Monday, October 31, 2005
From what I've seen so far, I think The Moose had got it exactly right.
Meanwhile, I hope Tim can find some time to blog in my absence.
Samuel Alito Jr., 54. U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit. Known as "Scalito," or little Scalia, he is considered less blustering than the big guy, but liberals will undoubtedly balk at his abortion record. In 1991, he dissented from a decision to strike down Pennsylvania's spousal notification provision--a decision the Supreme Court later upheld in Planned Parenthood v. Casey, the decision that reaffirmed Roe v. Wade. What should be far more troubling to Senate Democrats, however, is Alito's 1996 dissent from a decision upholding the constitutionality of a federal law prohibiting the possession of machine guns. Applying the logic of the Constitution in Exile for all it's worth, Alito insisted that the private possession of machine guns was not an economic activity, and there was no empirical evidence that private gun possession increased violent crime in a way that substantially affected commerce--therefore, Congress has no right to regulate it. Alito's colleagues criticized him for requiring "Congress or the Executive to play Show and Tell with the federal courts at the peril of invalidation of a Congressional statute." His lack of deference to Congress is unsettling.
....After a brief diversion, the President has returned to the home base....
...It seems likely that this nomination will result in a filibuster and the deployment of the nuclear option. It is all so very predictable.
Everyone will play his/her designated role in this epic Washington confrontation. And the President has played the polarization card.
The Alito nomination is evidence that Mr. Rove is once again riding high in the saddle. The Rovian solution to all of the Administration woes is a to give a hot-button treat to the base and attempt to trick the Democrats into alienating swing traditionalist values voters. Meanwhile, folks will ask, "Scooter who?".
The politics of polarization has been the governing philosophy of the Bushies. It got them re-elected and it is the only way they know to govern. With this understanding, the Alito nomination makes complete sense.
Sunday, October 30, 2005
Bottom line: Libby doesn't have a defense. The only question remaining is if Libby will fall on his sword or rat.
I'm sure Libby has been promised a pardon in a few years. So is he willing to do a few years for the cause?
He could force a trial to buy time, but that would cost him more than a million dollars in attorney's fees from his personal finances. I suppose there will be defense funds set-up for him, but I wonder if recent criminal investigations into the GOP money machine will dampen 'charity'? I'm thinking Libby at this point in his life isn't very willing to spend what wealth he has accumulated on lawyers. And yes, I know there will be a book deal, but who knows how that will work out and Scooter has to be thinking now about what he has, not what he may get.
If Libby falls on his sword, this will be the end of it. If he rats? Who knows.
Remember, Gov George Ryan was the 66th indictment in what is now Fitz's corruption investigation into the Illinois GOP.
Saturday, October 29, 2005
Here is the crux,
What happened here was that Libby himself described to investigators the contents of discussions he'd had with some journalists. Fitzgerald had doubts about the accuracy of that description, hence his desire to hear testimony from journalists. But Libby -- not Fitzgerald, not Tim Russert, not Mat Cooper, and not Judith Miller -- was the one who revealed that he'd talked to these journalists (note also that he wasn't a "source" of Russert's in any sense, he was complaining about an MSNBC report, not was he a source for anything Miller actually wrote, I'm not sure the Cooper case is clear), thus eliminating any question of confidentiality. The principle that journalists should be able to acquire information from sources while keeping the identity of the sources confidential is an important one. The alleged principle that journalists should be able to keep the content of what their sources tell them secret is silly. That's not a principle at all. The whole point of having sources is to relay what they told you. A source who's already outed himself as your source can't have any reasonable expectation that you'll conceal what he told you. That doesn't make any sense.
I'm not a criminal defense attorney but from what I do know of such things, this is a remarkably detailed charging document and much more detailed than was lawfully required.
And suggestions from some on the right that this is nothing but a smear are full of it.
The indictment makes it clear that Libby constructed a completely false story that he told numerious times to obstruct the federal prosecution. Unlike Martha Stewart who had a lot of vague, 'I don't know' and 'I thought yada, yada, yada,' testimony, Scooter told an entire story that was a complete fiction.
The bottom line is that Libby is nailed.
