Thursday, April 20, 2006

THE GOOD NEWS from Iraq (where there is no civil war, where the US has liberated the people from a 'Hitler' and (wink) whose occupation will cause gas prices to decrease in the US.)

Teachers beheaded in Baghdad in front of students

BAGHDAD, April 19 (Reuters) - Separate groups of gunmen entered two primary schools in Baghdad on Wednesday and beheaded two teachers in front of their students, the Ministry of State for National Security said.

"Two terrorist groups beheaded two teachers in front of their students in the Amna and Shaheed Hamdi primary schools in Shaab district in Baghdad," a ministry statement said.

A ministry official said he believed the attacks were aimed at: "intimidating pupils and disrupting learning."...

FOX Poll: Gloomy Economic Views; Bush Approval at New Low

NEW YORK — More Americans disapprove than approve of how George W. Bush, Donald Rumsfeld and Congress are doing their jobs, while a majority approves of Condoleezza Rice. President Bush’s approval hits a record low of 33 percent this week, clearly damaged by sinking support among Republicans.

Opinions are sharply divided on whether Rumsfeld should resign as secretary of defense. In addition, views on the economy are glum; most Americans rate the current economy negatively, and twice as many say it feels like the economy is getting worse rather than better. These are just some of the findings of the latest FOX News national poll.

President Bush’s job approval rating slipped this week and stands at a new low of 33 percent approve, down from 36 percent two weeks ago and 39 percent in mid-March. A year ago this time, 47 percent approved and two years ago 50 percent approved (April 2004).

Approval among Republicans is below 70 percent for the first time of Bush’s presidency. Two-thirds (66 percent) approve of Bush’s job performance today, down almost 20 percentage points from this time last year when 84 percent of Republicans approved. Among Democrats, 11 percent approve today, while 14 percent approved last April...
On the cover of the ROLLING STONE:

The Worst President in History?

One of America's leading historians assesses George W. Bush

George W. Bush's presidency appears headed for colossal historical disgrace. Barring a cataclysmic event on the order of the terrorist attacks of September 11th, after which the public might rally around the White House once again, there seems to be little the administration can do to avoid being ranked on the lowest tier of U.S. presidents. And that may be the best-case scenario. Many historians are now wondering whether Bush, in fact, will be remembered as the very worst president in all of American history...
Grand Jury Hears Evidence Against Rove
By Jason Leopold
t r u t h o u t Report
Thursday 20 April 2006

Just as the news broke Wednesday about Scott McClellan resigning as White House press secretary and Deputy Chief of Staff Karl Rove shedding some of his policy duties, Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald met with the grand jury hearing evidence in the CIA leak case and introduced additional evidence against Rove, attorneys and other US officials close to the investigation said.

The grand jury session in federal court in Washington, DC, sources close to the case said, was the first time this year that Fitzgerald told the jurors that he would soon present them with a list of criminal charges he intends to file against Rove in hopes of having the grand jury return a multi-count indictment against Rove.

In an interview Wednesday, Rove's attorney, Robert Luskin, confirmed that Rove remains a "subject" of Fitzgerald's two-year-old probe.

"Mr. Rove is still a subject of the investigation," Luskin said. In a previous interview, Luskin asserted that Rove would not be indicted by Fitzgerald, but he was unwilling to make that prediction again Wednesday...

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

From Laura Rozen's blog:

Bill Kristol is urging the White House to fight with "teeth" against the revelations from the Fitzgerald investigation, but it's worth noting that a couple months back he was urging the White House to get out there and have the president explain its Iraq policy to try to stem a rising tide of discontent. And lo and behold the president has been doing it, getting out there more and even taking questions from the audience for a change. And yet, a slew of recent polls would suggest that it hasn't stopped massive public loss of confidence in either the war or this president. On the contrary. Public opinion turns further against the Iraq war every week and the president has slipped a couple points in the polls even since a few months ago (including edging significantly into Republican numbers). The strategy wouldn't appear to be working. You can fool some of the people some of the time, but the news from Iraq has been too bad for too long for people to believe the rhetoric, even as it comes down a few notches closer to earth from the surreality of the administration's three years of overly optimistic pronouncements. And the spinning and tactical advice won't change that the public has lost confidence in the core thing that is being spun, a war they don't see has done anything but damage US national security and prestige in the world and drastically limit US choices for future crises. With 68% disapproval for the Iraq war, the public may get their big idea, but doesn't seem to endorse it and no longer trusts this administration to manage it. And one other thing: fighting dirty with war intelligence is what got the White House in trouble in the first place. Kristol's advice just reminds the public that these guys were always playing politics first with our national security. And it just feeds Fitzgerald's revelations that the White House was involved at the very highest levels in a conspiracy of retribution against a war critic. By urging his minions to ramp up the attacks, Kristol just adds credibility to the substance of Fitzgerald's emerging findings...
An Updated Plamegate Timeline
By Larry Johnson
t r u t h o u t Perspective
Tuesday 11 April 2006

The frantic spinning by the White House and its crazy right-wing allies, including Michael Ledeen and Christopher Hitchens (a neo-righty), to explain why George Bush was in the middle of the effort to discredit Ambassador Joe Wilson is failing on the facts. Ledeen and Hitchens insist that the reports that Iraq was trying to acquire uranium from Niger are true. Ledeen cites the UK's Butler report as his "proof" and Hitchens relies on mental gymnastics and circumstances rather than evidence for his belief in the "kool aid."

As a public service, I offer the following linked timeline where you can examine the documents for yourself. Once you review this material, there should be no doubt that President Bush is a bald-faced liar and used his office to attack Joe Wilson for trying to ensure the American people were told the truth about Iraq and its alleged efforts to buy uranium in West Africa...
Native Americans Want 'Bunker Buster' Test Stopped
Haider Rizvi, OneWorld US
Mon Apr 10, 9:38 PM ET

UNITED NATIONS, Apr 10 (OneWorld) - Native Americans want U.S. authorities to cancel plans to detonate 700 tons of explosives on what they say is tribal land in Nevada.

The planned explosion, scheduled for June 2 some 90 miles from Las Vegas, is aimed at aiding U.S. efforts to develop ''bunker buster'' weapons capable of penetrating solid rock. Officials have suggested the test would constitute the largest non-nuclear, open-air blast in the test site's history.

Federal officials have described such efforts as essential to the administration of President George W. Bush's self-styled ''war on terror'' but to leaders of the Shoshone, also known as the Newe people, the planned detonation is just the latest in a decades-long history of experiments at the Nevada Test Site to shake the earth and raise a dust cloud...

...The test has been named ''Divine Strake,'' adding to the outrage felt by many Native Americans, who say the test site sits on sacred land.

''It's a mystery why they call it 'divine','' said Carrie Dann, a grandmother and executive director of the Western Shoshone Defense Project. ''Isn't 'divine' used for your deity, God, your sacredness? Why don't they call it 'Hell Strake?'''

