Thursday, May 31, 2007

Go to Original

Judge Will Release Letters in Libby Case
The Associated Press

Thursday 31 May 2007

Washington - A federal judge said Thursday he will release more than 150 letters he received regarding next week's sentencing of former White House aide I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby.

The letters are expected to show that, despite his conviction in March of perjury and obstruction in the CIA leak case, the former chief of staff to Vice President Dick Cheney retains support from current and former government officials.

Libby opposed the release of the letters, saying the writers never expected their words to be made public. Attorneys for several news organizations, including The Associated Press, responded last week by saying the law required the letters be released.

U.S. District Judge Reggie B. Walton agreed, citing a need for transparency.

"The court has received more than 150 sentencing letters in this case, some urging leniency for the defendant and some expressing opprobrium at the defendant's actions and calling for the imposition of a substantial prison sentence," Walton wrote.

The letters will be released after Libby is sentenced Tuesday, Walton said. Addresses and other personal information will not be released.

"I is drunk, don't tell nobody."
A spreading terror

Iraq now set up as a school for insurgents ready to be exported, says GEORGIE ANNE GEYER
May 31, 2007

...The White House sees terrorists as born, not created by history, bearing the mark of Cain, not the mark of circumstance. There is a scarlet "T" written on their foreheads at birth and the only answer is to destroy them. This kind of thinking, of course, relieves the thinker of any responsibility for the presence of the insurgent-terrorist-whatever in our innocent midst.

What's more, there is not much real give in the administration's policies. True, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and other American diplomats met Memorial Day weekend with the Iranians in Baghdad (a good first move but limited, since the Iranians have most of the power because of our incredible stupidity in Iraq). But by all reports, President Bush is more convinced than ever of his righteousness.

Friends of his from Texas were shocked recently to find him nearly wild-eyed, thumping himself on the chest three times while he repeated "I am the president!" He also made it clear he was setting Iraq up so his successor could not get out of "our country's destiny."...[Open in new window]

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Fighting racism for 20 years - Neo-Nazi victim Alan Berg's ex-wife calls hate a 'disease'

By Kevin Flynn, Rocky Mountain News
May 29, 2007

Twenty years ago tonight, Judith Berg came close to being gunned down with her ex-husband in one of Denver's most heinous murders.

But she prefers not to think about that.
Instead, she focuses on trying to stop the hate and racism that led neo-Nazis to assassinate Alan Berg — an abrasive-yet-popular talk show host on KOA-AM (850) radio.

On June 18, 1984, around 9:30 p.m., a hit squad was parked on Adams Street, staking out Alan Berg's town house. Judith had been there with him shortly before.

As Berg stepped out of his Volkswagen Beetle, he was cut down by a one-second burst of 13 bullets from a machine gun. He died instantly. Traces of the bullet holes can still be seen on the building's garage door.

It was the most notorious in a string of crimes committed by members of a gang that called itself Bruder Schweigen, or the Silent Brotherhood.

To the world, the group was known as The Order, patterned after the ruling clique in the racist novel The Turner Diaries.

Written by the late William Pierce, founder of a leading neo-Nazi organization called the National Alliance, the novel depicted a white revolution that included bombings and mass killings.

Eleven years later, the same novel would be embraced by Timothy McVeigh, whose bombing of the Oklahoma City federal building mimicked an event in the book.

It's that type of imitation that has Judith Berg concerned.

The 'disease of hate'

"Have things changed? Have we learned anything," she asked in an interview this week. "I just wish people noticed how it affected the future. It was a very shocking murder, which subsequently has been repeated in many ways."

Over the last two decades, Judith Berg has crisscrossed the country, speaking to diverse groups about what she calls the "disease and anatomy of hate," a sickness that can infect people so strongly that they commit horrible crimes.

Nearly all of the four dozen people associated with The Order had been ordinary folks with no criminal records until they began to conspire to establish a whites-only nation.

Members killed Berg and one other person, and committed numerous robberies, including a spectacular open-road heist of an armored truck near Ukiah, Calif., that netted $3.8 million.

They established a terrorist training camp in the remote Idaho panhandle woods and formulated a plan to break up into small cells to fan out and commit various acts of terrorism.

The FBI cracked the case before much more happened, killing The Order's leader, Robert Jay Mathews, during a 36-hour standoff on Whidbey Island, in Washington's Puget Sound, on Dec. 8, 1984.

Berg said the murder of her ex-husband was a watershed event that inspired more hate-movement violence.

"What happened to Alan in the grown-up world has reached into the youth culture," she said. "It opened the door to an acceptance of violence as a means of acting on hate."

The nation's attention is now focused on terror threats from abroad, but Berg thinks the nation should also look inward.

"While our backs are turned toward overseas, hate groups are having a heyday," she said.

"People are very unhappy; they're out of work and jobs are scarce. They're ripe for joining extremist groups. We need to understand what happened to make sure it doesn't happen again."...[Open in new window]


The wackjobs have been on the inside these last 6 years. The hate is top down.

It's the kids you have to worry about. When Ronnie Raygun & Co. undermined education in the '80s that was the beginning of the invasion of the know-nothings. These 'kids' (up to about the age of 40) will believe anything because they don't know any better. Never learned anything in school. That's why FAUX NOISE & the snarling heads (Hannity, etc.) are popular. They seem authorative & that's good enough when you don't know any better.

Rightwing domestic nutjob terrorism is way scarier than neo-con fantasy terrorism.

Education is the best prevention but that's almost a lost cause. The ignorant make better consumers. Shit, they'll happily buy poison food & eat it while watching no-talent idiots compete for prizes on TV.

I wish stoopid was illegal.

Investigations Challenge Republican Lawmakers' Hopes to Regain House Majority

Source: Associated Press

WASHINGTON — A half dozen federal investigations into the activities of Republican lawmakers are raising new worries for GOP leaders who hope to regain the House majority they lost last fall.

In recent weeks, two veteran Republicans surrendered prominent committee seats after FBI agents raided the offices of family businesses. Others have long-running investigations hanging over them. Some conservative activists are criticizing the party's handling of the matters.

Democrats say at least six GOP House members are under some degree of Justice Department scrutiny, although Republicans question whether all the inquiries are active.

In pure numbers, Republicans are approaching the magnitude of their problem at this stage of the 2006 election cycle. Eventually, nine House Republicans faced FBI investigations. Four stepped down, and two — Reps. Randy "Duke" Cunningham of California and Bob Ney of Ohio — are in prison. Of the five who sought re-election, three lost and the other two remain under ethical clouds...[Open in new window]

This is exciting

Fred Thompson to Enter '08 Race

ABC News' Rick Klein Reports: Former GOP senator Fred Thompson, R-Tenn., is eying an early July launch for his presidential campaign, and plans to create a fund-raising entity June 4 to start raising the millions he will need for his presidential campaign.