And as for those who suggest that this is a smear because the leaking has not be charged, check out Andy McCarthy at The Corner on National Review Online ,
Like it or not, the mere fact that Plame was employed by CIA is alleged to have been classified. Libby is alleged to have learned this fact in his official capacity. He is alleged to have told it to Judith Miller of the New York Times, a person not entitled to receive classified information (and to have implicitly confirmed it for Matthew Cooper of Time, another person not entitled to receive it). Here on Planet Earth, this is known as leaking classified information.Now let me go from here.
For the reasons I discussed yesterday, this potentially makes out a violation of the espionage act. However, the supposedly intemperate, smearing prosecutor, Pat Fitzgerald, gave Libby the benefit of the doubt on his mental state....
The leaking is, nonetheless, essential to proving the crimes that actually are charged: obstruction, false statements to investigators, and perjury. If, as his apologists claim, Libby has been done an injustice on this point, it will be very easy for him to get his good name back. All Libby has to do is demonstrate at trial that either one of two things is not true: (a) that Plame's employment with CIA was classified information; or (b) that Libby disclosed that information to a person not entitled to receive it.
Anyone think he will even try? Anyone think the people who are making the smear claim will try to take on either of these two very simple, straightforward allegations?
I do not think Fitzgerald was being charitable at all. This is just the beginning of a classic federal prosecution.
Step 1: Fitz has Libby by the conjones on the obstruction / perjury charges. These are clear, and easy to prove. So clear is this case, in fact, that Libby will not even challenge the charges at trial.
Libby may try and play the stall game as long as possible waiting on a pardon after November, 2008. But here is Libby's problem with stalling. Fitzgerald is ready for trial. He could pick a jury tomorrow. Libby is apparently just now shopping for a real criminal defense attorney. Fitz will be holding Libby's feet to the fire in ways that Scooter cannot now imagine.
Fitzgerald detailed indictment doesn't just signal Scooter and his attorneys that Libby is toast on obstruction. The detailed indictment -- as McCarthy points out above -- also tells Scooter that Fitz can indict Scooter tomorrow on passing classified info.
Step 2: Scooter copes a plea. Fitz want's to turn Scooter for his full cooperation. Once Fitz gets someone from inside the conspiracy he can use that testimony to get everyone on the actually charge of passing classified information.
If Scooter doesn't cooperate, this is likely the end of it. If he does,
Step 3: 'Official A' and likely others are indicted for conspiring to pass classified information to those not authorized to have that information.
Of course, this will all likely end with a pardon of all involved.
Friday, October 28, 2005
Anyway, I have a unique job that allows me to have access to TV all day along. I work for a cable TV company and have a full digital cable package in my office. I have the TV on almost all day when I'm at work. Thus, I can watch the news all day if I want. Today, I was glued to the TV all morning waiting to see what Fitzgerald would do and the reaction that followed. As as non-lawyer here's my take. I think this is just the tip of the iceberg and that Rove will either work out a deal to take this to the next level or be indicted by Fitzgerad. Some may say he would not rat out on Bush or Cheney, but I'm not so sure. I heard Dick Morris the other day on a local radio show talking about Hillary Clinton. Remember, he was Bill Clinton's trusted advisor in the early 90's. Today, he HATES the Clintons. In politics, it stand up for my guy until I can latch myself onto someone else who has more power or potential. I don't think Rove will take a fall for Cheney, espeically if he thinks it would stop Cheney from running for POUS in '08. He's Bush's man, not Cheney's and he'll do what he can to save the big guy - including ratting out on Cheney if needed to save Bush.
Just my opinion.
And a thought from Kevin's coverage of the press conference.
Question: What about Karl Rove? Fitzgerald: "We either charge someone or we don't talk about them." Sorry.Um, did someone tell Ken Starr this?
Seriously, could Fitzgerald's conduct of this investigation be any more different than Starr's?
Professionalism, how refreshing.
And let me just add that I do believe it is a big deal that Fitzgerald is declining to smear unindicted targets. I find it outrageous when prosecutors who do not have the goods to indict someone, never the less publicly smear them to destroy their reputation. And without charging them, the victim of the smear can never clear their name. Starr's office made this a routine practice, but I've see local prosecutors do the same.
And finally, reading the indictment, I don't think there will be a trial.
I'm guessing Fitzgerald's plan is for Scooter to cope a plea and rat, to make the case for Rove and perhaps others. He needs a party to the conspiracy to come forward.
Will it happen? Who knows, but it will be fun to watch.