''When you are working testing weaponry of destruction of life, you should not associate it with 'divine','' Dann added. ''We want this insanity to stop. No more bombs and no more testing.''...
Bush and Cheney Discussed Plame Prior to Leak
By Jason Leopold
t r u t h o u t Report
Monday 10 April 2006

In early June 2003, Vice President Dick Cheney met with President Bush and told him that CIA officer Valerie Plame Wilson was the wife of Iraq war critic Joseph Wilson and that she was responsible for sending him on a fact-finding mission to Niger to check out reports about Iraq's attempt to purchase uranium from the African country, according to current and former White House officials and attorneys close to the investigation to determine who revealed Plame-Wilson's undercover status to the media.

Other White House officials who also attended the meeting with Cheney and President Bush included former White House Chief of Staff Andrew Card, then-National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice, her former deputy Stephen Hadley, and Deputy White House Chief of Staff Karl Rove.

This information was provided to this reporter by attorneys and US officials who have remained close to the case. Investigators working with Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald compiled the information after interviewing 36 Bush administration officials over the past two and a half years.

The revelation puts a new wrinkle into Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald's two-year-old criminal probe into the leak and suggests for the first time that President Bush knew from early on that the vice president and senior officials on his staff were involved in a coordinated effort to attack Wilson's credibility by leaking his wife's classified CIA status.

Now that President Bush's knowledge of the Plame Wilson affair has been exposed, there are thorny questions about whether the president has broken the law - specifically, whether he obstructed justice when he was interviewed about his knowledge of the Plame Wilson leak and the campaign to discredit her husband...

Monday, April 10, 2006

THREE THINGS: Goon assaults, night snipers & propaganda. Today's GOP in a nutshell.

Number one: Tom Delay's campaign manager sends goons to opponent's event to assault people.

SUGAR LAND, Texas - Supporters of U.S. Rep. Tom DeLay protested at an event Thursday held by the Democratic candidate for the congressman's seat, and the event quickly dissolved into a shouting and shoving match. Police were called, but made no arrests.

"I got pushed. I got hit. I got a sign wadded up in my face and my hat pulled down over my eyes," said Marsha Rovai, 69, a supporter of Nick Lampson. "They just did it to be nasty."

DeLay campaign manager Chris Homan said he organized the protest...

Number two: Right wing radio host advocates murdering border crossers:

Right-wing radio host Brian James of KFYI in Arizona recently advocated murder as a way of dealing with undocumented immigrants. An excerpt:

What we’ll do is randomly pick one night - every week - where we will kill whoever crosses the border. Step over there and you die. You get to decide whether it’s your lucky night or not. I think that would be more fun…[I’d be] happy to sit there with my high-powered rifle and my night scope.

Number three: Sissy ideologue accuses heroic journalist of trying to scare people with the truth.

This morning on Fox News, Bill Kristol slammed Seymour Hersh’s article about plans being developed by the Bush administration to bomb Iran, possibly with nuclear weapons. Kristol called the article “bad reporting” that was intended to “scare people away from a much more limited and credible military option against Iran.” Kristol also suggested that the only alternative to a nuclear Iran was “military strikes.”
They don't like it. People are catching on. The rightwing is getting down to it's core. The truly stupid and dangerous people and those that seek to manipulate them.
Be careful out there. The goons and grifters are getting desperate. There will be more lying and more violence as the GOP implodes this election year.

Sunday, April 09, 2006

You can gauge Fitzgerald's success by the whine of the wounded weasels:

When former Deputy Attorney General James Comey appointed Patrick Fitzgerald to investigate the outing of Valerie Plame he called Fitzgerald “an absolutely apolitical career prosecutor” and praised “his sterling reputation for integrity and impartiality.”
But now, Fitzgerald’s investigation has uncovered information that is damaging to President Bush. Today on Fox News Sunday, Weekly Standard editor William Kristol began the attack:

You know, the leak story is absurd, but I now think the whole prosecution is absurd. And I have hesitated to say this, because I have friends who respect Fitzgerald, but I now think it’s a politically motivated attempt to wound the Bush administration. … He is now out to discredit the Bush administration. He has bought the argument that there is something improper about the Bush administration responding to Joe Wilson’s charges...

I kid you, not.
Note to Jack: it's not the report that's nuts, it's the subject of the report that's nuts.


London - British foreign secretary Jack Straw on Sunday dismissed claims that the United States was preparing for military action against Iran, including nuclear strikes on suspected atomic weapons facilities.

He told BBC television that the international community was right to view the Islamic republic's nuclear programme with "high suspicion" but "there is no smoking gun, there is no 'casus belli' (justification for war)".

"We can't be certain about Iran's intentions and that is therefore not a basis for which anybody would gain authority to go to military action," he said.

Straw was speaking following reports from the United States that President George W Bush was studying options for military strikes, including possible targets.

The April 17 edition of the New Yorker said they included Iran's underground uranium enrichment plant at Natanz and its uranium conversion facility at Isfahan.

Straw dismissed the idea of nuclear strikes with bunker-busting bombs as "completely nuts" and questioned the reliability of the reports' source.
Kucinich To Introduce A Resolution To Demand Documents
From White House On President's Role In Leaking Intelligence On Iraq.

Kucinich To Introduce A Resolution Of Inquiry

WASHINGTON - April 7 - Congressman Dennis J. Kucinich (D-OH), Ranking Democrat on the House Government Reform Subcommittee on National Security, Emerging Threats and International Relations, announced today that he will introduce a Resolution of Inquiry to demand documents from the White House on the role that the President played in the leaking of the National Intelligence Estimate (NIE).

A Resolution of Inquiry is a privileged resolution used to obtain documents from the Executive Branch. Under House rules, Kucinich's resolution will be referred to committee, and action must be taken in committee within 14 legislative days.

Kucinich's resolution will seek documents, including telephone logs, email records, calendars, minutes and memos, regarding the role the President played in declassifying selected portions of the NIE and the leaking of the NIE to the press...
A 'Concerted Effort' to Discredit Bush Critic
Prosecutor Describes Cheney, Libby as Key Voices Pitching Iraq-Niger Story
By Barton Gellman and Dafna Linzer
Washington Post Staff Writers
Sunday, April 9, 2006; A01

As he drew back the curtain this week on the evidence against Vice President Cheney's former top aide, Special Counsel Patrick J. Fitzgerald for the first time described a "concerted action" by "multiple people in the White House" -- using classified information -- to "discredit, punish or seek revenge against" a critic of President Bush's war in Iraq.

Bluntly and repeatedly, Fitzgerald placed Cheney at the center of that campaign. Citing grand jury testimony from the vice president's former chief of staff, I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, Fitzgerald fingered Cheney as the first to voice a line of attack that at least three White House officials would soon deploy against former ambassador Joseph C. Wilson IV...

...The Italian intelligence services were centrally involved in the clandestine distribution of the forgeries and in all likelihood the creation of the forgeries themselves. Everything the Italian government has done since then has been to impede any outside investigation into their role.

There's simply no reason to credit anything an Italian government investigation of this matter reveals. If anything, its findings are probably a good bet to be the exact opposite of what is a. And the timing of such a release is no doubt in response to indications that at least two US news organizations will release new, damaging revelations about their role in the not-too-distant future.-- Josh Marshall


The Sunday Times (UK)
April 09, 2006
'Forgers' of key Iraq war contract named
Michael Smith

TWO employees of the Niger embassy in Rome were responsible for the forgery of a notorious set of documents used to help justify the Iraq war, an official investigation has allegedly found.

