between Saddam and 9/11.

Libby was in the thick of whipping up fear over the thinnest of evidence. The level to which Libby and Cheney stooped to get their war was highlighted by the momentous presentation of Saddam’s ‘‘threat’’ before the United Nations Security Council by then Secretary of State Colin Powell. Powell gave a presentation six weeks before the war where he said, ‘‘every statement I make today is backed up by sources, solid sources. These are not assertions.’’ Those assertions resulted in grudging acceptance of the war from many Democrats.

Virtually all of Powell’s solid sources fell apart when the United States turned Iraq upside down, killing thousands of Iraqi civilians in the process. He would have looked much worse had he listened to everything Libby and Cheney tried to feed him. It was Cheney’s staff who wrote the first draft of Powell’s UN speech. It was Libby who suggested, in strategy meetings at the White House, playing up every possible, conceivable threat of Saddam — with the emphasis on the word ‘‘conceive.’’

A US News and World Report story in the summer of 2003 quoted a senior administration official as saying Libby’s presentation ‘‘was over the top and ran the gamut from Al Qaeda to human rights to weapons of mass destruction. They were unsubstantiated assertions, in my view.’’

Powell, according to both US News and Vanity Fair, was so irritated by Libby’s hodgepodge of unsubstantiated facts that he threw documents into the air and said, ‘‘I’m not reading this. This is bull ...’’
Bullshit. The word is "bullshit." Which means...this document is bullshit.
Libby, whose nickname is Scooter, was particularly unhappy that Powell had thrown out sections of the presentation that would have attempted to link Al Qaeda to Saddam, including a discredited report that top 9/11 Al Qaeda airline hijacker Mohamed Atta had a meeting with an Iraqi intelligence official in Prague.

According to Vanity Fair, "Cheney’s office made one last ditch effort to persuade Powell to link Saddam and Al Qaeda and to slip the Prague story back into the speech. Only moments before Powell began speaking, Scooter Libby tried unsuccessfully to reach [Larry] Wilkerson by phone. Powell’s staff chief, by then inside the Security Council chamber, declined to take the call. ‘Scooter,’ said one State Department aide, ‘wasn’t happy.’"
Bet he used the "F Word."
According to Vanity Fair, Cheney himself urged Powell to go ahead and stake his national popularity on the nonexistent evidence by saying to Powell, ‘‘Your poll numbers are in the 70s. You can afford to lose a few points.’’
Genius. Genius. Genius.

"You can afford to lose a few points."

Classic Cheney.

Wait...I thought this "administration" didn't "rely" on polls?!

*

Back to Rove. From the American Prospect.

An Unlikely Story- Karl Rove's alibi would be easier to believe if he hadn't hidden it from FBI investigators in 2003.

Dude may have made a little mistake with the FBI.
White House deputy chief of staff Karl Rove did not disclose that he had ever discussed CIA officer Valerie Plame with Time magazine reporter Matthew Cooper during Rove’s first interview with the FBI, according to legal sources with firsthand knowledge of the matter.
Oops!
The omission by Rove created doubt for federal investigators, almost from the inception of their criminal probe into who leaked Plame's name to columnist Robert Novak, as to whether Rove was withholding crucial information from them, and perhaps even misleading or lying to them, the sources said.

Also leading to the early skepticism of Rove's accounts was the claim that although he first heard that Plame worked for the CIA from a journalist, he said could not recall the name of the journalist. Later, the sources said, Rove wavered even further, saying he was not sure at all where he first heard the information.
Rrrrrriiiiigggghhhhtttttt.
Rove's attorney, Robert Luskin, has said that Rove never knew that Plame was a covert officer when he discussed her CIA employment with reporters, and that he only first learned of her clandestine status when he read about it in the newspaper. Luskin did not return a telephone call today seeking comment for this story.

*

Finally, also driving Fitzgerald's investigation has been Rove's assertions that he only found out about Plame's status with the CIA from a journalist -- and one whose name he does not recall. But as The New York Times first disclosed on July 16, senior Bush administration officials first learned that Plame worked for the CIA from a CLASSIFIED BRIEFING PAPER on July 7, 2003, exactly a week before Novak's column naming Plame appeared and at the time that senior Bush administration officials were devising a strategy to discredit Wilson.

The classified memorandum, dated June 10, 2003, was written by MARC GROSSMAN, then the undersecretary of state for political affairs, and reportedly made claims similar to those made by Wilson: that the Bush administration had relied on faulty intelligence to exaggerate the threat posed by Hussein to make the case to go to war with Iraq. The report was circulated to then-Secretary of State Colin Powell and a slew of other senior administration officials who were then traveling with President Bush to Africa.