Source: Rove Won't Be Indicted Today
Here's my question. As Kevin Drum notes here, Pat Fitzgerald has been at this for almost two years. He's interviewed or brought before the grand jury numerous witnesses and had Rove in there no fewer than four times. You'd assume he's got as many facts as he's going to get.We will know more when the indictments come down but assuming it is correct that Rove won't be indicted, here is a possible explanation.
So why he's waiting? Does he need more facts? More time to think about it? Or is there some process of negotiation going on? Is there something else Fitzgerald expects will soon break free?
Fitzgerald is convinced that Rove is in this up to his eyeballs but the evidence is not air-tight. He won't indict unless he is convinced he can convict. This is not a case Fitzgerald is willing to risk losing. So, in classic federal style, he hold off, convicts others and squeezes them to rat.
And remember, it is likely that others in addition to Scooter will be indicted today.
My 2 cents. We will know soon enough.
Thursday, October 27, 2005
Here is the gist,
Vice President Cheney and his chief of staff, I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, overruling advice from some White House political staffers and lawyers, decided to withhold crucial documents from the Senate Intelligence Committee in 2004 when the panel was investigating the use of pre-war intelligence that erroneously concluded Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction, according to Bush administration and congressional sources.Note that this story includes sources inside the administration. More evidence of the collapse?
Had the withheld information been turned over, according to administration and congressional sources, it likely would have shifted a portion of the blame away from the intelligence agencies to the Bush administration as to who was responsible for the erroneous information being presented to the American public, Congress, and the international community.
.... the administration also refused to turn over to the committee contents of the president's morning intelligence briefings on Iraq, sources say. These documents, known as the Presidential Daily Brief, or PDB, are a written summary of intelligence information and analysis provided by the CIA to the president.
One congressional source said, for example, that senators wanted to review the PDBs to determine whether dissenting views from the State Department's Bureau of Intelligence and Research, the Department of Energy, and other agencies that often disagreed with the CIA on the question of Iraq's programs to develop weapons of mass destruction were being presented to the president.
Here are my thoughts. Libby will be indicted as I've predicted for a couple years now.
Everything one reads now suggests that Rove will be indicted as well, but I keep thinking he is going to dodge this bullet. Hope I'm wrong, but I'm not holding my breath. Fitzgerald won't indict someone at his level unless the case is air-tight, and sending agents out at this late stage to re-interview witnesses tells me Fitzgerald is having cold feet. This is all just speculation on my part.
But also, it is very likely that other smaller players who are not being talked about now, will likely be indicted. People on the food chain a level or two below the Libbys and Roves,...deputy assistant yada, yada, yada. That is how the Feds work, and they are very good at it.
I believe John Bolton was involved and expect people tied to him will be amoung those indicted.
Also, just because the grand jury is set to expire tomorrow, doesn't mean indictments will be announced. Indictments could be under seal for a period of time or the grand jury could be extended on motion from Fitzgerald. There are rumors that the indictments in fact are done and under seal, and if this is true, there is nothing magic about tomorrow versus some time next week.
my 2 cents. Worth what you paid for it.
Miers Withdraws Nomination
Indictments likely today and now this. How long before Gdub develops a tick?
By the way, I want to go on the record by saying that the Ds were on the wrong side of this issue. I was convinced that Miers was a wolf in sheeps clothing and likely to the right of Clarence Thomas, but that is not the reason I thought the Ds were on the wrong side.
Miers is clearly not qualified to site on the Supreme Court of the United States. Reid was out of line to suggest her as acceptable to the Pres.
Either the Democratic Party has principles or they don't. The Rs love to say that the Ds have no principles and Reid suggested they were correct by his embrace of a Miers nomination.
Wednesday, October 26, 2005
Virginia Republican gubernatorial candidate Jerry W. Kilgore has decided not to attend President Bush's appearance in Norfolk on Friday, saying it is not a campaign-related event and that he has other plans 11 days before the election.Whatever.
Bush has scheduled a speech on terrorism in the Hampton Roads region, home to one of the largest concentrations of military personnel on the East Coast. But Kilgore, who is in a dead-heat battle with Democratic Lt. Gov. Timothy M. Kaine, said that Bush's address is a "policy" speech and that he has an important appearance at a luncheon for the state NAACP at the same time.
It's a simple rule: When the POTUS is a member of your party and comes to your state, you show-up.
This should be an easy call for Kilgore. After all, the audience will be full of sycophantic worshipers of Gdub, who never appears before the actual public.