According to Nato sources, the investigation has evidence that Niger’s consul and its ambassador’s personal assistant faked a contract to show Saddam Hussein had bought uranium ore from the impoverished west African country.

The documents, which emerged in 2002, were used in a US State Department fact sheet on Iraq’s weapons programme to build the case for war. They were denounced as forgeries by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) shortly before the 2003 invasion.

The revelation spawned a series of conspiracy theories, most alleging that the British, Italians, or even Dick Cheney, the American vice-president, had had a hand in forging them to back the case for war.

The story was still reverberating around Washington last week with claims that President George W Bush had authorised the leaking of the identity of a CIA agent whose husband cast doubt on the Niger link...

... After the IAEA had dismissed the forged documents, the Americans disowned all the Iraq-Niger uranium claims. But the latest allegations are unlikely to end the row.

This springs from the mission of Joseph Wilson, a former American ambassador, who was sent to Niger to check the uranium claims.

Wilson dismissed the possibility of Iraq obtaining uranium and publicly attacked Bush’s claims. The White House retaliated, with officials briefing journalists that Wilson’s wife, Valerie Plame, was a CIA agent. Naming an undercover agent is illegal in America.

Last week, Lewis “Scooter” Libby, a former aide to Cheney, told the inquiry into the leak that the vice-president ordered the briefings and that Bush had authorised them...

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Two failed 'wars'? Hey let's have another! Third time's the charm! And what do you say? Let's make it nuclear...

Would President Bush go to war to stop Tehran from getting the bomb?
Issue of 2006-04-17
Posted 2006-04-10

The Bush Administration, while publicly advocating diplomacy in order to stop Iran from pursuing a nuclear weapon, has increased clandestine activities inside Iran and intensified planning for a possible major air attack. Current and former American military and intelligence officials said that Air Force planning groups are drawing up lists of targets, and teams of American combat troops have been ordered into Iran, under cover, to collect targeting data and to establish contact with anti-government ethnic-minority groups. The officials say that President Bush is determined to deny the Iranian regime the opportunity to begin a pilot program, planned for this spring, to enrich uranium.

American and European intelligence agencies, and the International Atomic Energy Agency (I.A.E.A.), agree that Iran is intent on developing the capability to produce nuclear weapons. But there are widely differing estimates of how long that will take, and whether diplomacy, sanctions, or military action is the best way to prevent it. Iran insists that its research is for peaceful use only, in keeping with the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, and that it will not be delayed or deterred.

There is a growing conviction among members of the United States military, and in the international community, that President Bush’s ultimate goal in the nuclear confrontation with Iran is regime change. Iran’s President, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, has challenged the reality of the Holocaust and said that Israel must be “wiped off the map.” Bush and others in the White House view him as a potential Adolf Hitler, a former senior intelligence official said. “That’s the name they’re using. They say, ‘Will Iran get a strategic weapon and threaten another world war?’ ”...
White House Faces Barrage of Leak Queries
By PETE YOST, Associated Press Writer

The White House faced a barrage of questions Friday over the timing of President Bush's decision to declassify intelligence that was then leaked to the press by Vice President Dick Cheney's chief of staff...

...Administration critics said Bush's actions were a misuse of the declassification process.

Bush's "selective declassification of highly sensitive intelligence for political purposes is wrong," said House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif.

Pelosi said a presidential executive order requires a uniform system for classifying, declassifying and safeguarding national security information and asked, "Why didn't President Bush follow this protocol before authorizing the selective leak of highly sensitive intelligence?"

Rep. Rush Holt, D-N.J., called for a House Intelligence Committee investigation and for the president to explain his actions in person to Congress.

Last year, a commission appointed by Bush to look into the failure to find weapons of mass destruction in Iraq cautioned against leaks for political purposes.

"Policymakers who leak intelligence to the press in order to gain political advantage ... may do so without fully appreciating the potential harm that can result to sources and methods," the commission said.

It said the intelligence community should consider implementing "a widespread, modern-day equivalent of the `Loose Lips Sink Ships' campaign to educate individuals about their legal obligations and possible penalties to safeguard intelligence information."...
Libby testimony shows a White House pattern of intelligence leaks
By Warren P. Strobel and Ron Hutcheson
Knight Ridder Newspapers

WASHINGTON - The revelation that President Bush authorized former White House aide I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby to divulge classified information about Iraq fits a pattern of selective leaks of secret intelligence to further the administration's political agenda.

Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney and other top officials have reacted angrily at unauthorized leaks, such as the exposure of a domestic wiretapping program and a network of secret CIA prisons, both of which are now the subject of far-reaching investigations.

But secret information that supports their policies, particularly about the Iraq war, has surfaced everywhere from the U.N. Security Council to major newspapers and magazines. Much of the information that the administration leaked or declassified, however, has proved to be incomplete, exaggerated, incorrect or fabricated...

Friday, April 07, 2006

From the WSJ:

Fitzgerald Aims to Show An Organized Plan Led
To Leak of CIA Agent's Name
April 8, 2006; Page A6

WASHINGTON -- The special prosecutor trying the case against former vice presidential chief of staff I. Lewis Libby will try to show that the leaking of a CIA agent's name grew out of a highly organized administration effort that commanded high-level attention, a court filing this week shows...

(Image 4/7/06)

The 'DELIVERANCE' President:

All we need is Joe Scarborough playing banjo on a bridge to complete the picture.

I LOVE John Gibson! Looks like a little creature, a vole or a mole maybe, peaking it's little head out of a hole in your garden. Earned his journalistic 'bones' reporting on the OJ trial. Not exactly Ed Murrow stuff. Hell, not exactly Katie Couric stuff. But he's got the FOX thing in spades:Fear & Untruth. He's got to work hard to stand out in that crew of rejects, retards, retreads & regressives over there at FOX. For all you do, John Gibson, I hope you're back to selling shoes in a mall soon or whatever your fallback career is. There's always latenight info-mercials. "Hi! I'm John Gibson here to tell you about Albino-sheen!" But please stop trying to foment another illegal and immoral war, you dimwit...

John Gibson falsely claimed that a "Russian general said that North Korea does have the [nuclear] bomb, and Iran's going to have the [nuclear] bomb literally any minute."

Excerpt from interview:
GIBSON: Well, today, I believe a Russian general said that North Korea does have the bomb, and Iran's going to have the bomb literally any minute. So, what else do you need to know?

HARMAN: Well, I don't know who the North -- the Russian general is. We know that Russia's been transferring technology to Iran for decades. Congress tried to stop it some time ago, and it obviously didn't stop. But that doesn't cause me to believe it. Let's remember the history on Iraq. We learn now that one of the biggest sources was called Curveball, and Curveball was totally unreliable. And we based a lot of intelligence products on this guy. I think we've seen this movie before. We shouldn't do saber-rattling back. What we should do is the hard work of getting the good sources, doing the right analysis, and then speaking truth to power, so that our policymakers have the best possible intelligence.

Did Bush Lie to Fitzgerald?
By Robert Parry
Consortium News
Friday 07 April 2006

Lewis Libby's testimony identifying George W. Bush as the top official who authorized the leaking of intelligence about Iraq's alleged nuclear weapons program raises two key questions: What did the President tell the special prosecutor about this issue in 2004 and what is Bush's legal status in the federal criminal probe?