A GOP source tells ABC News that Thompson told key fund-raisers yesterday to prepare to write checks in early June. That fund-raising entity – not an exploratory committee – can be established for 60 days, meaning Thompson will have to make a decision inside of that window.

Rep. Zach Wamp, R-Tenn., -- a key Thompson backer -- declined to confirm the timeline, but said, “Early June is certainly going to be an exciting time. And the 4th of July is certainly within those 60 days.”

Two years of the "Last throes" as of today (sad anniversary)

VIDEO FLASHBACK: Two Year Anniversary Of Cheney’s ‘Last Throes’
On May 30, 2005, Vice President Cheney declared that the insurgency in Iraq was in its “last throes” and predicted “the level of activity that we see today from a military standpoint, I think, will clearly decline.”

Virtually every administration national security official publicly defended his statement. Then-Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld claimed that “last throes” could be “violent,” and told critics of Cheney’s phrase to “look it up in the dictionary.” Cheney insisted 10 months after his statement that it was “basically accurate” and “reflected reality.” One year later, he again stood by his words.

All the while, violence in Iraq has continued unabated. Since Cheney’s statement two years ago, 1,799 U.S. soldiers have been killed in Iraq, roughly half of all U.S. fatalities. At least 12,378 U.S. soldiers have been wounded.

Watch a compilation of Cheney and the reaction to his remarks (you’ll have to adjust the volume, the video quality is mixed):

Seventeen months later, in October 2006, Cheney finally acknowledged, “I would have expected that the political process we set in motion…would have resulted in a lower level of violence than we’re seeing today. It hasn’t happened yet. I can’t say that we’re over the hump in terms of violence, no.”

But new versions of “last throes” continue to emerge. On May 10, 2007, President Bush said, “The level of sectarian violence is an important indicator of whether or not the strategy that we have implemented is working. Since our operation began, the number of sectarian murders has dropped substantially.” Two weeks later, new figures showed that sectarian murders in the first three weeks of May had already surpassed numbers from January, before the escalation policy was launched.
[Open in new window]
Lawyer: Cheney Visitor Logs Not Recorded
By Pete Yost
The Associated Press

Washington - A lawyer for Vice President Dick Cheney told the Secret Service in September to eliminate data on who visited Cheney at his official residence, a newly disclosed letter states.

The Sept. 13, 2006, letter from Cheney's lawyer says logs for Cheney's residence on the grounds of the Naval Observatory are subject to the Presidential Records Act.

Such a designation prevents the public from learning who visited the vice president...

... The letter regarding the vice president's residence was in addition to an agreement quietly signed between the White House and the Secret Service a year ago when questions were raised about visits to the executive compound by convicted influence peddler Jack Abramoff....[Open in new window]


An unclassified summary of outed CIA officer Valerie Plame's employment history at the spy agency, disclosed for the first time today in a court filing by Special Counsel Patrick Fitzgerald, indicates that Plame was "covert" when her name became public in July 2003.

The summary is part of an attachment to Fitzgerald's memorandum to the court supporting his recommendation that I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, Vice President Cheney's former top aide, spend 2-1/2 to 3 years in prison for obstructing the CIA leak investigation...MSNBC:[Open in new window]


Now we'll see if the fuckwits at FOX keeping saying she wasn't...

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

God speaks to Tom DeLay.

From the new issue of the New Yorker:

DeLay says that when, in the coming years, he is not fighting the indictment in Texas (he insists that he is not guilty) he will be building a conservative grass-roots equivalent of “God has spoken to me,” he said. “I listen to God, and what I’ve heard is that I’m supposed to devote myself to rebuilding the conservative base of the Republican Party, and I think we shouldn’t be underestimated.”...[Open in new window]


What does God say to Tom Delay?

"Alright, Tommy boy, come out with your hands up...we got ya surrounded."


Send neocons Wolfowitz, Perle to Iraq, says GOP lawmaker

A Republican lawmaker has an unorthodox suggestion for Paul Wolfowitz's future employment now that the neoconservative war architect has been ousted as World Bank president -- send him to Iraq.

Rep. Walter Jones, R-N.C., suggested the Middle East assignment for Wolfowitz during a hearing of the House Armed Services Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee last week, as reported by ABC News's blog, The Blotter.

"I would like to suggest ... that maybe we give Paul Wolfowitz a new job and send him over there as mayor of Iraq, since the neocons got us in over there," Jones said. "And maybe Mr. (Richard) Perle could be co-mayor or co-chairman."...[Open in new window]


Hahahahahahaha. Right on.


(click image to enlarge)

Monday, May 28, 2007

Freepers Ban Giuliani Supporters

A few weeks ago – in between Hillary Clinton’s official entry into the presidential race and the first Republican primary debate of the cycle – the fiery online conservative forum Free Republic marked a decade in operation as one of the premier online forums for right-wing political discussion.

It also experienced one of the biggest internal battles to rock the site since the 2000 election of George W. Bush -- a tumultuous campaign year that nearly tore the site apart, as its founder and chief administrator first cleansed commenting ranks of Bush supporters, then, later, rallied to his support.

At the heart of the latest controversy: the fight over the conservative bona fides of Rudy Giuliani.

Over the past few weeks, chaos has reigned in the “Freeper” community as members sympathetic to the former mayor's candidacy claim to have suffered banishment from the site. They were victimized, they say, by a wave of purges designed to weed out any remaining support for the Giuliani campaign on the popular conservative web forum. Another significant chunk of commenters have migrated away from the controversial site over the action, according to a number of former site members and conservative bloggers who have been tracking the situation.

In a plaintive post on the blog “Sweetness & Light,” exiled commenter Steve Gilbert, who says he does not support the former mayor’s campaign, blasted the site’s new “anti-Giuliani, anti-abortion jihad.” Since George W. Bush was elected president, he wrote, “there haven’t been any large scale [Free Republic] purges to speak of – until now.”

The fight began one month ago, when site founder Jim Robinson posted an anti-Giuliani manifesto titled: “Giuliani as the GOP presidential nominee would be a dagger in the heart of the conservative movement.” Then the virtual ax started to swing. Longtime posters to the freewheeling discussion threads, used to serious no-holds-barred web etiquette, were still stunned by the intensity of the anti-Rudy activity; conservative blogs buzzed with the development.

“Jim Robinson has been going on a tear demonizing Rudy Giuliani, because Rudy (agreeing with the vast majority of Americans), is personally opposed to abortions on a moral level…” complained a user on the GOPUSA Web site. “Anyone who posts any support for Giuliani at the site, if it's at all forceful, will be banned.”

(“Normally, we don't allow complaints about other conservative forums,” chided the moderator, but “…because it is being discussed all over the Internet, I'll make an exception.”)