It is a huge snub, and my guess is Karl is steamed.
Will the speech gets cancelled?
Tuesday, October 25, 2005
Monday, October 24, 2005
I'm not suprised that First is starting to hedge his bets. Josh Marshall ahs a post today on Talking Points Memo that says reports are starting to come out that the so called blind trust was anything but. Seem that the trustees were informing First everytime they made or sold investments in HCA. This one could heat up fast. If Martha Stewart can go to jail over less than $50,000, think how it would look for the top Senate Republican to be accused of selling MILLIONS in stock just before his family run business tanks.
That along with the smugness of DeLay and Bush's inability to admits mistakes and his potential loss of his brain (Karl Rove) - do not bode well for the mid-year elections. Let's hope we can keep the pressure on this bunch of crooks.
Saturday, October 22, 2005
I have an old friend who works for him. Her politics are to the left of me. She will not allow a negitive comment of him spoken. She has absolute faith in his integrity. If she does, so do I.
The Times has a piece on him up today.
Now enough of this. I need to open a bottle of wine before I throw this keyboard into the street.
Secretary of State Colin Powell's former chief of staff has offered a remarkably blunt criticism of the administration he served, saying that foreign policy had been usurped by a "Cheney-Rumsfeld cabal," and that President Bush has made the country more vulnerable, not less, to future crises.
"I would say that we have courted disaster, in Iraq, in North Korea, in Iran, generally with regard to domestic crises like Katrina, Rita - and I could go on back," he said. "We haven't done very well on anything like that in a long time."
Mr. Wilkerson suggested that the dysfunction within the administration was so grave that "if something comes along that is truly serious, truly serious, something like a nuclear weapon going off in a major American city, or something like a major pandemic, you are going to see the ineptitude of this government in a way that will take you back to the Declaration of Independence."
Mr. Wilkerson, a retired Army colonel and former director of the Marine Corps War College, said that in his years in or close to government, he had seen its national security apparatus twisted in many ways. But what he saw in Mr. Bush's first term "was a case that I have never seen in my studies of aberration, bastardizations" and "perturbations."This is what their friends are saying.
For the Bushies this kind of talk is a problem. SOP is to attack the messenger calling him or her a traitor. That really doesn't work here.
Paris is great, but cloudy. The Louve Thurs, Versailles Friday and the Musee deOrsay today. I'm museumed out. No more this trip. Cokes are 5 Euros, wine 10 E for a bottle so you can guess how that is working out.
Until now, I've not looked at any news.
Bill Keller is full of regrets. boo fricken hoo. He should have fired Judy a long time ago, and he needs to resign.
Wednesday, October 19, 2005
I've been living in Chicago and watched the whole appointment of Fitzgerald as the Federal prosecutor with interest. Both Dems and the GOP HATE him. Just ask the former governor - George Ryan and Chicago's Mayor Daley. If anyone can sink his teeth into a topic and shake loose the rotting fruit, it's him. I have confidence that we will see indictment before the end of the month.
Monday, October 17, 2005
Message, message, message!
From the WaPo,
House Republican leaders have moved from balking at big cuts in Medicaid and other programs to embracing them, driven by pent-up anger from fiscal conservatives concerned about runaway spending and the leadership's own weakening hold on power.
Beginning this week, the House GOP lawmakers will take steps to cut as much as $50 billion from the fiscal 2006 budget for health care for the poor, food stamps and farm supports, as well as considering across-the-board cuts in other programs. Only last month, then-House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (Tex.) and other GOP leaders quashed demands within their party for budget cuts to pay for the soaring cost of hurricane relief.
Late last night Josh picked up on a WaPo piece wherein it seems Judy's attorney seeming to contradict Judy on a couple issues. Josh quotes this passage from the Post,
Abrams also minimized Miller's assertion that another source may have given her the name "Valerie Flame," as she recorded it in the same notebook used for her first interview of Libby. Abrams said others may have mentioned Plame only "in passing. . . The central and essentially only figure who had information was Libby."Here is my 'reading between the lines' view as a lawyer.
In the negotiations that led to Judy's testimony, Judy through her attorney (s) wanted the questions limited to Scooter. No doubt Abrams, and likely Judy's other attorneys, repeatedly and in writing assured Fitzgerald that Scooter was the only person to discuss the Plame matter with Judy. Now Judy is shooting her mouth off about her testimony suggesting that it was someone else. I'm guessing Abrams finds himself embarrassed.