Fitzgerald has focused on whether Rove might have learned of Plame's identity from one of the many senior White House officials who read the memo, according to the Times account and attorneys whose clients have testified before the federal grand jury.
What happened on Air Force One? Who read "the memo?" Who talked to Rove?

And did anyone talk to Bush or Cheney?

Big questions...

More later...

Gas over $2.60 on Sunset & Fairfax.

Bastards.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Final Monologue

Another reminder:
"[W]e must remember the high standards that come with high office. This begins with careful adherence to the rules.

I expect every member of this Administration to stay well within the boundaries that define legal and ETHICAL conduct.

THIS MEANS AVOIDING EVEN THE APPEARANCE OF PROBLEMS.

This means checking and, if need be, double-checking that the rules have been obeyed. This means never compromising those rules. No one in the White House should be afraid to confront the people they work for, for ethical concerns. And no one should hesitate to confront me, as well."

Dude -- 1/29/01
CUE the "Smurf themesong":

"La la la la la la, la la la la la."

Here's Scott McClellan's latest monologue - with one simple set-up question.

Serious audition material for you thespians!
Q: Scott, the President seemed to raise the bar and add a qualifier today when discussing whether or not anybody would be dismissed for -- in the leak of a CIA officer's name, in which he said that he would -- if someone is found to have committed a crime, they would no longer work in this administration. That's never been part of the standard before, why is that added now?

MR. McCLELLAN: No, I disagree, Terry. I think that the President was stating what is obvious when it comes to people who work in the administration: that if someone commits a crime, they're not going to be working any longer in this administration. Now the President talked about how it's important for us to learn all the facts. We don't know all the facts, and it's important that we not prejudge the outcome of the investigation. We need to let the investigation continue. And the investigators are the ones who are in the best position to gather all the facts and draw the conclusions. And at that point, we will be more than happy to talk about it, as I indicated last week.

The President directed the White House to cooperate fully, and that's what we've been doing. We want to know what the facts are, we want to see this come to a successful conclusion. And that's the way we've been working for quite some time now. Ever since the beginning of this investigation, we have been following the President's direction to cooperate fully with it, so that we can get to the -- so that the investigators can get to the bottom of it. Yes, we've been through these issues over the course of the last week. And I know -- -- well what was said previously. You heard from the President today. And I think that you should not read anything into it more than what the President said at this point. And I think that's something you may be trying to do here.

We all serve at the pleasure of the President in this White House. The President -- you heard what he had to say on the matter. He was asked a specific question, and you heard his response. I'll leave it at what the President said.

You just heard from the President. He said he doesn't know all the facts. I don't know all the facts. We want to know what the facts are.

Because - I'll tell you why, because there's an investigation that is continuing at this point, and the appropriate people to handle these issues are the ones who are overseeing that investigation. There is a special prosecutor that has been appointed. And it's important that we let all the facts come out. And then at that point, we'll be glad to talk about it, but we shouldn't be getting into - We shouldn't be getting into prejudging the outcome.

The President has great faith in the American people and their judgment. The President is the one who directed the White House to cooperate fully in this investigation with those who are overseeing the investigation. And that's exactly what we have been doing. The President believes it's important to let the investigators do their work, and at that point, once they have come to a conclusion, then we will be more than happy to talk about it.

The President wants to see them get to the bottom of it as soon as possible. I share that view, as well. We want to know what the facts are, and the investigators are the ones who are drawing those -- are pulling together those facts, and then drawing conclusions.
Blah blah blah.

SUBTEXT: "We don't have to say 'no-thing,' 'coz we got plenty o' time to fix the outcome of this bullshit investigation."

Me 'ed hurts...

*

SUPERIOR run-down of the whole Plame thing from Bob Parry.

Here.

Interesting bit:
A key Republican defense of Rove has been that the White House deputy chief of staff only recycled rumors from reporters in 2003 when he told other reporters about Wilson’s wife, Valerie Plame, and her covert identity as a CIA officer who worked on issues related to weapons of mass destruction.

But two new facts contradict that assertion and show that Rove was coordinating his leaks about Plame with officials in Bush’s National Security Council and Vice President Dick Cheney’s office.

The first new piece of evidence is a little-noticed part of Time magazine correspondent Matthew Cooper's testimony last week before a federal grand jury in Washington.