Just a few months ago, Rudy Giuliani placed second in an early Free Republic straw poll; now, his support on the site has been virtually eliminated. “After the ‘April Purge,’ I don't think there are any Rudybots left around here,” noted Free Republic commenter “upchuck” in one recent post. “And if there are, they're not posting pro-Rudy stuff :).”

The forums weren’t the only venue for the Free Republic’s new antagonism toward Mr. Giuliani, which coincided with a wave of comments expressing similar sentiments from other corners of the conservative movement. A few days after Mr. Giuliani’s equivocal Roe v. Wade comments at the Republican presidential debate on May 3, a new “STOP RUDY NOW News & Information Thread” was featured on the site, and a newly-created stand-alone category debuted via a link from the homepage: “The Giuliani Truth File.” (So far this campaign season, Mr. Giuliani is the only candidate – Republican or Democratic – to be singled out for that level of scrutiny from the Free Republic.)

Why Rudy? Why now? Some conservative bloggers and former commenters contacted for their view of the continuing controversy say they believe that site founder Jim Robinson holds ideologically middling Republicans like Mr. Giuliani responsible for the GOP’s congressional loss and current woes. (They asked that their names be kept out of this story for fear of antagonizing the famously frisky site regulars.)

Others claim that the former mayor’s top-tier status is spurring frantic site administrators into action.
Finally, one popular theory holds that the Free Republic is secretly hoping for another Clinton presidency that would send its Alexa ratings soaring back to levels it hasn’t experienced since its halcyon days of the Clinton impeachment, when a since-soured relationship with blog pioneer Matt Drudge and overwhelming anti-Clinton sentiment in Republican ranks helped make Free Republic one of the hottest Web sites in the nation. It hasn't recovered that luster since the Bush administration took over.

“It’s not a conspiracy theory, it’s an observation,” said one blogger, who describes himself as a half-hearted Mitt Romney supporter. “They’ve still got a brand name that means something, but they’re not what they were in terms of real-world impact. A Hillary presidency would get them there.”

Robinson himself could not be reached for comment, but his original post laid out his case against Mr. Giuliani – a graphics-heavy presentation of some of the former mayor’s most damning moderate quotes in mainstream media venues, along with a color-coded report card tracking his less-than-doctrinaire positions on abortion, immigration, gays and guns.

Robinson, it should be noted, famously blasted George W. Bush’s presidential candidacy back in 2000, before a dramatic late-campaign about-face that saw him emerge as one of the GOP ticket’s biggest supporters. But whether or not Free Republic experiences a similar election-year shift this cycle, the site’s current campaign is spreading a dangerous primary-season meme of Rudy Giuliani as big-city liberal – and turning one of the most influential web forums in conservatism into an exclusive gathering place for those who share that view...[Open in new window]

Deep Thoughts From Tom Friedman

05/30/03 on Charlie Rose.

I think it [the invasion of Iraq] was unquestionably worth doing, Charlie.


We needed to go over there, basically, um, and um, uh, take out a very big state right in the heart of that world and burst that bubble, and there was only one way to do it.


What they needed to see was American boys and girls going house to house, from Basra to Baghdad, um and basically saying, "Which part of this sentence don't you understand?"

You don't think, you know, we care about our open society, you think this bubble fantasy, we're just gonna to let it grow?

Well, Suck. On. This...[Open in new window]
Tom Friedman going for the coveted Stupidest Neo-con in the World Award. It's a tough fight between Friedman & Kristol & oh so many more...

Sunday, May 27, 2007

This Modern World:
It's campaign season on the northern land mass of planet Glox...

(click image to enlarge)

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Who Knew?

Dennis Kucinich did the opening of the Gettysburg Address in a Donald Duck voice on NPR's WAIT, WAIT, DON'T TELL ME today.
I bet the audio shows up at this link:[Open in new window]
Representative Confronts American Empire on House Floor

By Jim McDermott, AlterNet. Posted May 26, 2007.

Jim McDermott (D-WA) rescues some history from the Memoryhole, and puts Iraq into context: It's always been all about the oil.

Editor's note: After a week that saw Democrats cave to the White House in the worst possible way on Iraq, we thought this speech, offered on the House floor by Rep. Jim McDermott (D-WA) last Wednesday, was worth highlighting. In a brief, five-minute commentary, McDermott does something almost unheard of in Washington: he looks at an issue in its larger historical context instead of pretending it just sprung up overnight like mushrooms after a rainfall.

Mr. Speaker:

This President and Vice President have vowed to repeat the mistakes of history, and they have put into motion a plan to do just that in Iran, even as the House is about to send the President a box of blank checks for Iraq, against the will of the American people.

The history is worth knowing.

In 1953, the United States and United Kingdom launched Operation Ajax, a covert CIA operation to destabilize and remove the democratically elected government of Iran, including then Prime Minister Mohammed Mossadegh.

Why? Oil.

Under Mossadegh, the Iranian government decided to reclaim Iranís rightful ownership of its national oil treasure, which had been exclusively controlled by the British who were taking 85 percent of the profits.

Oh, and by the way, the UK also kept the books secret, merely telling Iran what its 15 percent take was.

As soon as Mossadegh began to reclaim Iranís oil treasure, it was all over. Operation Ajax was set into motion.

The U.S. embassy in Tehran provoked phony internal Iranian dissent, while the Brits engineered an Iranian financial crisis by orchestrating a global boycott of Iranian oil. We brought down the Iranian government and installed the Shah.

For two decades, we propped up the Shah against the will of the Iranian people. It was all about controlling Iran. It still is. Today, ABC News is reporting exclusively that this President has authorized a new covert CIA plot to bring down the Iranian government.

I ask unanimous consent to enter into the record the journalism produced by chief investigative reporter Brian Ross and Richard Esposito of ABC News.

This is their lead sentence in the story.

“The CIA has received secret presidential approval to mount a covert "black" operation to destabilize the Iranian government, current and former officials in the intelligence community tell the Blotter on”

We’re back in 1953 and that worked out so well...[Open in new window]
Clueless Coulter Again Proves She Lives in Parallel Universe

People like Ann Coulter are best left ignored, but her appearance on "Hannity and Colmes" Thursday night offered some telling insight into how the far-right extremist mind works — they simply deny reality when it doesn't conform to their own personal beliefs. They claim to represent "mainstream America" when — literally — the exact opposite is true.

Coulter: [T]he conservative base of the Republican Party is much more reflective of the rest of the country on things like illegal immigration, abortion … and CERTAINLY on the war.”