I'm guessing Judy will likely find herself again in front of the grand jury for round 3 and no more testimony limiting agreements.
In reading the stories this weekend, I was left with the impression that Judy is a co-conspirator and may be obstructing justice. If she is being honest in the published accounts about her testimony (this is a big 'if') and her cute and incredible "I don't know who told me 'Valerie Flame' "stuff , she is playing a very dangerous game with a very serious man.
Abrams knows this and is likely in full "CYA" mode.
Judy may yet get herself indicted. Wouldn't that just be awful?
Sunday, October 16, 2005
Ishaki, Iraq -- Less than two hours after polling stations opened Saturday morning, potential voters in the Sunni town of Ishaki were convinced the Iraqi government had rigged the referendum in favor of Kurds, Shiites and Iran.
Dozens of locals, all planning to vote against the draft constitution, had been turned away from the single polling station in town. Lying 40 miles north of Baghdad and just south of Samarra, Ishaki is in the middle of Iraq's Sunni central region, Saddam Hussein's old heartland.
According to election officials here, all those rejected were registered at another polling station 3 miles away -- the only place they would be allowed to vote under the referendum's stringent rules. But a driving ban inside all urban areas, designed to stop suicide bomb attacks, meant these Sunnis, entering the democratic process for the first time, had effectively been disenfranchised.
Saturday, October 15, 2005
If you're interested, here is the Times 'full review' of the Miller / Plame matter.
The Miller Case: A Notebook, a Cause, a Jail Cell and a Deal
It's long, and not particularly revealing.
Here, Judy tells us, in her own words what she said the grand jury. (Sorry, no open link, or at least not yet). I've yet to read Judy's version,...and don't know that I ever will.
Having read the Times account, I have a question.
The Times tells us that Judy met at least twice with Scooter prior to Novak's now famous column. She was working on another story but Scooter did bring up the Wilson/Plame affair during these meetings. Despite the fact that Judy's notes from both days (but not necessarily meetings -- read the story for the details) contained references to Wilson's wife including an entry of "Valerie Flame," Judy does not believe Scooter outed Plame to her -- and claims to have said as much to the grand jury.
Long before Judy went to jail she found out from Scooter's attorney that Scooter had testified to the grand jury that he did not reveal Plame's name to Judy.
So, forget the issue of whether Judy had been released from her agreement of confidentiality. If Judy is to be believed, why would there even be an agreement of confidentiality?
If Scooter's testimony was that he never outed Plame to Judy and Judy's testimony was that Scooter never outed Plame to her, there is no confidence to keep. Judy through her attorney could have negotiated with Fitzgerald a 'proffer' (basically a sworn statement to be read in lieu of testifying) that essentially said Scooter never outed Plame to me.
The only way that Judy's actions make any sense is if Scooter had outed Plame to her.
And since it is inconceivable that Judy spent 85 days 'in the hole' for a non-confidence, something is missing from this story.
Could it be 'the truth'?
Apparently the Sunni areas turned out in large numbers, but no one wants to draw any conclusions.
Probably wise. Remember, the interim constitution contains a provision insisted upon by the Kurds that prevents adoption of the constitution if 2/3 of the voters in 3 provinces vote to reject. The Sunnis control 4 provinces and have long threatened to work to defeat the constitution. So is the large turnout of fruit of these efforts to defeat the constitution or a backlash?
Several Shia groups also oppose the constitution but no one seemed to think they could muster the votes. Never the less, it will be interesting to see the vote totals in the south.
Watch this space.
I realize I'm a little late to this but I've been busy.
You no doubt by now know that the nomination of Presidential sycophant Harriet Miers is not a popular pick with the Right.
The conservative columnists wrote several hit pieces on her, including Charles Krauthammer, Bill Kristol and George Will.
George Will observed last week,
....there is no reason to believe that Miers's nomination resulted from the president's careful consultation with people [ who have the "ability to make sophisticated judgments about competing approaches to construing the Constitution"]. If 100 such people had been asked to list 100 individuals who have given evidence of the reflectiveness and excellence requisite in a justice, Miers's name probably would not have appeared in any of the 10,000 places on those lists.Does George really believe Clarence Thomas would have made any of these lists?
The Right is not upset because Harriet is an unsophisticated nitwit. Hell, they enthusiastically supported an unsophisticated nitwit twice for president, and wrote gushingly all the while.