Bush's legal danger came into clearer focus with the release of a court document citing testimony from Libby, Vice President Dick Cheney's former chief of staff who claimed that Bush approved the selective release of intelligence in July 2003 to counter growing complaints that Bush had hyped evidence on Iraq's pursuit of enriched uranium...

...While some experts believe Bush has the legal authority to unilaterally declassify secrets, Libby's testimony - along with other evidence from this so-called Valerie Plame leak investigation - leaves little doubt that Bush and White House aides repeatedly misled the public about the role of senior officials in disseminating secret information to deflect criticism about the Iraq invasion.

Bush even vowed to fire anyone who leaked classified material. "The President has set high standards, the highest of standards, for people in his administration," White House press secretary Scott McClellan said on Sept. 29, 2003. "If anyone in this administration was involved in it, they would no longer be in this administration."

Yet, Bush never disclosed that he himself had a hand in planting information to discredit former Ambassador Joseph Wilson for accusing the administration of having "twisted" the pre-war intelligence to justify invading Iraq...

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Uproar Grows Over Bush Role in Libby Leakage
By E&P Staff and The Associated Press
Published: April 06, 2006 11:00 PM ET

NEW YORK Leading newpapapers in articles for Friday papers portrayed the revelation that President Bush may have authorized Lewis "Scooter" to feed sensitive intelligence information to reporters as another major blow to the White House.

Michael Fletcher in The Washington Post, for example, wrote that this "introduces a new dimension to the long-running CIA leak investigation, while posing troubling new political problems for the administration."

Until now, the investigation had been about aides to Bush and their alleged efforts to attack the credibility of a vocal administration critic, including by possibly leaking classified information. Bush cast himself as a disinterested observer, eager to resolve the case and hold those responsible accountable.

The New York Times in a news story observed that the latest information "provides an indication that Mr. Bush, who has long criticized leaks of secret information as a threat to national security, may have played a direct role in authorizing disclosure of the intelligence report on Iraq."

On its editorial page, meanwhile, The Times declared that, at the least, "revealing selected bits of intelligence, including information that officials may well have known to be false, seems like a serious abuse of power. It's not even clear that Mr. Bush can legally declassify intelligence at whim."

President Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney authorized Cheney's top aide to launch a counterattack of leaks against administration critics on Iraq by feeding intelligence information to reporters, according to court papers citing the aide's testimony in the CIA leak case.

In a court filing, Special Counsel Patrick Fitzgerald stopped short of accusing Cheney of authorizing his chief of staff, I. Lewis Libby, to leak the CIA identity of Valerie Plame.

But the prosecutor, detailing the evidence he has gathered, raised the possibility that the vice president was trying to use Plame's CIA employment to discredit her husband, administration critic Joseph Wilson.

Cheney, according to an indictment against Libby, knew that Wilson's wife worked at the CIA as early as June 12, 2003, more than a month before that fact turned up in a column by Robert Novak.

Fitzgerald quoted Libby as saying he was authorized to tell New York Times reporter Judith Miller that Iraq was "vigorously trying to procure" uranium. Fitzgerald said Libby told him it "was the only time he recalled in his government experience when he disclosed a document to a reporter that was effectively declassified by virtue of the president's authorization that it be disclosed."

The process was so secretive that other Cabinet-level officials did not know about it, according to the court papers, which point to Bush and Cheney as setting in motion a leak campaign to the press that ended in Plame's blown cover.

In 2003, when the public furor erupted over the disclosure of a CIA operative's status, Bush said he wanted to get to the bottom of the affair. "I want to know the truth," he said at the time.

Libby's testimony puts the president and the vice president in the awkward position of authorizing leaks. Both men have long said they abhor such practices, so much so that the administration has put in motion criminal investigations at their behest to hunt down leakers...

"So if I understand you correctly, Jesus, I nuke Iran and then invade N. Korea? Or do I nuke N. Korea and then invade Iran? And do I do this after we spread the bird flu at anti-war protests and quarantine all the commies?"

President George W Bush told Palestinian ministers that God had told him to invade Afghanistan and Iraq - and create a Palestinian State, a new BBC series reveals.

In Elusive Peace: Israel and the Arabs, a major three-part series on BBC TWO, Abu Mazen, Palestinian Prime Minister, and Nabil Shaath, his Foreign Minister, describe their first meeting with President Bush in June 2003.

Nabil Shaath says: "President Bush said to all of us: 'I'm driven with a mission from God. God would tell me, "George, go and fight those terrorists in Afghanistan." And I did, and then God would tell me, "George, go and end the tyranny in Iraq …" And I did. And now, again, I feel God's words coming to me, "Go get the Palestinians their state and get the Israelis their security, and get peace in the Middle East." And by God I'm gonna do it.'" ...
You know, we used to confine delusional people in state mental asylums. Then Reagan closed them. Interesting point; was Reagan the first delusional President? He described movies he'd been in as actual events from his own life. That's fairly harmless. But directing foreign policy based on the voices in your head; that's a bit much...

Bush at Center of Intelligence Leak
By Jason Leopold
t r u t h o u t Report
Thursday 06 April 2006

Attorneys and current and former White House officials close to the investigation into the leak of covert CIA operative Valerie Plame Wilson said Thursday that President Bush gave Vice President Dick Cheney the authorization in mid-June 2003 to disclose a portion of the highly sensitive National Intelligence Estimate to Washington Post reporter Bob Woodward and former New York Times reporter Judith Miller.

These current and former White House officials are among the 36 witnesses who have testified before a grand jury and have been cooperating with the special counsel's probe since its inception.

The officials, some of whom are attorneys close to the case, added that more than two dozen emails that the vice president's office said it recently discovered and handed over to leak investigators in February show that President Bush was kept up to date about the circumstances surrounding the effort to discredit former Ambassador Joseph Wilson.

The sources indicated that the leak probe is now winding down, and that soon, new information will emerge from the special counsel's office that will prove President Bush had prior knowledge of the White House campaign to discredit Plame Wilson's husband, former Ambassador Joseph Wilson, who accused the administration of "twisting" intelligence on the Iraqi threat in order to win public support for the war...
US vs I. LEWIS 'Scooter' LIBBY @ Findlaw (The whole Fileing-38 pages, one page at a time, not a pdf.): The gist? A gun, smoking.
Great collection of quotes(with links) at Democratic Underground Home page.

Quotes like this:

"...if there is a leak out of my administration, I want to know who it is. And if the person has violated law, the person will be taken care of... I want to know the truth. If anybody has got any information inside our administration or outside our administration, it would be helpful if they came forward with the information so we can find out whether or not these allegations are true and get on about the business." - George W. Bush, September 30, 2003.

"I don't know of anybody in my administration who leaked."--GWB

The story off the AP wire @ 10am PDT:

WASHINGTON - Vice President Dick Cheney's former top aide told prosecutors President Bush authorized the leak of sensitive intelligence information about Iraq, according to court papers filed by prosecutors in the CIA leak case. Before his indictment, I. Lewis Libby testified to the grand jury investigating the Valerie Plame leak that Cheney told him to pass on the information and that it was Bush who authorized the leak, the court papers say. According to the documents, the authorization led to the July 8, 2003, conversation between Libby and New York Times reporter Judith Miller.
I hear this is Breaking everywhere: Bloomberg, MSNBC, etc...