Some news articles have noted Cooper’s statement that Rove brought up Wilson’s wife during an interview on July 11, 2003, and that Rove volunteered that she worked for “the agency” on WMD issues. Cooper said Rove cited these facts in claiming that Plame was responsible for Wilson’s trip to Africa in February 2002 to investigate whether Iraq was trying to obtain yellowcake uranium from Niger.

What’s been overlooked, however, is another part of Cooper’s account. Cooper said his notes reveal that Rove then added that “material was going to be declassified in the coming days that would cast doubt on Wilson’s mission and his findings.” In ending the conversation, Rove said, “I’ve already said too much,” according to Cooper. [Time, July 25, 2005, issue]

Rove’s assertion that he knew about plans to declassify material on Wilson indicates that Rove was not just a loose-lipped talker repeating stuff he’d heard from reporters, but he was a participant in internal White House discussions about how to counteract Wilson’s criticisms by releasing then-secret information.
Cool.

*

"Real players play at Barona Valley Ranch."

Huh?!

*

Check the Daily Kos and Talking Points Memo for updates.

*

Strange news from another star:

No. 10 Blocks Envoy's Book on Iraq

A British diplomat wants to publish a tell-all book re: Iraq - but the Blair-folk won't let him.
A controversial fly-on-the wall account of the Iraq war by one of Britain's most senior former diplomats has been blocked by Downing Street and the Foreign Office.

Publication of "The Costs of War" by Sir Jeremy Greenstock, UK ambassador to the UN during the build-up to the 2003 war and the Prime Minister's special envoy to Iraq in its aftermath, has been halted.

In an extract seen by The Observer, Greenstock describes the American decision to go to war as 'politically illegitimate' and says that UN negotiations 'never rose over the level of awkward diversion for the US administration'. Although he admits that 'honourable decisions' were made to remove the threat of Saddam, the opportunities of the post-conflict period were 'dissipated in poor policy analysis and narrow-minded execution'.

Regarded as a career diplomat of impeccable integrity, during his time in post-invasion Iraq, Greenstock became disillusioned with the Coalition Provisional Authority, led by Paul Bremer. Their relationship had deteriorated by the time Greenstock returned to Britain.

The decision to block the book until Greenstock removes substantial passages will be interpreted as an attempt by ministers to avoid further embarrassing disclosures over the conduct of the war and its aftermath from a highly credible source.
Hmm.

"In a free land, what do I get?"

More later...

Monday, July 18, 2005

We're Never Wrong!

Back when W was in campaign mode, dude promised to "restore honor and dignity" to the White House.

(This was Rove's way of slamming Clinton and keeping Monica in the minds of 'Mericans when they went to the polls. You see, there was no "Saddam Hussein" or "Osama" back then. Just Clinton and a blow job in the White House. Which, I GUARANTEE YOU, will happen there - with someone - today.)

Then, when W was elected, W said that his Administration must avoid...even the APPEARANCE of ethical problems.
"[W]e must remember the high standards that come with high office. This begins with careful adherence to the rules.

I expect every member of this Administration to stay well within the boundaries that define legal and ETHICAL conduct.

THIS MEANS AVOIDING EVEN THE APPEARANCE OF PROBLEMS.

This means checking and, if need be, double-checking that the rules have been obeyed. This means never compromising those rules. No one in the White House should be afraid to confront the people they work for, for ethical concerns. And no one should hesitate to confront me, as well." [Public Papers of the Presidents, 1/29/01]
Right-o.

So...where are we today?

Bush Vows to Fire Anyone CONVICTED of Leak

Damn. Karl can get back to the biz of running the White House again.
WASHINGTON -- President Bush said Monday that if anyone on his staff committed a CRIME in the CIA-leak case, that person will "no longer work in my administration." At the same time, Bush yet again sidestepped a question on the role of his top political adviser, Karl Rove, in the matter.
Snore.

That's the bar: Being CONVICTED of a crime.

And what are the chances of that - in a world where they control ALL branches of government?!

Bush lied about restoring honor. And dealing with the APPEARANCE of ethical problems. Period.

"What did you expect for nothing...rubber biscuit?"

We can still dream, though.

Great article on what drove these cats to attack Wilson in the LA Times:

Top Aides Reportedly Set Sights on Wilson

"Rove and Cheney chief of staff were intent on discrediting CIA agent's husband, prosecutors have been told."