The Right is so upset by Harriet Miers because they feel betrayed.
Remember when the Right were self-described fiscal conservatives who demanded smaller government? When they spoke scornfully of what they called, "nation building"? Remember when these Patriot Act-loving goons wrote passionately about liberty?
They sold their souls and compromised all their principles to Gdub for Supreme Court picks that they believed would change the nation for a generation or more.
And for this sacrifice they get Harriet Miers?
I'd be pissed too.
Friday, October 14, 2005
....While few are talking to the outside, the newsroom is abuzz with gossip surrounding the case. At least two reporters say they've heard that Miller plans to resign after the paper runs their examination, which many expect Sunday. According to the Huffington Post, Miller has inked a $1.2 million deal for a tell-all expose.It looks mostly like a long gossip piece so who knows. Apparently, the Times is about to run a lengthy piece on the outcome of their internal investigation. I'm not holding my breath on that investigation. I would be surprised if they fess up to Judy's collusion with the Bushies.
Times spokeswoman Catherine Mathis would not comment on whether Miller planned to resign. Nor did she answer questions about whether Miller would author an expose on her involvement in the Plame affair once the paper publishes its full account of Miller's role in the matter.
I'll be around for a couple more days and hope to post some thoughts before I'm gone.
Time permitting, I may check in from time to time, but don't count on it.
Tim's new to blogger so be nice.
Finally, Tim is an economist by trade working in corporate America and many years my senior. Otherwise, I'll let him introduce himself to the extent he sees fit.
Tuesday, October 11, 2005
Terry Neal, writing in today's WaPo asks,
....is there enough common ground within the [Democratic] party to establish a common, concise vision on Iraq, national security and other issues?This is what leadership is all about. Bring people together on a common message with a common goal. I thought that was what Howard Dean would be doing at the DNC.
The unification of the GOP is a very recent phenomenon and many Rs let a lot of their pet issues go for the sake of unity, and it was strong leadership that lead them in that direction. Granted, it's now falling in around them, but still,....
The Ds need some real leadership and while the Congressional leaders are certainly not blame free on the apparent lack of leadership, shouldn't the DNC really be the in the forefront, and the clearinghouse for message?
I'm I wrong here?
Monday, October 03, 2005
It would appear the Earle reacted by indicting DeLay in the underlying crime with a different grand jury -- the term of the previous grand jury having expired -- to fix a possible defect in the original indictment.
DeLay Is Indicted on Two New Charges
Earle indicted DeLay under the 2003 conspiracy statute as opposed to common law conspiracy. Now, DeLay is not just charged with conspiracy, but also with the underlying crime. I never understood why he wasn't charged with the underlying crime originally.
And even if the statutory conspiracy didn't exist in 2002, common law conspiracy is older than the nation and works well too.
Harriet worships the president and has called him the smartest man she’s known. She’s a pretty good lawyer....This president can be bamboozled by anyone he feels close to. If a person fawns on him enough, is loyal, works 25 hours a day and says you’re the smartest man I ever met, all of a sudden you’re right for the Supreme Court.
Ed has some interesting thoughts -- echoed by several others -- about possible objections from the right.
TPMCafe || Miers: Will the Right Foreclose the Mortgage?
In the White House that hero worshipped the president, Miers was distinguished by the intensity of her zeal: She once told me that the president was the most brilliant man she had ever met. She served Bush well, but she is not the person to lead the court in new directions - or to stand up under the criticism that a conservative justice must expect.This doesn't leave a lot of choices. She is either, a) insane, b) really dumb, c) sheltered and surrounded by really dumb people, or d) head injured.
While Gdub has been called many things, no even his friends call him brilliant.
Sunday, October 02, 2005
Read the whole thing.
Whose Fault Is Pork?
Here's a taste,
THE HUGE EXPANSION of government overseen by the supposed party of small government has provoked a conservative backlash. The Heritage Foundation, which is usually respectful of Republican Party officeholders, recently noted that the party's ascendancy has coincided with an extraordinarily expensive Medicare prescription drug bill, the most costly farm bill in modern history, a 51 percent increase in spending on veterans and an increase in the annual number of pork projects from 6,000 in 2001 to 14,000 this year. Rank-and-file Republican House members are fed up with this unconservative record; on Wednesday they rebelled against Majority Leader Tom DeLay's scheme to have a big-spending ally keep his throne warm while he fights a criminal indictment. But the conservative revolt should logically be taken a step further. It should target President Bush.