According to Ann, "the country" really does support Bush's handling of the war, and they really do oppose a pathway to citizenship and a timetable for withdrawal. Here are the numbers:

"Do you approve or disapprove of the way George W. Bush is handling the situation with Iraq? "

Approve Disapprove Unsure

ALL adults 23% 72% 5%

"Creating a program that would allow illegal immigrants already living in the United States for a number of years to stay in this country and apply for U.S. citizenship if they had a job and paid back taxes"

Favor Oppose Unsure

5/4-6/07 80% 19% 1%

"Do you think the United States should or should not set a timetable for the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq sometime in 2008?"

Should Should Not Unsure

5/18-23/07 63% 34% 3%

Contrary to what's going on in delusional Coulter World, the exact opposite is true in reality. It's hard to tell whether she actually believes what she says, or if she's just trying to convice herself of it by repetition. Either way, her views are patently and demonstrably false. It's no surprise that FOX has her on to "analyze" the American political scene (i.e. misinform and reinforce their viewers misguided beliefs).

Feith Referenced Fake Company As Evidence Of Pre-War Ties Between Iraq And Bin Laden

Early last month, Senate Armed Services Chairman Carl Levin (D-MI) released a declassified version of a Pentagon Inspector General report that found that in Sept. 2002, Undersecretary of Defense Douglas Feith gave a briefing entitled “Assessing the Relationship Between Iraq and al-Qaida” to Vice President Cheney’s chief of staff.

In this “alternative” intelligence assessment, Feith asserted that Osama Bin Laden’s al-Hijra Company had business “contacts” with a Dutch company, Vlemmo N.V. and that Vlemmo was a “front for Iraqi military procurement“.

Dick Cheney “publicly praised” the Feith assessment as “the best source of information on the topic.”

Yesterday, however, the Dutch Foreign Minister Maxime Verhagen explained that Feith had apparently invented the company, saying “Vlemmo is unknown to the Netherlands“:

The company has never been registered with the Chamber of Commerce in the Netherlands and is also not known to the tax service. That the company may have served as a front for illegal arms trade with Iraq is equally unknown to me.

The Inspector General report concluded that Feith inappropriately “developed, produced and then disseminated alternative intelligence assessments on the Iraq and al-Qaeda relationship,’” which included “conclusions that were inconsistent with the consensus of the Intelligence Community.”

Juan Cole has more.

Ryan Powers

Friday, May 25, 2007

Remember back in 2000 when the Bushistas were stealing the election? The rethugs bused in protesters to intimidate election workers in FLA? Good times....

From Brooks Brother Rioter to Judge

By Paul Kiel - May 25, 2007, 12:34 PM

Monica Goodling says she was given the green light to hire immigration judges based on their political qualifications. So how'd that happen? And who's been getting the gig?

As a story in The Legal Times last year explained, immigration judges are different from other federal judges in that they're civil service employees -- meaning that there's a formal application process with the Justice Department's Executive Office of Immigration Review.

But, Jason McLure reported, "according to an immigration-judge hiring policy released by the Justice Department, the attorney general also has the option to pre-empt the formal vetting process and directly hire a judge of his choosing."

It was apparently this option that allowed Goodling, and others at the department before her, to do their thing.

So who's been getting the gig? The last year profiled one of those judges, Garry Malphrus.

A former Republican aide on the Senate Judiciary Committee, Malphrus also worked on the White House's Domestic Policy Council before becoming a judge. But he really showed his stripes in 2000, when Malphrus joined other Republicans in making a ruckus (chanting, pounding on windows and doors) outside the Miami-Dade Elections Department -- the so-called "Brooks Brothers Riot" -- during the Bush-Gore recount.

Malphrus, of course, had no immigration experience when he got the job, McLure reports. He had that in common with a number of his peers, who had similar backgrounds:

Among the 19 immigration judges hired since 2004: Francis Cramer, the former campaign treasurer for New Hampshire Sen. Judd Gregg; James Nugent, the former vice chairman of the Louisiana Republican Party; and Chris Brisack, a former Republican Party county chairman from Texas who had served on the state library commission under then-Gov. George W. Bush. ...[Open in new window]

Thursday, May 24, 2007


U.S. Intelligence Community Predicted Trouble in Post-Saddam Iraq

Officials Foresaw Dangerous 'Challenges' After Saddam's Fall


May 24, 2007 —

ABC News has learned new details about what the intelligence community was telling the White House before the Iraq War about the challenges that would face the United States after the fall of Saddam Hussein.

In stark contrast to the WMD fiasco, the intelligence community was largely on target about what the United States would face in postwar Iraq.

But it's not a slam dunk. In some ways, the situation in Iraq is actually worse than the intelligence community predicted.

In January 2003, the CIA's National Intelligence Council delivered to the White House two reports predicting what the United States would face in Iraq. The reports, which until now were classified, are expected to be released by the Senate Intelligence Friday.

Officials with access to the reports read excerpts to ABC News.

The first report is titled "Principal Challenges in Post-Saddam Iraq." It paints a picture of an Iraq beset by ethnic violence and unlikely to accept democracy. Here are some highlights:

Iraq is unlikely to break apart, but it is "a deeply divided society." There is "a significant chance" that groups would "engage in violent conflict ... unless there is an occupying force to prevent them from doing so."

Neighboring states could "jockey for position ... fomenting ethnic strife inside Iraq."

"Iraq's political culture does not foster political liberalism or democracy."

"A generation of Iraqis" who have been subjected to Saddam's repression are "distrustful of surrendering or sharing power."

Al Qaeda could operate from the countryside unless there is a strong central power in Baghdad.

There would be "a heightened terrorist threat" that "after an initial spike would decline after three to five years."

The second report is titled "Regional Consequences of Regime Change in Iraq." This report warns of potential instability in the region, especially if the war were to be long and violent. It also warns that al Qaeda could exploit U.S. focus on Iraq by re-establishing its presence in Afghanistan.

This report, however, also outlines the potential regional benefits of success in Iraq. For example, it says success in Iraq "would increase the willingness of regional governments to cooperate with the U.S."...[Open in new window]

AIM's Kincaid on "Clinton's alleged lesbianism": "[A]s explosive as Senator Barack Obama's mysterious upbringing as a Muslim"

In his May 2007 "Cliff's Notes" report, Cliff Kincaid, editor and writer at right-wing media "watchdog" organization Accuracy in Media, wrote: "The sex scandal the media won't touch involves Senator Hillary Clinton's [D-NY] alleged lesbianism." Kincaid later added: "This matter is as explosive as Senator Barack Obama's [D-IL] mysterious upbringing as a Muslim in Indonesia and his quick conversion to Christianity."

As Media Matters for America has repeatedly documented (here, here, here, here, and here), several right-wing media figures have attempted to advance rumors that Clinton is either bisexual or a lesbian. In suggesting that Clinton is a lesbian, Kincaid cited Edward Klein's widely discredited book, The Truth about Hillary (Sentinel, June 2005), and "[c]onservative writer Jack Wheeler [who] flatly asserted in a Washington Times column, based on his sources, that [Clinton] is bisexual."...[Open in new window]

You know how certain words just seem to go together?