The story:
WASHINGTON — Top aides to President Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney were intensely focused on DISCREDITING former Ambassador Joseph C. Wilson IV IN THE DAYS AFTER he wrote an op-ed article for the New York Times suggesting the administration MANIPULATED INTELLIGENCE to justify going to war in Iraq, federal investigators have been told.
Us "crazy lefties" have known about this aspect of the story from day one - glad it's finally coming to light.
Prosecutors investigating whether administration officials illegally leaked the identity of Wilson's wife, a CIA officer who had worked undercover, have been told that Bush's top political strategist, Karl Rove, and Cheney's chief of staff, I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, were especially intent on undercutting Wilson's credibility, according to people familiar with the inquiry.

Although lower-level White House staffers typically handle most contacts with the media, Rove and Libby began personally communicating with reporters about Wilson, prosecutors were told.

A source directly familiar with information provided to prosecutors said Rove's interest was so strong that it prompted questions in the White House. When asked at one point why he was pursuing the diplomat so aggressively, Rove reportedly responded: "HE'S A DEMOCRAT." Rove then cited Wilson's campaign donations, which leaned toward Democrats, the person familiar with the case said.
What a dick.

"He's a Deomcrat."

What a dick.
The disclosures about the officials' roles illustrate White House concern about Wilson's July 6, 2003, article, which challenged the administration's assertion that Iraq had sought to purchase nuclear materials. Wilson's article appeared as Rove and other Bush aides were preparing the 2004 RE-ELECTION campaign STRATEGY, which was built largely around the president's response to the SEPT. 11 terrorist attacks and the overthrow of Saddam Hussein.

It is not surprising that White House officials would be upset by an attack like Wilson's or seek to respond aggressively. But special prosecutor Patrick J. Fitzgerald is examining whether they or others crossed the legal line by improperly disclosing classified information, or whether they perjured themselves in testifying later about their actions. Both Rove and Libby have testified.
Key words! Rove, White House, RE-ELECTION STRATEGY, Sept. 11, Saddam Hussein.

Anything that threatened Rove's strategy? KA-BOOM!

*

CAN SOMEONE JUST WRITE AN ARTICLE ABOUT NIGER NOW?! A JOURNALIST? CAN WE GET WILSON'S "FINDINGS" OUT THERE IN THE PRESS? LET'S FIGURE THAT OUT!

We know Joe went to Africa. We know the White House IGNORED his findings. I'm sure some documents were produced. So what the fuck?!

"You want the truth? YOU CAN'T HANDLE THE TRUTH!"

Neither can the Bushies.

*

Here's ANOTHER lame GOP excuse for Rove. A new one - in an article that also presents Libby to John Q. Wal-Mart:

Reporter Says Cheney Aide Was a Source

Excerpts:
WASHINGTON - The vice president's chief of staff, Lewis Libby, was a source along with the president's chief political adviser for a Time story that identified a CIA officer, the magazine reporter said Sunday, further countering White House claims that neither aide was involved in the leak.

*

The only concession by any REPUBLICAN in the controversy came from Rep. Roy Blunt of Missouri, the third-ranking House Republican.

Asked about the White House's previous statements that Rove was not involved, Blunt told CBS' "Face the Nation" that spokesmen for the White House "need to be very thoughtful about what they say and be sure that their credibility is sustained."
Here's the new excuse:
Blunt said many people in Washington understood that Plame worked at the CIA and went to its headquarters every day.

It "certainly wouldn't be the first time that the CIA might have been OVERZEALOUS in sort of maintaining the kind of top-secret definition on things LONGER THAN THEY NEEDED TO," Blunt said.
Wow.

The CIA might have been overzealous - in hiding Valerie's identity. Longer than they needed to. Therefore...?

Wow.

What a dick.

"Today's GOP: Trust Us, We're NEVER Wrong!"

What a dick.

*

Phenomenal editorial from KOS this morning.

Should be in the NY Times:
In the days after the discovery of Deep Throat's identity, many people noted how Watergate would be impossible in today's political climate -- where partisanship trumps the truth inside a GOP machine so deeply entrenched in this country's governance structure that it controls the White House, House, Senate, Supreme Court, most appelate courts, and the media. And where the GOP can do no wrong, regardless of the ethical or criminal transgression.

It is quite instructive and shocking, even with this administration, that the outing of a CIA agent, her front company, and god knows how many other agents and operations, is met with a collective shrug from wingnut circles. While a blow job gave them the vapors, a genuine breach of national security gives them no pause, gives them no reason to abandon "the architect". Political power trumps everything -- even the safety of our nation.