Libby Says Bush Authorized Leaks
By Murray Waas, National Journal© National Journal Group Inc.

Vice President Dick Cheney's former chief of staff has testified that President Bush authorized him to disclose the contents of a highly classified intelligence assessment to the media to defend the Bush administration's decision to go to war with Iraq, according to papers filed in federal court on Wednesday by Patrick J. Fitzgerald, the special prosecutor in the CIA leak case.

I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby testified to a federal grand jury that he had received "approval from the President through the Vice President" to divulge portions of a National Intelligence Estimate regarding Saddam Hussein's purported efforts to develop nuclear weapons, according to the court papers. Libby was said to have testified that such presidential authorization to disclose classified information was "unique in his recollection," the court papers further said...
Heckuva Job? Molesting a Brownie or was she a Campfire Girl?

Former DHS Child Porn Official a Sex Criminal?
Posted on Apr. 6, 2006

A Dept. of Homeland Security official who was arrested last year for allegedly exposing himself to a girl in a mall, used to run the “Predator” anti-child sex criminal program.

This is separate from the DHS official who was arrested earlier this week on alleged child porn charges.

What the hell is going on at DHS?
The NEW YORK SUN(!?!) reporting:

Bush Authorized Leak to Times, Libby Told Grand Jury
New York Sun Web Exclusive
BY JOSH GERSTEIN - Staff Reporter of the Sun
April 6, 2006

A former White House aide under indictment for obstructing a leak probe, I. Lewis Libby, testified to a grand jury that he gave information from a closely-guarded "National Intelligence Estimate" on Iraq to a New York Times reporter in 2003 with the specific permission of President Bush, according to a new court filing from the special prosecutor in the case.

The court papers from the prosecutor, Patrick Fitzgerald, do not suggest that Mr. Bush violated any law or rule. However, the new disclosure could be awkward for the president because it places him, for the first time, directly in a chain of events that led to a meeting where prosecutors contend the identity of a CIA employee, Valerie Plame, was provided to a reporter...

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

"I want to be invisible. I do guerilla warfare. I paint my face and travel at night. You don't know it's over until you're in a body bag. You don't know until election night." ---Ralph Reed, Norfolk Virginian Pilot, 11/9/91

Will Ralph Reed crap out?
The one-time golden boy of the Christian right did the bidding of Abramoff's casino clients. Will the unholy alliance be his undoing?
By Michael Scherer
Apr. 06, 2006

On the campaign trail in south Georgia, Ralph Reed, the Republican strategist who created the Christian Coalition, wears shiny black cowboy boots -- full quill ostrich leather -- to help give him the swagger of a man still on the make. He is running for lieutenant governor in the Peach State, his first campaign for public office, but he wants everyone to know that he is not just another local boy trying to break into state politics. As we mingle at a private reception at Sea Palms Resort on the state's eastern shore, he tells me, "This isn't my first rodeo."

It just may be his last, however. Reed has been weathering a blizzard of revelations about his partnership with the convicted lobbyist Jack Abramoff. Prominent state Republicans have called for him to drop out of the race before the April 28 filing deadline. A recent poll showed that his candidacy might even hurt other Republicans, like Gov. Sonny Perdue, who are on the ticket in November. Matt Towery, a pollster who is a former aide to Newt Gingrich, said the Democrats could easily skewer Reed with an ad campaign. "He could just be tattooed by the Democrats with paid media," Towery explained. "Most people in this state don't know who Ralph Reed is."

As we now know, Reed, the former "cherub-in-chief" of American politics, traded his halo to work as a gun for hire in Abramoff's operation, secretly rallying conservative Christians to do the bidding of Abramoff's casino clients. This was, in many ways, an understandable role for Reed, a political prodigy, who started in politics as a disciple of Abramoff, the former chairman of the College Republicans. "I used to tell people he was going to be either president of the United States or Al Capone," Reed's mother, Marcy, once told USA Today. By the end of the 1990s, when Abramoff came calling, Reed seemed destined for the White House, at least as a top political aide. He was known as the organizational mastermind of the religious right, joining with televangelist Pat Robertson to bring the GOP to Jesus...
Can you say FUND-A-MENTAL? From the Henry Institute, a Southern Baptist Theological Seminary:

" overall philosophy of childrearing. I am aiming to raise up violent sons.

I am not seeking to raise sons who are violent in the amoral, pagan sense of contemporary teenagers playing "Grand Theft Auto" video games or carjacking motorists. I want them to be more violent than that.

I want them to understand that the Christian life is not a Hallmark Channel version of baptized sentimentality. Instead, it is a cosmic battle between an evil dragon and the child of the woman, an ancient warfare that now includes all who belong to the Child of the Promise (Rev 12). I want them to forgive their enemies, not because they are good boys, but because they understand that vengeance against the Serpent comes not from their hand, but from that of the anointed Warrior-King (Rev 19), whose blood-soaked garments don't often transfer to the imagery of a Precious Moments wall-hanging. And I want them to exercise self-control of their passions, not because it is polite, but because they are called to struggle against the Evil One, even to the point of cutting off their own limbs rather than succumb to devices.

The "Star Wars" movie offered the opportunity to talk through these issues of cosmic struggle with my boys. And to place such themes in context of what they already know from the most blessedly violent bedtime stories they hear every day: the Holy Scriptures."...
Excerpt from Franklin Delano Roosevelt's June 27, 1936 "Acceptance Speech for the Democratic Nomination for President"

"...For out of this modern civilization economic royalists carved new dynasties. New kingdoms were built upon concentration of control over material things. Through new uses of corporations, banks and securities, new machinery of industry and agriculture, of labor and capital - all undreamed of by the Fathers - the whole structure of modern life was impressed into this royal service.

There was no place among this royalty for our many thousands of small-businessmen and merchants who sought to make a worthy use of the American system of initiative and profit. They were no more free than the worker or the farmer. Even honest and progressive-minded men of wealth, aware of their obligation to their generation, could never know just where they fitted into this dynastic scheme of things.

It was natural and perhaps human that the privileged princes of these new economic dynasties, thirsting for power, reached out for control over government itself. They created a new despotism and wrapped it in the robes of legal sanction. In its service new mercenaries sought to regiment the people, their labor, and their property. And as a result the average man once more confronts the problem that faced the Minute Man.

The hours men and women worked, the wages they received, the conditions of their labor - these had passed beyond the control of the people, and were imposed by this new industrial dictatorship..."
From David Sirota: Working For Change blog

Wall Street Dems unveil plans to undermine the progressive movement

Here's a big shocker - the Wall Street wing of the Democratic Party today announced it would be beginning its new war in earnest on the grassroots elements of the party that are demanding serious public policy changes. As the Financial Times reports, Citigroup Chairman Bob Rubin held a press conference at the Brookings Institution to announce the formation of the so-called "Hamilton Project." After paying lip service to various economic problems afflicting the country, Rubin and his former Treasury colleague Roger Altman quickly let it be known exactly what they are up to.