Some due to constant propaganda-like hypnotic repetition: Arab terrorist.

Some others just because they occur to one so often: Republican dirty tricks. Republican smear campaign.


Cheney Attempting to Constrain Bush's Choices on Iran Conflict: Staff Engaged in Insubordination Against President Bush

Steve Clemons--The Washington Note

Multiple sources have reported that a senior aide on Vice President Cheney's national security team has been meeting with policy hands of the American Enterprise Institute, one other think tank, and more than one national security consulting house and explicitly stating that Vice President Cheney does not support President Bush's tack towards Condoleezza Rice's diplomatic efforts and fears that the President is taking diplomacy with Iran too seriously.

This White House official has stated to several Washington insiders that Cheney is planning to deploy an "end run strategy" around the President if he and his team lose the policy argument.

The thinking on Cheney's team is to collude with Israel, nudging Israel at some key moment in the ongoing standoff between Iran's nuclear activities and international frustration over this to mount a small-scale conventional strike against Natanz using cruise missiles (i.e., not ballistic missiles).

This strategy would sidestep controversies over bomber aircraft and overflight rights over other Middle East nations and could be expected to trigger a sufficient Iranian counter-strike against US forces in the Gulf -- which just became significantly larger -- as to compel Bush to forgo the diplomatic track that the administration realists are advocating and engage in another war.

There are many other components of the complex game plan that this Cheney official has been kicking around Washington. The official has offered this commentary to senior staff at AEI and in lunch and dinner gatherings which were to be considered strictly off-the-record, but there can be little doubt that the official actually hopes that hawkish conservatives and neoconservatives share this information and then rally to this point of view. This official is beating the brush and doing what Joshua Muravchik has previously suggested -- which is to help establish the policy and political pathway to bombing Iran.

The zinger of this information is the admission by this Cheney aide that Cheney himself is frustrated with President Bush and believes, much like Richard Perle, that Bush is making a disastrous mistake by aligning himself with the policy course that Condoleezza Rice, Bob Gates, Michael Hayden and McConnell have sculpted....[Open in new window]

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

“I believe I crossed the line, but I didn’t mean to,” she replied.

She being the 'Valley Girl' dimwit Monica Goodling, who the Bush administration thought was a good fit for the Dept of Justice, you know, the authority when it comes to law & order in the US.

Her excuse should be used by every accused criminal in every court room across the country for every crime. It should result in immediate aquittals. OJ should have used it.
Everyone should get off. They didn't 'mean it'. That makes sense, doesn't it? How can you commit a crime when you didn't mean to?


Conservatives Hold Hour-Long Falwell Memorial On House Floor

(alternate headline: Live Turds Honor Dead Turd in US House of Representatives)

Congressional conservatives yesterday held an hour-long memorial for the late Rev. Jerry Falwell on the floor of the House of Representatives, heralding the “incredible and remarkable” religious right leader.

Senior conservative leaders joined the “special order” session, including Minority Whip Roy Blunt (R-MO), the #2 Republican in the House, and Chief Deputy Whip Eric Cantor (R-VA). Also speaking was Rep. Virgil Goode (R-VA), who notoriously warned “American citizens” to “wake up” or “there will likely be many more Muslims elected to office.

To many Americans, Falwell is best known for his infamous remarks claiming the 9/11 terrorist attacks were God’s punishment on the United States, or that the anti-Christ is alive today and “of course he’ll be Jewish.”

But on the floor of Congress yesterday, Falwell was heralded as a “great leader of America’s conservative movement” whose “strong set of values” and “unshakable moral compass” had made America “a better place.” “More than we all realize,” one member of Congress said, “we are very blessed the he came our way.”...[Open in new window]

Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility News Release (

For Immediate Release: May 23, 2007
Contact: Carol Goldberg (202) 265-7337

“NEAR RIOT CONDITIONS” IN UTAH OFF-ROAD GATHERING — Irresponsible ORV Use Becoming Major Law Enforcement Challenge

Washington, DC — An Easter weekend gathering of a thousand off-road vehicle enthusiasts degenerated into “near riot conditions” in a Utah recreational area, according to an incident summary released today by Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER). More than 37 injuries, including a state Highway Patrol officer, led to the issuance of 300 arrests or citations by the more than 50 officers who were called to the scene from state, federal and local law enforcement agencies.

Large assemblages of off-road vehicle (ORV) users are becoming an increasingly severe law enforcement problem on public lands, particularly over holiday weekends. In this incident, many of the 35,000 visitors to the Little Sahara Recreation Area in Utah were terrorized by inebriated gangs of ORV riders during the weekend of April 6, 7 and 8. According to an official summary:

“Officers were faced with near riot conditions on two separate nights involving approximately 1,000 people which required all available officers and over 5 hours to mitigate the situation… Groups of partiers were blocking an area and forcing women to bare their breasts in order to leave, along with numerous incidents of unwanted fondling of women. When law enforcement officers took action, the crowd became unruly, throwing objects at the officers.”

“This sort of out-of-control behavior should not be tolerated anyplace, let alone on our public lands,” stated PEER Southwest Director Daniel R. Patterson, who formerly worked with the federal Bureau of Land Management (BLM), the agency responsible for the Little Sahara Recreation Area. “Families should be able to visit national recreational areas without worrying about being subjected to sexual assault or confrontations with packs of drunken rowdies.”

Because of the vast desert acreages under BLM control, those lands have become the haunts for ever- larger convocations of ORV users. Pervasive alcohol and drug use contributes to growing injuries, not only to riders but to bystanders and to law enforcement officers responding to incidents. In addition to the public safety toll, these mega-gatherings wreak havoc on desert landscapes, with streams of riders often ignoring trail markers or other measures designed to keep ripping tires off of fragile wildlife habitats.

The problem is not confined to the BLM. The U.S. Forest Service also reports rising attacks on its rangers in connection with ORV encounters. ORVs allow deeper penetration into remote, formerly wild, areas by people seeking to escape social restrictions, often leading to destructive acts.

“Our rangers are not equipped to deal with hordes of mechanically mounted maniacs,” added Patterson, noting that while BLM has admitted the incident, it has tried to downplay it and has yet to change any area use policies or practices. “This destructive trend in off-roading blurs the line between recreation and riots –with visitors and rangers stuck in the middle.”

PEER is investigating the Little Sahara incident as part of a national probe into the public safety and law enforcement costs arising from reckless ORV use.

###...[Open in new window]


Hey, guess what? People into off-road vehicles are by & large a horde of gibbering goobers!

I think we need to open ALL natural preserves & wilderness areas to rape & riot. THIS IS AMERICA, dang it.