Given what we know of the case, we know that Rove violated his non-disclose agreement. We know that Rove acted unethically, without regard to the consequences of his actions. Whether a crime has been committed remains to be seen, but shouldn't matter a whit.

*

Right-thinking people -- even Republicans -- should look at these unfolding events with horror.

*

But to modern-day Republicans and their apologists, they can do no wrong. No Republican's action is worthy of scorn or censure. They are perfect. Flawless. Immune to error. Godlike.

How someone could be reduced to that level is beyond me. Republicans have now sent notice that they place allegiance to party and power above their allegiance to the United States of America. To them, the elephant flies above the Stars and Stripes.
"More filth from the MoveOn wing of the Democrat party!"

And how.

TTFN...

Sunday, July 17, 2005

Exodus!

Here's a great idea:

"Christian Exodus Planned For South Carolina"

Not your regular run-of-the-mill "Christian-Exodus," but an Uber-right theocrat exodus.
Plans to reform our government to more Christian-like principals are in the works and we may feel the effects, right here in the Upstate. That is because South Carolina has been chosen as the place for hundreds, even thousands of Christians to move to, in hopes of impacting the government.
Genius.

Mormons did it in Utah.
Here, is South Carolina: the chosen location for the Christian Exodus, a non-profit group organizing Christians to move to the Palmetto State to concentrate the number of Christians in one location with the intent to influence how the state governs.
These are folks who want to put God's law before man's law, BTW.

Not sure if they want Jesus' law (love thy neighbor) or the laws in Deuteronomy (do not cook a young goat in its mother's milk).

We'll see.
The Group says they plan on having 2500 Christians moved to South Carolina by September 2006, and will begin several political campaigns at that time. They hope to have a major impact on State government by 2014.
I'm down with this plan...and encourage other groups to do the same.

Lessee...

All Irish folk to...PA? MASS? Which one looks the most like Ireland? We'd lose the beauty of the "west coast" with the landscape in PA, but, damn, there are already tons of Irish folk in PGH and PHL. We could take it over by X-mas.

Then again, we could paint all the towns on the Cape and make 'em look like Dingle.

MASS it is.

All metal fans to...New Mexico.

Yep. Albuquerque has long been the metal capitol of the world. Real metal - not false metal. We could rename the state "Oz" and turn Los Lunas into one giant outdoor metal-venue. Rob Halford for governor. Maiden as the state band. No taxes if you're a metal fan.

Slayer would be our army. That's all we'd need.

"And we'd kick everyone's ass!"

All DORKS - SciFi nerds, comic book dudes, toy collectors - to Washington state. VIDEO GAME COMPANIES, SOFTWARE NERDS AND SCI-FI WRITERS PAY NO TAXES: We'll turn the state into a "Federation," and will trade our intricate knowledge of science and technology with the world.

Our stations will broadcast nothing but "Battlestar," "Buffy" and the original "Star Wars."

Lenoard Nimoy will be our first "emperor."

We'll be on Mars before NASA for sure.

And, we'll build a laser to destroy Vancouver.

*

Onward Christian soldiers.

Frank Rich weighs in on "Rove-gate" and the Buhsies efforts to hide the real story:

Follow the Uranium


To the Bushies' false claims for war.
This case is about Iraq, not Niger.

The real victims are the American people, not the Wilsons. The real culprit - the big enchilada, to borrow a 1973 John Ehrlichman phrase from the Nixon tapes - is not Mr. Rove but the gang that sent American sons and daughters to war on trumped-up grounds and in so doing diverted finite resources, human and otherwise, from fighting the terrorists who attacked us on 9/11. That's why the stakes are so high: this scandal is about the unmasking of an ill-conceived war, not the unmasking of a C.I.A. operative who posed for Vanity Fair.

*

Once we were locked into the war, and no W.M.D.'s could be found, the original plot line was dropped with an alacrity that recalled the "Never mind!" with which Gilda Radner's Emily Litella used to end her misinformed Weekend Update commentaries on "Saturday Night Live."

The administration began its dog-ate-my-homework cover-up, asserting that the various warning signs about the uranium claims were lost "in the bowels" of the bureaucracy or that it was all the C.I.A.'s fault or that it didn't matter anyway, because there were new, RETROACTIVE RATIONALES TO JUSTIFY THE WAR.
Saddam was a bad-guy, the Iraqi people want to be liberated, we need to bring stability to the region, our buddies in the M-I complex needed another opportunity to get filthy rich, yada yada.
But the administration knows how guilty it is. That's why it has so quickly trashed any insider who contradicts its story line about how we got to Iraq, starting with the former Treasury secretary Paul O'Neill and the former counterterrorism czar Richard Clarke.