Here's the key excerpt:

"At a time when Democrats have become more aggressive in voicing concerns about the foreign ownership of US assets, Roger Altman, former deputy Treasury secretary under Mr Clinton, added that more inclusive economic growth could also 'blunt the political demands for protectionism'...[The group] said it was willing to take on entrenched Democratic interests, such as teaching unions. Policy papers unveiled on Wednesday proposed vouchers for summer schools..."

There it all is. First there's the dishonest name-calling aimed at those courageous Democrats who are challenging the free trade orthodoxy that is destroying the lives of millions of American and foreign workers. Then there is the promise of an ensuing attack on the labor movement - a reflexive move, of course, for a bunch of corporate executives. And finally, the nod to efforts to defund public education through "vouchers."

None of this is surprising, of course. As head of Citigroup, Rubin has a financial interest in the agenda he's pushing. And he's made no apologies for the brazenness with which he pushes his corporatism. Remember, it was Rubin during the debate over the Central American Free Trade Agreement who demanded that congressional Democrats back off their efforts to include labor, human rights and environmental protections in the pact. He and his pals are the same people who rammed trade deals like NAFTA, WTO and China PNTR down the throats of Americans, and then left government service for the high life of the corporate boardroom. There, they reaped the rich financial rewards of the very sell-out policies they used public office to push, while millions of Americans saw their jobs outsourced, their wages frozen and their benefits slashed.

Oh sure, the group claims it is going to look at critical issues like income inequality - but you can be sure they will look at that issue without looking at issues like "free" trade that are fueling that inequality. Because make no mistake about it - this move today is nothing more than the beginning of a frontal attack by Corporate America on the progressive movement, using the Democratic Party as an all-too-transparent cloak of legitimacy...

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

From The Washington Note:

Something Real to Run On: Bush's Biggest Tax Cuts Went to Richest

Well, of course they did.

But the New York Times is the first to document the distributional impact of Bush's tax cuts in a major article appearing in tomorrow's paper.
David Cay Johnston writes that Bush's tax cuts "significantly lowered the tax burden on the richest Americans, reducing taxes on incomes of more than $10 million by $500,000 on average."

The New York Times' analysis of IRS data found:

"Among taxpayers with incomes greater than $10 million, the amount by which their investment tax bill was reduced averaged about $500,000 in 2003, and total tax savings, which included the two Bush tax cuts on compensation, nearly doubled to slightly more than $1 million.

These taxpayers, whose average income was $26 million, paid about the same share of their income in income taxes as those making $200,000 to $500,000 because of the lowered rates on investment income.

Americans with annual incomes of $1 million or more, about one-tenth of 1 percent of all taxpayers, reaped 43 percent of all the savings on investment taxes in 2003. The savings for these taxpayers averaged about $41,400 each. By comparison, these same Americans received less than 10 percent of the savings from the other Bush tax cuts, which applied primarily to wages, though that share is expected to grow in coming years."

Charlie Rangel gets it and had the best quote in the Johnston piece:

Rep. Charles B. Rangel of New York, the senior Democrat on the House Ways and Means Committee, said after seeing the new figures that "these tax cuts are beyond irresponsible" when "we're in a war, we haven't fixed Social Security or Medicare, we've got record deficits."

For a moment, let's take the President at his word on this war against terrorism. It's an expensive war, so far running a bit more than $12,000 per Iraq citizen in a country where per capita income is about $1,500.

Who is sacrificing? Not those with the financial means. That's for sure.

George Bush thought he could win the Iraq War on the cheap -- but it's costing our future...
A fascist, an evangelical Christian and a war criminal walk into a bar; the bartender says, "Hello Mr. President."


Robert F. Kennedy Jr., Al Gore, Julia Roberts, and George Clooney, photographed by Annie Leibovitz.


Condi, War Crimes & the Press
By Robert Parry
April 3, 2006

During the three years of carnage in Iraq, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has shifted away from her now-discredited warning about a “mushroom cloud” to assert a strategic rationale for the invasion that puts her squarely in violation of the Nuremberg principle against aggressive war.

On March 31 in remarks to a group of British foreign policy experts, Rice justified the U.S.-led invasion by saying that otherwise Iraqi President Saddam Hussein “wasn’t going anywhere” and “you were not going to have a different Middle East with Saddam Hussein at the center of it.” [Washington Post, April 1, 2006]

Rice’s comments in Blackburn, England, followed similar remarks during a March 26 interview on NBC’s “Meet the Press” in which she defended the invasion of Iraq as necessary for the eradication of the “old Middle East” where a supposed culture of hatred indirectly contributed to the terror attacks on Sept. 11, 2001.

“If you really believe that the only thing that happened on 9/11 was people flew airplanes into buildings, I think you have a very narrow view of what we faced on 9/11,” Rice said. “We faced the outcome of an ideology of hatred throughout the Middle East that had to be dealt with. Saddam Hussein was a part of that old Middle East. The new Iraq will be a part of the new Middle East, and we will all be safer.”

But this doctrine – that the Bush administration has the right to invade other nations for reasons as vague as social engineering – represents a repudiation of the Nuremberg Principles and the United Nations Charter’s ban on aggressive war, both formulated largely by American leaders six decades ago...

Monday, April 03, 2006


Officials: DeLay Won't Seek Re-Election

Former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, a Texan touched by a lobbying scandal that ensnared some of his former top aides and cost the Republican his leadership post, won't seek re-election to Congress, officials said Monday.

They said DeLay also is likely to resign his seat and leave Congress by the end of May or mid-June. That would trigger a special election for his replacement.
(Image:Ronnie Earle)
Fitzgerald Knew Identity of Leaker From Start
By Jason Leopold t r u t h o u t
Monday 03 April 2006

The special counsel appointed in late December 2003 to investigate the leak of covert CIA operative Valerie Plame Wilson found out the identity of the Bush administration official who disclosed her undercover status to syndicated columnist Robert Novak just two months after the probe began.

But in early February 2004, a month after he started the investigation, Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald shifted gears and started to build a perjury and obstruction of justice case against White House Deputy Chief of Staff Karl Rove and Vice President Dick Cheney's former Chief of Staff I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby according to several attorneys close to the investigation.

That month, Justice Department investigators working on the leak case approached a senior official in the Office of Vice President Dick Cheney who had been identified by witnesses as having played a major role in the Plame Wilson leak.

The Bush administration official was given an ultimatum: either cooperate with the special counsel's probe or face criminal charges for his involvement in the leak, attorneys close to the case said.

The senior official decided to cooperate with the investigation and told Fitzgerald that Libby and Rove spoke to reporters about Plame Wilson, the attorneys said.

The official has been identified by attorneys and four current and former White House officials as John Hannah, a senior national security aide on loan to Vice President Dick Cheney from then-Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security Affairs John Bolton.

Hannah worked with Libby on the issue of weapons of mass destruction as part of an informal team known as the "White House Iraq Group." Hannah told friends last year that he was worried he might be implicated by the investigation, according to a report in the Washington Post...
Feingold to (Chris aka 'Skippy') Wallace from yesterday's FAUX NEWS SUNDAY:

WALLACE: But none of them have talked about censure. So if you change the law, why not just change the law? Why do you have to call for censuring a president during the middle of wartime?