Get 'er done!...


Democrats Drop Troop Pullout Dates From Iraq Bill

WASHINGTON, May 22 — Congressional Democrats relented today on their insistence that a war spending measure sought by President Bush also set a date for withdrawing troops from Iraq. The decision to back down, described by senior lawmakers and aides, was a wrenching reversal for some Democrats, who saw their election triumph as a call to force an end to the war. A Democratic effort to include timelines prompted Mr. Bush’s veto of the original bill last month, producing a political impasse.

“We don’t have a veto-proof Congress,” said Senator Harry Reid of Nevada, the majority leader.

Representative Steny H. Hoyer of Maryland, the House Democratic majority leader, said the new bill was still being assembled, but he acknowledged the political reality facing Democrats. “The president has made it very clear that he is not going to sign timelines,” said Mr. Hoyer. “We can’t pass timelines over his veto.”

The concession to the president was proving so difficult for the Democratic leadership that by this afternoon, the lawmakers had not yet publicly acknowledged that the timelines would disappear. House Democrats were preparing to advance two separate measures, to enable antiwar lawmakers to support popular domestic spending but not the money for the war. House Democrats were to review the proposal later this evening, but lawmakers were already predicting that many would not support the war spending.

Under the new plan approved by Democratic leaders, Congress would send Mr. Bush the money for the war and include a series of benchmarks that attracted 52 votes in the Senate last week. The Iraqi government could lose some foreign aid if it fails to show sufficient progress but the president would be given the authority to suspend any penalties.

The agreement with the White House and Republicans would be tied to approval of as much as $20 billion in domestic spending sought by Democrats, as well as an increase in the minimum wage. Republican leaders said that would be hard for some lawmakers in their party to accept, but that they would probably allow it in exchange for the war spending.

The Democratic leaders’ concession infuriated one of their own, Senator Russell D. Feingold of Wisconsin, who failed last week in his attempt to win passage of a measure that would have cut off money for the war next spring.

“I cannot support a bill that contains nothing more than toothless benchmarks and that allows the president to continue what may be the greatest foreign policy blunder in our nation’s history,” he said. “There has been a lot of tough talk from members of Congress about wanting to end this war, but it looks like the desire for political comfort won out over real action. Congress should have stood strong, acknowledged the will of the American people, and insisted on a bill requiring a real change of course in Iraq.”

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

All 43 American presidents – even those who doubted religion – associated themselves with the Christian faith. Today, it is still far easier for a politician from a fringe religious sect, such as Mormonism, to be a serious national candidate than it would be for an atheist or an agnostic.

Yet, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich is basing his political comeback, in part, on an assertion that the real bias in America is against those who believe in religion and that “radical secularism” is oppressing them.

“This anti-religious bias must end,” Gingrich told an enthusiastic audience of graduates from the late Rev. Jerry Falwell’s Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia.

Gingrich’s strategy appears to be to repackage the Right’s lament about the so-called “war on Christmas” into a year-round campaign to make Christians view themselves as victims of evil, all-powerful secularists and liberals.

Much like the “war on Christmas” alarms, Gingrich’s detection of this “anti-religious bias” across America is derived by cherry-picking small gestures aimed at minimizing discrimination against both non-Christians and non-believers and transforming that into a pattern of oppression against the Christian majority in the United States.

For instance, a core complaint about the alleged “war on Christmas” was that some store employees welcomed customers with the non-denominational greeting “Happy Holidays” instead of “Merry Christmas.” Somehow, Christians were oppressed when a check-out clerk at Wal-Mart didn’t say “Merry Christmas” in late November.

Right-wing pundits collected similar affronts, such as the failure of the United States Postal Service to print up a new Madonna and Child stamp before Christmas 2005. (As it turned out, the Postal Service was trying to sell off its existing stock of Madonna stamps from 2004 before the postage rate went up.)

Similarly, in his Liberty University commencement address on May 19, Gingrich saw phantoms of anti-religious bias everywhere such as when secularists criticize what some consider dangerous aspects of religious fundamentalism...[Open in new window]

Right-Wing Radio Host Accuses PBS Of ‘Bias,’ Says It Should Air More ‘Rude, Interruptive Guests’

Earlier this month, PBS’s NewsHour with Jim Lehrer aired a segment featuring far-right radio talk show host Melanie Morgan and VoteVets chairman Jon Soltz. Morgan turned the segment into a shouting match.

Viewers contacted the station’s ombudsman and called Morgan’s appearance on the NewHour a “dilution of the integrity” of PBS; one viewer asked, “Who in the world thought she would be a rational voice to counter Jon Soltz of” In response, NewsHour Executive Producer Linda Winslow promised that “you will never see that person on our program again.”

Last night on Fox News’s Hannity and Colmes, Morgan accused PBS of “censorship,” saying that the network “has a blatant anti-conservative bias. They don’t want to hear a proud pro American, pro-troop point of view. They’ve clearly demonstrated that in the past. I think PBS should be ashamed of itself.” When Alan Colmes told Morgan, “I really think they should allow rude, interruptive guests like yourself on PBS,” Morgan said, “I agree.”

Despite Morgan’s accusations, PBS does not have a bias against conservatives. A study published last fall found that from October 2005 to March 2006, “Republicans outnumbered Democrats on the NewsHour by 2-to-1,” and “’stay the course’ sources outnumbered pro-withdrawal sources more than 5-to-1.”

PBS and the NewsHour are not “anti-conservative,” but merely anti-Morgan.

Watch it:[Open in new window]

Monday, May 21, 2007


Click image to enlarge

Dr. Laura’s son linked to lurid Web site.

(I think they mean Dr. Whore-ah. Have you seen the nude pics?...and the bitch gives people advice & blathers about what a great mom she is. I have an idea for a new Fairness Doctrine in broadcasting: ALL CRANKS SHUT UP!

PS: I think her doctorate is in Physical Education. Wouldn't it be 'coach' rather than 'doctor'?)

The 21-year-old soldier son of right-wing talk radio host “Dr. Laura” Schlessinger “is under investigation for a graphic personal Web page that one Army official has called ‘repulsive.’”