Next to White House courtiers of their rank, Mr. Wilson is at most a Rosencrantz or Guildenstern. The brief against the administration's drumbeat for war would be just as damning if he'd never gone to Africa.

But by overreacting in panic to his single Op-Ed piece of two years ago, the White House has opened a Pandora's box it can't slam shut. Seasoned audiences of presidential scandal know that there's only one certainty ahead: the timing of a Karl Rove resignation.

As always in this genre, the knight takes the fall at exactly that moment when it's essential to protect the king.
We'll see.

More later.

WHOA - Saddam Hussein has just been charged with killing 140 men! Just now!

Your new TOP STORY!

Time to re-talk about what a bad guy he was!

"Rove who?"

Saturday, July 16, 2005

Saturday

Lots of weird stuff today - NON-Rove, mostly.

But first, Daniel "NPR" Schorr's editorial re: Rove - which follows yesterday's sentiments re: THE LARGER PICTURE.

Rove Leak is Just Part of Larger Scandal:
Let me remind you that the underlying issue in the Karl Rove controversy is not a leak, but a war and how America was misled into that war.

In 2002 President Bush, having decided to invade Iraq, was casting about for a casus belli. The weapons of mass destruction theme was not yielding very much until a dubious Italian intelligence report, based partly on forged documents (it later turned out), provided reason to speculate that Iraq might be trying to buy so-called yellowcake uranium from the African country of Niger. It did not seem to matter that the CIA advised that the Italian information was "fragmentary and lacked detail.
So "someone" sent Wilson to Africa to look into those claims. He went, found nothing, and told the Bushies they were shit out of luck.

However...
No news is bad news for an administration gearing up for war. Ignoring Wilson's report, Cheney talked on TV about Iraq's nuclear potential. And the president himself, in his 2003 State of the Union address no less, pronounced: "The British government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa."

Wilson declined to maintain a discreet silence. He told various people that the president was at least mistaken, at most telling an untruth. Finally Wilson directly challenged the administration with a July 6, 2003 New York Times op-ed headlined, "What I didn't find in Africa," and making clear his belief that the president deliberately manipulated intelligence in order to justify an invasion.

One can imagine the fury in the White House. We now know from the e-mail traffic of Time's correspondent Matt Cooper that five days after the op-ed appeared, he advised his bureau chief of a supersecret conversation with Karl Rove who alerted him to the fact that Wilson's wife worked for the CIA and may have recommended him for the Niger assignment. Three days later, Bob Novak's column appeared giving Wilson's wife's name, Valerie Plame, and the fact she was an undercover CIA officer. Mr. Novak has yet to say, in public, whether Mr. Rove was his source. Enough is known to surmise that the leaks of Rove, or others deputized by him, amounted to retaliation against someone who had the temerity to challenge the president of the United States when he was striving to find some plausible reason for invading Iraq.

The role of Rove and associates added up to a small incident in a very large scandal - the effort to delude America into thinking it faced a threat dire enough to justify a war.
Yep. That's the deal.

Onward.

Did you know that the Army's DIVORCE RATE has jumped 80% since the beginning of Operation Desert Whatever?!

The LA Times has a crazy article out - entitled "Shrapnel From Home."

Long story short, dudes are coming home from Iraq to find their marriages & relationships in flames. An old story for military dudes, but the divorce rate seems to be higher than usual.
After surviving the chaos of Iraq, thousands of soldiers have become casualties of a fight they were poorly trained for: keeping control of their family lives during the separation of war. Men and women who feel lucky their units suffered few fatalities say they can name dozens who returned to empty houses, squandered bank accounts, divorce papers and restraining orders.
The Army divorce rate has JUMPED MORE THAN 80% since the fighting began overseas in response to the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. The courts around Ft. Hood, the Army's largest post, may have to add another judge to handle the caseload. Divorce lawyers hire extra staff whenever a division prepares to come home.

To a soldier in battle, the threat of a family falling apart can be a dangerous distraction. "That's probably the worst part about being over there," said Hall, now back at Ft. Hood and facing a marriage so damaged it may not survive. "Your wife's cheating on you, you know she's been spending all your money the entire time, and there's nothing you can do about it. You think about that more than you do a bomb on the side of the road."
Dude, please, try to think about the bomb on the side of the road. You can get another wife. A new leg? That's another deal.