FEINGOLD: Well, how — are we going to have a system, Chris, where whenever the president wants to make up his own law, he goes ahead and does it, and we say, gee, Mr. President, you broke the law, that's too bad. Let's make a law to make what you're doing legal. What kind of a government is that? What kind of a system is that? And what kind of a message to our kids? If you don't like the law, just make up whatever you want to do and keep going. Frankly, it's outrageous. And if there isn't some accountability, apart from the need to possibly look at legislation, if there isn't some statement that the president can't just make up his own laws, what have we come to? Who are we? It's an outrage, and every member of Congress and every American should say to the president, Mr. President, we respect your commitment in the fight against terrorism, but you've got to return to the law. You've got to return to the way we do things in this system.
How the GOP Became God's Own Party
By Kevin Phillips

Now that the GOP has been transformed by the rise of the South, the trauma of terrorism and George W. Bush's conviction that God wanted him to be president, a deeper conclusion can be drawn: The Republican Party has become the first religious party in U.S. history.

We have had small-scale theocracies in North America before -- in Puritan New England and later in Mormon Utah. Today, a leading power such as the United States approaches theocracy when it meets the conditions currently on display: an elected leader who believes himself to speak for the Almighty, a ruling political party that represents religious true believers, the certainty of many Republican voters that government should be guided by religion and, on top of it all, a White House that adopts agendas seemingly animated by biblical worldviews...

...Over a quarter-century of Bush presidencies and vice presidencies, the Republican Party has slowly become the vehicle of all three interests -- a fusion of petroleum-defined national security; a crusading, simplistic Christianity; and a reckless credit-feeding financial complex. The three are increasingly allied in commitment to Republican politics. On the most important front, I am beginning to think that the Southern-dominated, biblically driven Washington GOP represents a rogue coalition, like the Southern, proslavery politics that controlled Washington until Abraham Lincoln's election in 1860...

...Unfortunately, more danger lurks in the responsiveness of the new GOP coalition to Christian evangelicals, fundamentalists and Pentecostals, who muster some 40 percent of the party electorate. Many millions believe that the Armageddon described in the Bible is coming soon. Chaos in the explosive Middle East, far from being a threat, actually heralds the second coming of Jesus Christ. Oil price spikes, murderous hurricanes, deadly tsunamis and melting polar ice caps lend further credence.

The potential interaction between the end-times electorate, inept pursuit of Persian Gulf oil, Washington's multiple deceptions and the financial crisis that could follow a substantial liquidation by foreign holders of U.S. bonds is the stuff of nightmares. To watch U.S. voters enable such policies -- the GOP coalition is unlikely to turn back -- is depressing to someone who spent many years researching, watching and cheering those grass roots...

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Financial Times:
Republicans seize on censure bid to drum up support
By Caroline Daniel
Published: April 3 2006

More than 10m grassroots Republican activists were sent an internet advertisement this weekend.

It starts with a hooded man running through a bombed-out building. As the sounds of gunshots and a fast-beating heart fade, a voice intones:

"Terrorists declared war on our country. Today, the terrorists still fight this war."

After a reassuring shot of President George W. Bush vowing to defend the nation, and a reference to his pursuit of the international communications of al-Qaeda members, the advert cuts to clips of four angry Democrats. They suggest he has broken the law and hint at impeachment. "Censure? Impeachment? Is this the Democrat's plan?" it concludes.

The advertisement marks part of an ambitious campaign by Republicans to follow the strategy for the mid-term 2006 elections set out by Karl Rove, Mr Bush's chief political strategist: to paint the Democrats as soft on national security and living in a pre-9/11 world...

Why does the word Xanax pop into my mind, followed closely by Stepford, when I look at this picture?
The hits just keep on comin'. 'Culture of Corruption' doesn't cover it anymore. The GOP IS a criminal enterprise...

Advisory post gave Noe voice in U.S. Mint policy
Coin dealer pushed gold pieces; Treasury Dept. conducts probe (Toledo Blade)

WASHINGTON — In the months before Tom Noe came under scrutiny for his state-funded rare-coin venture, he used a federal appointment to forge relationships with U.S. Mint officials that opened doors for him on Capitol Hill, documents obtained by The Blade show.

And before he was brought down by scandal last year, the coin dealer helped persuade Congress — for the first time in the nation’s history — to authorize the minting of a 24-karat gold coin.

Mr. Noe’s quest to become a Washington power broker and to help redesign all U.S. coins fell apart last year when controversy gripped the $50 million rare-coin investment he managed for the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation and federal authorities announced they were investigating the GOP fund-raiser for allegedly laundering political contributions to President Bush’s campaign...

...In May, 2003, the White House and House Speaker Dennis Hastert recommended that Mr. Noe get a seat on the influential 11-member committee. Treasury Secretary John Snow appointed Mr. Noe, less than six months after the Toledo-area coin dealer expressed interest in joining a Mint committee to Henrietta Fore, then director of the Mint.

“I have always had interest in getting more involved on the national level,” Mr. Noe wrote to Ms. Fore.

Mr. Noe’s appointment and eventual chairmanship of the Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee enabled him to expand his reach into the federal government, according to more than 2,700 pages of e-mails and other committee records released last week by the Mint to The Blade. The newspaper filed a Freedom of Information Act request for the public records in June, 2005.

Documents and interviews reveal that Mr. Noe — who has pleaded not guilty to a 53-count felony theft and corruption indictment for his handling of Ohio’s rare-coin fund and not guilty to federal charges that he laundered money to President Bush’s re-election campaign — courted Mint officials at high-price restaurants in Washington, sought information on behalf of fellow coin dealers about future coins to be minted, and pushed the Mint and lawmakers to use higher-grade metals in the nation’s coins.

“Tom Noe saw a golden money pot and he wanted a piece of it,”...
Evelyn Pringle: 'Cheney and Halliburton hold title — top earners in Iraq

There has never been an investigation into Cheney's involvement in awarding Halliburton no-bid contracts making the company the number one war profiteerer in Iraq.

Apparently people have forgotten about the March 5, 2003 e-mail between the Army Corps of Engineers and a Pentagon employee that stated the contract "has been coordinated w VP's office."

People also seem to have forgotten that Cheney continues to own stock in Halliburton. Stock that has risen in leaps and bounds since its former CEO moved into the White House and developed the most prolific war profiteering scheme of all time.

A study released in June 2005, originating from the Defense Contract Audit Agency (DCAA), revealed that overall, Halliburton had received roughly 52% of the $25.4 billion that has been paid out to private contractors since the war in Iraq began.

Halliburton was the top profiteer when it came to funds belonging to the citizens of Iraq as well. A March 18, 2004 audit report by the Department of Defense Office of the Inspector General, titled, “Acquisition: Contracts Awarded by the Coalition Provisional Authority by the Defense Contracting Command-Washington," determined that the CPA and its predecessor, the Office for Reconstruction and Humanitarian Assistance, had circumvented federal contracting procedures since the early days of the occupation...
General Zinni on MEET THE PRESS:

ZINNI: I saw the - what this town is known for, spin, cherry-picking facts, using metaphors to evoke certain emotional responses or shading the context. We know the mushroom clouds and the other things that were all described that the media has covered well. I saw on the ground a sort of walking away from 10 years’ worth of planning. You know, ever since the end of the first Gulf War, there’s been planning by serious officers and planners and others, and policies put in place - 10 years' worth of planning were thrown away. Troop levels dismissed out of hand. Gen. Shinseki basically insulted for speaking the truth and giving an honest opinion.