The president's defenders plead that it's hard to veto bills when his own party controls Congress. But as the conservative commentator Bruce Bartlett points out, this defense is nonsense. President Franklin D. Roosevelt held office at a time of huge Democratic Party majorities in Congress, but that didn't stop him from vetoing a record 635 bills. Presidents John F. Kennedy, Lyndon B. Johnson and Jimmy Carter also coexisted with large Democratic majorities, yet Kennedy vetoed 21 bills during his short presidency, Johnson vetoed 30 and Carter vetoed 31.
The truth is that there is nothing to stop Mr. Bush from wielding his veto -- witness the fact that the administration threatened Friday to veto a defense bill if, among other potential offenses, it contained language outlawing cruel and inhuman treatment of foreign detainees. But while Mr. Bush cares fervently, and scandalously, about the imperative of keeping inhumane practices legal, he does not care as much about waste of taxpayers' money. This is why he has not made vigorous use of his veto to restrain the growth of pork. This is why an anti-spending backlash that focuses only on Mr. DeLay is missing its main target.
Think Progress » Source to Stephanopoulos: President Bush Directly Involved In Leak Scandal
Saturday, October 01, 2005
I'd be interested to hear a convincing explanation of how such a bacteria occurred naturally on the national mall in significantly high enough levels to have been detected by air monitors.
US finds fever bacteria during war protest weekend - Yahoo! News
Judy is not the main course at all. What I suspect Fitzgerald had to do was eliminate the defense, namely that Miller and Cooper and other reporters were the source of the identity of "Wilson's Wife" as CIA NOC. Remember we have already been through this defense as PR over the past couple of years -- Wilson's wife scrubbed floors at CIA, she was a lowly secretary, an apprentise in the Directorate of Intelligence -- she ran the travel bureau -- defenses that would all exclude her identity as a NOC. I suspect that is what transpired today, so Fitzgerald's positive case can now emerge.How come you folks don't give me this kind of insight?
By the way, I think we will know something definative soon. It has been reported that Judy was the last witness, and the grand jury expires at the end of the month.
I'm thinking if there will be indictments, they will come in the next couple weeks.
What on earth is she doing in the Middle East?
Here is a taste,
The main task of this posting is to improve America's image in the Muslim world. Let us stipulate for a moment that Hughes is ideally suited for the job—that she can figure out how to spin sheiks, imams, and "the Arab street" as agilely as she spun the White House press corps in her days as Bush's communications director.Karen Hughes is so ill-equiped for this job that it's laugh out loud funny. Unfortunatly, the damage she is doing is not.
Even if that were so, why would anybody assume that she is the one to do the face-to-face spinning? Wouldn't it be better to find someone who—oh, I don't know—speaks the language, knows the culture, lived there for a while, was maybe born there?
Put the shoe on the other foot. Let's say some Muslim leader wanted to improve Americans' image of Islam. It's doubtful that he would send as his emissary a woman in a black chador who had spent no time in the United States, possessed no knowledge of our history or movies or pop music, and spoke no English beyond a heavily accented "Good morning." Yet this would be the clueless counterpart to Karen Hughes, with her lame attempts at bonding ("I'm a working mom") and her tin-eared assurances that President Bush is a man of God (you can almost hear the Muslim women thinking, "Yes, we know, that's why he's relaunched the Crusades").
Barack is right.
.....I shared enough of these concerns that I voted against Roberts on the floor this morning. But short of mounting an all-out filibuster -- a quixotic fight I would not have supported; a fight I believe Democrats would have lost both in the Senate and in the court of public opinion; a fight that would have been difficult for Democratic senators defending seats in states like North Dakota and Nebraska that are essential for Democrats to hold if we hope to recapture the majority; and a fight that would have effectively signaled an unwillingness on the part of Democrats to confirm any Bush nominee, an unwillingness which I believe would have set a dangerous precedent for future administrations -- blocking Roberts was not a realistic option.There is much more which I would encourage everyone to read.
In such circumstances, attacks on Pat Leahy, Russ Feingold and the other Democrats who, after careful consideration, voted for Roberts make no sense. Russ Feingold, the only Democrat to vote not only against war in Iraq but also against the Patriot Act, doesn't become complicit in the erosion of civil liberties simply because he chooses to abide by a deeply held and legitimate view that a President, having won a popular election, is entitled to some benefit of the doubt when it comes to judicial appointments. Like it or not, that view has pretty strong support in the Constitution's design.