The high divorce rate is not the weirdest part of the article:
Whether by accident or design, the Army encourages its soldiers to marry.
Huh?!
The best housing goes to families, leaving single soldiers to share the barracks. Wages are higher for active-duty soldiers with dependents, and higher still for those sent overseas, when the pay is tax-free. Hazardous-duty and family-separation supplements can amount to several hundred dollars a month.

Soldiers tend to enlist young and marry young: 1% of civilians under 20 is married, compared with about 14% of military members in the same age group, said Shelley M. MacDermid, co-director of the Military Family Research Institute at Purdue University.

"These early young marriages are not a great recipe for marital longevity," MacDermid said. "Research on divorce shows that. Add to that the anxiety associated with a dangerous job, and it doesn't bode well."

The deadline for going to war is among the most powerful incentives to rush a wedding. This time around, those unions are being tested by the longest and most recurrent deployments in the history of the volunteer military.
Seriously: Can someone tell me why the Army would encourage soldiers to marry?

That doesn't make sense to me. ('Cause I'm a stupid lefty.)

Is it because it's easier to get a guy to go through Hell if he's fighting for his family, too? Huh? I'd love to know. If a dude is single, he won't have to worry about all that nonsense back home...right?

Hey, speaking of soldiers - check out this scam - from the UK's Independent:

Corruption threatens to leave Iraq with a 'ghost army'

It's a pretty good scam:
A tidal wave of corruption may ensure the Iraqi army and police will be too few and too poorly armed to replace American and British forces fighting anti-government insurgents. That could frustrate plans in Washington and London to reduce their forces in Iraq.

The Iraqi armed forces are full of "ghost battalions" in which OFFICERS POCKET THE PAY OF SOLDIERS WHO NEVER EXISTED or have gone home.
You got that?
The Iraqi armed forces are full of "ghost battalions" in which OFFICERS POCKET THE PAY OF SOLDIERS WHO NEVER EXISTED or have gone home.
Brilliant.
"I know of at least one unit which was meant to be 2,200 but the real figure was only 300 men," said a veteran Iraqi politician and member of parliament, Mahmoud Othman. "The US talks about 150,000 Iraqis in the security forces but I doubt if there are more than 40,000."

The army and police are poorly armed despite heavy expenditure. "The interim government spent $5.2bn (2.6bn) on the ministry of defence and ministry of the interior during six months but there is little to show for it," said a senior Iraqi official who did not want his name published.
Because most of that CASH went to...?

"Evil Iraqi Defense ministers?"

"Mysterious US Businessmen?"

"High-end call girls?"

Well, it went to dudes who spent some of that CASH on high-end call girls. And other stuff. Methinks.
The corruption started under the US-run Coalition Provisional Authority in 2003 when Iraqis, often with little experience, were appointed to senior positions in ministries.
But knew enough to help the CPA scam the US taxpayers.
The Iraqis did not act alone.

"The Americans were the partners of the Iraqis in all this corruption," says Dr Othman. The results of the failure to buy effective arms are visible at every Iraqi police or army checkpoint. The weapons on display are often ageing Kalashnikovs. The supposedly elite police commandos drive about in elderly pick-ups with no armour. The ministry of the interior was recently unable to provide a presidential guard with 50 pistols.

As a result of the LACK OF WEAPONS, the Iraqi police and army are often less well-armed than the insurgents.
Goddammit. I'm in the wrong business.

Wish my dad was an international arms dealer. I'd be in the presidential suite of a five-star hotel somewhere in the Middle East right now...

With a bunch of high-end call girls.

$25,000 a night girls. 'Cause I could afford 'em, with all that American cash money.

Tie this story to the missing 8-9 BILLION DOLLARS in US CASH.

Think every penny of that CPA $ went to "rebuilding Iraq" and "creating a strong Iraqi defense force?"

Ha!

More later...

Friday, July 15, 2005

TGIF

Yesterday, I mentioned that the REAL threat to Bush with the whole Rove-Plame-Cooper-Miller thing would be a possible re-examination of his push for war in Iraq and his penchant for building the case around shoddy evidence.

The longer this thing drags on - the more likely "it" is that "someone" will start asking "other" questions.

Papers from around the country are a weighin' in on the same thing.