The MySpace page, publicly available until Friday when it disappeared from the Internet, included cartoon depictions of rape, murder, torture and child molestation; photographs of soldiers with guns in their mouths; a photograph of a bound and blindfolded detainee captioned “My Sweet Little Habib”; accounts of illicit drug use; and a blog entry headlined by a series of obscenities and racial epithets...[Open in new window]

A list of the current whereabouts of the PNAC signatories from BooMan:

Elliott Abrams- Deputy National Security Advisor.
Gary Bauer- current president of the conservative American Values organization.
William J. Bennett- May have a gig with CNN as a bloviator, and is riding high on the Air Force reading list. God help us.
Jeb Bush- Stole election for brother, served two terms as Governor of Florida, and currently serving on the board of Tenet Healthcare Corp.
Dick Cheney- Vice-President of the United States.
Eliot A. Cohen- US State Department Counselor, currently hopnobbing in places like Pakistan.
Midge Decter- When she isn't partying with Conrad Black she is busy being the wife of Norman Podhoretz and mother of John Podhoretz.
Paula Dobriansky- Under Secretary of State for Democracy and Global Affairs.
Steve Forbes- offering Republican presidential contenders advice.
Aaron Friedberg- Teaching at Princeton University and writing editorials for the LA Times.
Francis Fukuyama- repenting. Sort of.
Frank Gaffney- Doing weird shit as Center for Security Policy president.
Fred C. Ikle- apologizing for his friend and protege Paul Wolfowitz's behavior.
Donald Kagan- Sterling Professor of Classics and History at Yale University. His son, Fred, is the author of The Surge.
Zalmay Khalilzad- U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations. He has already served as ambassador to Afghanistan and to Iraq.
I. Lewis Libby- awaiting sentencing for perjury, making false statements, and obstruction of justice.
Norman Podhoretz- getting awards from Scooter Libby fans and making the case for bombing Iran.
Dan Quayle- he's still alive? Well, yes. He's chairman of global investments for Cerberus Capital Management and he's working on that Chrysler deal.
Peter W. Rodman- recently left as Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs to take a job at the Brookings Institute.
Stephen P. Rosen- the Beton Michael Kaneb Professor of National Security and Military Affairs at Harvard University.
Henry S. Rowen- appointed on February 12, 2004, by President George W. Bush to be one of the "final two members of the Commission on the Intelligence Capabilities of the United States Regarding Weapons of Mass Destruction." He's also a member of the Department of Defense's Defense Policy Board.
Donald Rumsfeld- the less said the better. He was fired as Secretary of Defense.
Vin Weber- serving as chairman of the National Endowment for Democracy, a private, nonprofit organization designed to strengthen democratic institutions around the world through nongovernmental efforts. He's serving as Mitt Romney's policy chairman.
George Weigel- trying to convince Catholics that the Iraq War is just.
Paul Wolfowitz- shit-canned from the World Bank...
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From the Baltimore Sun

White House under a scope

At least six inquiries begun or extended since Democrats took over Congress

By David Nitkin
Sun reporter

May 21, 2007

WASHINGTON -- White House officials and top-level appointees throughout the executive branch are struggling to cope with the most intensive oversight of an administration in a decade.

At least a half-dozen investigations have been launched or extended since Democrats took over Congress this year, including high-profile reviews of the firings of U.S. attorneys and the activities of political adviser Karl Rove's office. Administration figures such as Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice have been subpoenaed, although Bush aides say Rice will not testify as scheduled next month.

The White House seems unsure how to respond, said Paul Light, a professor at New York University who previously headed the governmental studies program at the Brookings Institution.

Agencies are suffering and morale is low, he said.

"This is, to me, part of the lame-duck problem for President Bush," Light said. "He has very little political capital left. He can't spend too much of it on these particular scandals without highlighting their importance, so right now I think they are confused and quiet."

The inquiries push an already defensive White House that is grappling with the Iraq war and sinking approval ratings even further back on its heels.

"Congress is certainly feeling its oats," said Jan Baran, a veteran Washington lawyer who was general counsel to the Republican National Committee during the previous Bush administration. "Some very experienced chairmen like [California Democrat Henry A.] Waxman and [Michigan's John D.] Dingell have not been up in batting practice with subpoenas for several years. They kind of like the feel of the swing, and so they are at it again."...[Open in new window]


Sometimes you just have to remind yourself there are good things happening...


Saturday, May 19, 2007

FRANK RICH: The Reverend Falwell’s Heavenly Timing

HARD as it is to believe now, Jerry Falwell came in second only to Ronald Reagan in a 1983 Good Housekeeping poll anointing “the most admired man in America.” By September 2001, even the Bush administration was looking for a way to ditch the preacher who had joined Pat Robertson on TV to pin the 9/11 attacks on feminists, abortionists, gays and, implicitly, Teletubbies. As David Kuo, a former Bush official for faith-based initiatives, tells the story in his book “Tempting Faith,” the Reverend Falwell was given a ticket to the Washington National Cathedral memorial service that week only on the strict condition that he stay away from reporters and cameras. Mr. Falwell obeyed, though once inside he cracked jokes (“Whoa, does she look frumpy,” he said of Barbara Bush) and chortled nonstop.

This is the great spiritual leader whom John McCain and Mitt Romney raced to praise when he died on Tuesday, just as the G.O.P. presidential contenders were converging for a debate in South Carolina. The McCain camp’s elegiac press release beat out his rival’s by a hair. But everyone including Senator McCain knows he got it right back in 2000, when he labeled Mr. Falwell and Mr. Robertson “agents of intolerance.” Mr. Falwell was always on the wrong, intolerant side of history. He fought against the civil rights movement and ridiculed Desmond Tutu’s battle against apartheid years before calling AIDS the “wrath of a just God against homosexuals” and, in 1999, fingering the Antichrist as an unidentified contemporary Jew.

Though Mr. Falwell had long been an embarrassment and laughingstock to many, including a new generation of Christian leaders typified by Mr. Kuo, the timing of his death could not have had grander symbolic import. It happened at the precise moment that the Falwell-Robertson brand of religious politics is being given its walking papers by a large chunk of the political party the Christian right once helped to grow. Hours after Mr. Falwell died, Rudy Giuliani, a candidate he explicitly rejected, won the Republican debate by acclamation. When the marginal candidate Ron Paul handed “America’s mayor” an opening to wrap himself grandiloquently in 9/11 once more, not even the most conservative of Deep South audiences could resist cheering him. If Rudy can dress up as Jack Bauer, who cares about his penchant for drag?

The current exemplars of Mr. Falwell’s gay-baiting, anti-Roe style of politics, James Dobson of Focus on the Family and Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council, see the writing on the wall. Electability matters more to Republicans these days than Mr. Giuliani’s unambiguous support for abortion rights and gay civil rights (no matter how clumsily he’s tried to fudge it). Last week Mr. Dobson was in full crybaby mode, threatening not to vote if Rudy is on the G.O.P. ticket. Mr. Perkins complained to The Wall Street Journal that the secular side of the Republican Party was serving its religious-right auxiliary with “divorce papers.”