The lack of cohesive approach to how we deal with the aftermath, the political, economic, social reconstruction of a nation, which is no small task. A belief in these exiles that anyone in the region, anyone that had any knowledge, would tell you were not credible on the ground. And on and on and on, decisions to disband the army that were not in the initial plans. There’s a series of disastrous mistakes. We just heard the Secretary of State say these were tactical mistakes. These were not tactical mistakes. These were strategic mistakes, mistakes of policies made back here. Don’t blame the troops. They’ve been magnificent. If anything saves us, it will be them.

As the tortured bodies of Iraqi civilians pile up in the streets (50 dead on Sunday alone), and Condoleezza Rice and U.K. foreign secretary Jack Straw rush to Baghdad to plead with Iraqi officials to unify their government, the NY Times editorial page writes that “the United States, in its hubris, helped bring all this to pass,” echoing conservative godfather William F. Buckley, who recently said, “the neoconservative hubris...overstretches the resources of a free country.” ...

Government in secret talks about strike against Iran
By Sean Rayment, Defence Correspondent(Filed: 02/04/2006)

The Government is to hold secret talks with defence chiefs tomorrow to discuss possible military strikes against Iran.

A high-level meeting will take place in the Ministry of Defence at which senior defence chiefs and government officials will consider the consequences of an attack on Iran.

It is believed that an American-led attack, designed to destroy Iran's ability to develop a nuclear bomb, is "inevitable" if Teheran's leaders fail to comply with United Nations demands to freeze their uranium enrichment programme...

...The United States government is hopeful that the military operation will be a multinational mission, but defence chiefs believe that the Bush administration is prepared to launch the attack on its own or with the assistance of Israel, if there is little international support. British military chiefs believe an attack would be limited to a series of air strikes against nuclear plants - a land assault is not being considered at the moment.
Exodus of 'values voters'?
Conservative Christians losing faith in GOP to advance their agenda
Sunday, April 2, 2006
By WAYNE SLATER / The Dallas Morning News

WASHINGTON – There was no clearer sense of the despair among conservative Christians who gathered recently than the row upon row of books with urgent, alarmist titles.

Pagan America. Judicial Tyranny. Liberalism Kills Kids. The Criminalization of Christianity.

In the political culture wars, religious conservatives say they've been electing candidates but not getting the results they want. And leaders worry that they might be about to lose Christian conservatives as a potent political force because of unmet expectations on a host of issues and stumbles by a Republican administration they helped elect.

Conservative "values voters" have been crucial to Republican success, with religious leaders driving huge voter turnout in recent elections. If they lack enthusiasm this fall, experts say, the GOP could lose control of Congress.
...And here's what you can do next election day: STAY HOME!
A bunch of drunks, dope-fiends, morons & crooks; some of whom are in charge of the country. Sheesh...

Pop entertainer Michael Jackson was named America's Most Foolish Individual for 2006 for the fourth consecutive year. The ranking is based on a random telephone survey of 1,045 individuals released in advance of April Fool's Day by well-known New York-based public relations consultant Jeff Barge.

In the Seventh Annual April Fool's Day Poll, a whopping 69% of those surveyed said the singer had "done something foolish" in the past year.

The second spot in this year's survey is shared between American vice president Dick Cheney, who recently shot a friend in the face during a hunting trip, and celebrity socialite Paris Hilton, a member of the well-known family of hoteliers. A total of 59% of American respondents said that Cheney and Hilton did "something foolish" in the past year.

American President George Bush ranked third in the survey, with 57% of the country saying he had done something foolish, up by 9 % over last year's ranking.

Actor Tom Cruise entered as a newcomer in the survey, where he ended up in the fourth place.

The number 5 spot was a tie between indicted Texas Congressman Tom Delay and singer Courtney Love both hitting at 41%.
Keeping It Quiet: The Israel Lobby's Crushing of Dissent
by Charley Reese

The first weapon of choice for the Israeli lobby when someone with prestige publishes a soundly researched paper or book critical of Israel or its powerful lobby is silence. If it's a book, it rarely gets reviewed; its author doesn't get interviewed. If it's a paper, there are no news stories in the big corporate press, no interviews with the authors, no television appearances.

For the average American who depends on the press to tell him what's going on, it's as if the criticism never existed. The second weapon is, of course, to launch vicious personal attacks.

Both methods are being used against an astounding paper titled "The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy." It was written by two renowned academics, John J. Mearsheimer of the University of Chicago and Stephen M. Walt of the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.

So far as I've been able to determine with the help of Google, while the paper and talk about it are all over the Internet, they are missing from the big corporate press as of this writing. It was published in the London Review of Books, and you can read it or download an edited version at There was one news story about it in the Christian Science Monitor and an attack on it by David Gergen in U.S. News & World Report. Gergen is editor at large of the magazine, which is owned by an ardent Zionist, Mortimer Zuckerman. Gergen is a professional spinmeister who has always served the people who have the butter for his bread...

Saturday, April 01, 2006

Great article from Greg Palast:

The Screwing of Cynthia McKinney
By Greg Palast
Have you heard about Cynthia McKinney, former U.S. Congresswoman?
Saturday, April 01, 2006

The Neocon Imaginary Middle East: Again

Speaking of political frauds, the Web site Newshog has nailed Kenneth R. Timmerman for falsely alleging that Iran has bought nuclear warheads from North Korea. In fact, Jane's Defense Weekly reported that Iran bought some ancient missile from Pyongyang, and there was never any question of a warhead. Timmerman is taken seriously by the White House, Congress, and the US press but in fact has no credibility as an Iran expert (at IC we like our Iran experts to know Persian, the way you'd expect an expert on France to know French; we're funny that way). Even the usually canny Jon Stewart gave Timmerman a respectful hearing.

French philosopher Michel Foucault defined "representation" as a process whereby a culture creates a stereotype of something and then substitutes the stereotype for the reality forever after. Once a "representation" is established, the reality can never challenge it, since any further information is filtered through the represenation. The "representation" of Iran as a nuclear power, when it just has a couple hundred centrifuges (you need thousands) and is not proven even to have a weapons program, is becoming powerful and unchallengeable in the US media...
Ignorance by Content and Omission
By Charles Sullivan

...The Bush cabal and its enablers in Congress are thus forced to call into service noble sounding euphemisms to hide the selfish motives behind their policies. Who but a fool or a madman would volunteer to kill hundreds of thousands of innocent people for the sake of increasing the already obscene profits of defense contractors and oil companies? It is precisely because the agenda of those in power conflicts with the interest of the people that governments lie and distort. Those who carry out the agenda of Plutocratic Empire must be made to believe that they are serving noble purposes rather than feeding the insatiable hunger of corporate greed. They must be convinced to betray their own class by acting against its best interest. It would be impossible to accomplish such a monumental task of behavior modification without the aid of the commercial media...