From the MPLS Star Tribune:

Karl Rove/Real issue is the case for war

MPLS, that's the town I love the best.
The real issue, more serious and less glitzy than whether Bush will stand by his political adviser, is the extraordinary efforts the Bush administration made to protect a case for war in Iraq from all contradictory evidence -- in effect, as the British spymaster Sir Richard Dearlove put it, to "fix" the facts and intelligence so they would support a decision already made.

*

It is instructive to remember that the investigation into who revealed Plame's identity was initiated by Tenet, not by administration critics. Remember also that Wilson was correct; ultimately the White House had to retract Bush's State of the Union statement on the Niger connection.

In addition to discrediting critics of the Niger connection, the Bush administration, through the actions of JOHN BOLTON -- now nominee to be U.N. ambassador -- sought to intimidate intelligence analysts who objected to conclusions about Iraq's WMD, and to get a U.N. chemical weapons official fired so he wouldn't be able to send inspectors back to Iraq, where they might disprove more of the case for war.

In the scheme of things, whether Rove revealed Plame's identity, deliberately or not, matters less than actions by Rove, Bolton, Cheney and others to PHONY UP a case for war that has gone badly, has cost thousands of lives plus hundreds of billions of dollars, and has, a majority of Americans now believe, left the United States less safe from terrorism rather than more.
The Pittsburgh Post Gazette sees the threat:

"Dump Rove / The investigation moves closer to the president"

Where yins goan'? Yins goan' dahntahn?
This isn't Watergate, however much Democrats may be licking their chops at the thought of Bush having to choose between loyalty to his friend and a long drubbing on the subject.

In any case, Watergate should serve as an educative experience for any president.

Given that Mr. Bush definitely has other things to do with his time -- starting with the Iraq war -- this is probably the time to just take a deep breath and fire Karl Rove now, before this goes any further.
'Mericans weren't supposed to be talking 'bout this stuff in the summer of '05 - 'bout the Bushies cooking the books to go to War in Iraq - BUT THEY ARE NOW.

Because - to REGULAR folks - and not just us commiepinkofaggotlefties - it's looking more and more like the Bushies took advantage of 9/11 to invade Iraq for their own personal gain. And lied about Hussein and his "WMD's" to do so.

That ain't good for the Bushies.

On that note..

Superior piece from Krugman today:
What Mr. Rove understood, long before the rest of us, is that we're not living in the America of the past, where even partisans sometimes changed their views when faced with the facts. Instead, we're living in a country in which there is no longer such a thing as nonpolitical truth. In particular, there are now few, if any, limits to what conservative politicians can get away with: the faithful will follow the twists and turns of the party line with a loyalty that would have pleased the Comintern.

*

Every time I read a lament for the post-9/11 era of national unity, I wonder what people are talking about. On the issues I was watching, the Republicans' exploitation of the atrocity began while ground zero was still smoldering.

Mr. Rove has been much criticized for saying that liberals responded to the attack by wanting to offer the terrorists therapy - but what he said about conservatives, that they "saw the savagery of 9/11 and the attacks and prepared for war," is equally false. What many of them actually saw was a domestic political opportunity - and none more so than Mr. Rove.

A less insightful political strategist might have hesitated right after 9/11 before using it to cast the Democrats as weak on national security. After all, there were no facts to support that accusation.

But Mr. Rove understood that the facts were irrelevant. For one thing, he knew he could count on the administration's supporters to obediently accept a changing story line. Read the before-and-after columns by pro-administration pundits about Iraq: before the war they castigated the C.I.A. for understating the threat posed by Saddam's W.M.D.; after the war they castigated the C.I.A. for exaggerating the very same threat.

Mr. Rove also understands, better than anyone else in American politics, the power of smear tactics. Attacks on someone who contradicts the official line don't have to be true, or even plausible, to undermine that person's effectiveness. All they have to do is get a lot of media play, and they'll create the sense that there must be something wrong with the guy.

And now we know just how far he was willing to go with these smear tactics: as part of the effort to discredit Joseph Wilson IV, Mr. Rove leaked the fact that Mr. Wilson's wife worked for the C.I.A. I don't know whether Mr. Rove can be convicted of a crime, but there's no question that he damaged national security for partisan advantage. If a Democrat had done that, Republicans would call it treason.

But what we're getting, instead, is yet another impressive demonstration that these days, TRUTH IS POLITICAL. One after another, prominent Republicans and conservative pundits have declared their allegiance to the party line.
Good stuff.

Can't wait for McClellan's next press conference...