The same principle holds with respect to issues other than judicial nominations. My colleague from Illinois, Dick Durbin, spoke out forcefully - and voted against - the Iraqi invasion. He isn't somehow transformed into a "war supporter" - as I've heard some anti-war activists suggest - just because he hasn't called for an immediate withdrawal of American troops.
Issues are complicated and those on the left who don't understand that are no different than those on the right.
Under the conditions expressed by some on the left, why would any R ever vote for a judge nominated by a D?
Sources familiar with Miller's testimony say her account of two discussions with Cheney's chief of staff, I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, that July are similar to the account Libby reportedly gave the grand jury last year. Both said they spoke about Plame's husband, administration critic and former ambassador Joseph C. Wilson IV, on July 8 and again on July 12 or 13. On at least one of those occasions, Libby told Miller that Wilson's wife worked at the CIA, the sources said.
Miller also turned over redacted copies of handwritten notes she made after one of the conversations with Libby, a condition set by special counsel Patrick J. Fitzgerald.
But it's still interesting. Not everyone at the NYTs thinks Miller is a hero.
....Some of Miller's colleagues at the Times, who declined to be identified because they are challenging their bosses' stance, say much of the staff is frustrated and confused.
"People are angry," one staffer said. "Was this a charade on her part for martyrdom, or a real principle? She wanted to resurrect herself from the WMD thing," the staffer said, a reference to Miller stories about Iraq possessing weapons of mass destruction that turned out to be wrong.
The Times reports that there was two factors. One, the phone call with Scooter, and two, the deal to limit the testimony to just Scooter.
I don't know that there is anything really new. The question remains, why now? Other reporters cut the same deal a year or more ago. Miller's camp and Scooter's camp disagreed on whether Scooter's earlier waiver was sincere. Here is an interesting passage,
One of Ms. Miller's lawyers, Floyd Abrams, wrote a letter to Mr. Libby's lawyer on Thursday in what he said was an effort "to set the record straight." Mr. Abrams acknowledged that the lawyer, Joseph A. Tate, had told him in the summer of 2004 that Mr. Libby had no objection to Ms. Miller's testifying about a meeting with him a year earlier. But Mr. Abrams also said Mr. Libby's lawyer had said that a blanket form waiver Mr. Libby signed at the request of investigators in January 2004 had been "coerced and had been required as a condition for Mr. Libby's continued employment at the White House."
Buying of News by Bush's Aides Is Ruled Illegal - New York Times
Federal auditors said on Friday that the Bush administration violated the law by buying favorable news coverage of President Bush's education policies, by making payments to the conservative commentator Armstrong Williams and by hiring a public relations company to analyze media perceptions of the Republican Party.Can you imagine the outrage had a D done this? They would be demanding a special prosecutor, and why isn't the DNC?
In a blistering report, the investigators, from the Government Accountability Office, said the administration had disseminated "covert propaganda" in the United States, in violation of a statutory ban.
The auditors declared: "We see no use for such information except for partisan political purposes. Engaging in a purely political activity such as this is not a proper use of appropriated funds."
Cisneros Convicted in '99, But the Probe Goes On,
This spring, Republicans and Democrats voiced outrage over the news that independent counsel David M. Barrett was still pursuing a decade-long, $21 million investigation into a crime long confessed and paid for. Without debate, the Senate unanimously agreed to strip Barrett of further funding for his inquiry on former housing secretary Henry G. Cisneros.
But, prodded by conservative commentators, House Republican leaders grew convinced that Democrats were trying to suppress embarrassing revelations about the Clinton administration. The Senate provision was ditched behind closed doors, and Barrett and his staff continue to work -- at a cost to taxpayers of nearly $2 million a year -- on an inquiry that seemingly ended 13 months ago.
In its semiannual audit, the Government Accountability Office said yesterday that Barrett spent $930,742 from October 2004 to March 2005, six years after Cisneros pleaded guilty to the charges Barrett was appointed to investigate -- and more than a year after Barrett submitted his 400-page report for final judicial review. The GAO did not indicate what Barrett has been doing since he finished his report, other than maintain staff and office expenditures that have continued to rise since the investigation ended.