Yes, and it is doing so with an abruptness and rudeness reminiscent of Mr. Giuliani’s public dumping of the second of his three wives, Donna Hanover. This month, even the conservative editorial page of The Journal chastised Republicans of the Perkins-Dobson ilk for being too bellicose about abortion, saying that a focus on the issue “will make the party seem irrelevant” and cost it the White House in 2008. At the start of Tuesday’s debate, the Fox News moderator Brit Hume coldly put Mr. Falwell’s death off limits by announcing that “we will not be seeking any more reaction from the candidates on that matter.” It was a pre-emptive move to shield Fox’s favored party from soiling its image any further by association with the Moral Majority has-been and his strident causes. In the ensuing 90 minutes, the Fox News questioners skipped past the once-burning subject of same-sex marriage as well.What a difference a midterm election has made. The Karl Rove theory that Republicans cannot survive without pandering to religious-right pooh-bahs is yet another piece of Bush dogma lying in ruins, done in by two synergistic forces. The first is the raw political math. Polls consistently show that most Americans don’t want abortion outlawed, do want legal recognition for gay couples, do want stem-cell research and never want to see government intrude on a Terri Schiavo again. On Election Day 2006, voters in red states defeated both an abortion ban (South Dakota) and, for the first time, a same-sex marriage ban (Arizona).

But equally crucial is how much the “family values” establishment has tarnished itself in the Bush era. Some of that self-destruction followed the time-honored Jimmy Swaggart-Jim Bakker paradigm of hypocrisy: the revelations that Ted Haggard, the head of the National Association of Evangelicals, was finding God in the arms of a male prostitute, and that the vice president’s daughter and her partner were violating stated Bush White House doctrine by raising a child with two mommies. But a greater factor in the decline and sullying of the Falwell-flavored religious right is its collusion in the worldly corruption ushered in by this particular presidency and Mr. Rove’s now defunct Republican majority.

The felonious Jack Abramoff scandals have ensnared a remarkably large who’s who of righteous politicos, led by Mr. Robertson’s former consigliere at the Christian Coalition, Ralph Reed, who was so eager (as he put it in an e-mail) to start “humping in corporate accounts.” Among the preachers who abetted (unwittingly, they all say) the bogus grass-roots “anti-gambling” campaigns staged by Mr. Abramoff to smite rivals of his own Indian casino clients were Mr. Dobson, the Rev. Donald Wildmon of the American Family Association and the Rev. Louis Sheldon of the Traditional Values Coalition. Tom DeLay, a leader of the Schiavo putsch in Congress, was taken out by his association with Mr. Abramoff, too. Mr. DeLay’s onetime chief of staff, Edwin Buckham (an evangelical minister, yet), pocketed more than $1 million, largely from Abramoff clients, that was funneled through a so-called U.S. Family Network, ostensibly dedicated to promoting “moral fitness.”

The sleazy links between Washington scandal and religious-right hacks didn’t end when Mr. Abramoff went to jail and Mr. DeLay went into oblivion. The first Justice Department official to plead the Fifth in this year’s bottomless United States attorneys scandal — Monica Goodling, a former top Alberto Gonzales aide — is a product of Pat Robertson’s Regent University School of Law, formerly known as CBN University School of Law, after the Christian Broadcasting Network. As The Boston Globe discovered, Regent’s Web site boasts that some 150 of its grads were hired by the Bush administration, and not, it seems, because of merit. In Ms. Goodling’s graduating class, 60 percent failed the bar exam on their first try. U.S. News & World Report ranks the school in the fourth — a k a bottom — tier.

Having been given immunity, Ms. Goodling is scheduled to testify before House inquisitors this week. We know already from The National Journal that she was so moral that she put blue drapes over the exposed breasts in the statuary in the Great Hall of the Justice Department (since removed). The Times found that she had asked civil-service job applicants, “Have you ever cheated on your wife?” Yet her strict morality did not extend to protecting the nonpartisan sanctity of the American legal system. An inexperienced lawyer just past 30, Ms. Goodling exercised her power to vet some 400 Justice Department political appointees by favoring Republican and Rovian loyalty over actual qualifications. Though the Monica at the center of the last presidential scandal did enable a husband’s cheating on his wife, at least she wasn’t tasked with any governmental responsibility more weighty than divvying up pizza.

Mr. Giuliani’s rivals for the Republican nomination just can’t leave behind the received wisdom that you still have to appease the Robertson-Dobson-Perkins axis of piety that produces the likes of a Monica Goodling. They seem oblivious to the new evangelical leaders who care more about serving the ill, the poor and the environment than grandstanding in the fading culture wars. They seem oblivious to the reality that their association with the old religious-right taskmasters diminishes them, however well it may play to some Iowa caucus voters. Mr. Romney, a former social liberal whose wife gave money to Planned Parenthood, is crudely trying to rewrite his record by showering cash on anti-abortion-rights groups; he spoke at Regent U. even as a Pat Robertson Web site mocked his religion, Mormonism, as a cult. Mr. McCain, busily trying to disown past positions unpopular with the declining base, is trapped in a squeeze play of his own making: he’s failing to persuade the hard right that he’s one of them even as he makes Mr. Giuliani look like a straight-talker by comparison.

“America’s mayor” has so much checkered history in his closet — by which I mean Bernard Kerik, among other ticking time bombs, not the gay couple he bunked with before 9/11 — that he is hardly a certain winner of his party’s nomination, let alone the presidency. But whatever his ultimate fate, the enthusiasm and poll numbers Mr. Giuliani arouses among Republicans to date are a death knell for the political orthodoxy of the Rove era. The agents of intolerance are well on their way to being forgotten, even in those cases when they, unlike Jerry Falwell, are not yet gone.

MAUREEN DOWD: Résumé of Doom

Paul Wolfowitz may be out of a job soon, but think of what an amazing résumé he’ll be shopping around:

Work Experience

President of World Bank: 2005-2007

Responsibilities: Reining in European lefties, raining tax-free money on Arab girlfriend, and giving anti-corruption efforts a bad name.

Achievements: Paralyzed the international lending apparatus to the point where small countries had to max out their Visa cards to pay for malaria medicine. Learned the traditions of many cultures, including those of Turkey, where you apparently are not supposed to take off your shoes at mosques to reveal socks so full of holes that both big toes poke blasphemously through.

Deputy Secretary of Defense for President George W. Bush: 2001-2005

Responsibility: Starting a war.

Achievements: Mismanaged the world’s most powerful army. Shattered the system of international diplomacy that kept the peace for 50 years. Undermined the credibility of American intelligence operations. Needlessly brought humankind to the brink of nuclear war. Destroyed Iraq.

Demented Visionary: 1993-2001

Responsibility: Concocting a delusional plan for regime change in Iraq with pals like Shaha Riza, Ahmad Chalabi and his merry band of Iraqi exiles who conjured up phony intelligence about Saddam’s W.M.D.

Achievements: Imagining an Iraq that didn’t exist.

Having Wolfie back on the job market is a tremendous opportunity. What do we want destroyed next? Could this walking curse on the world run Halliburton into the ground?

At the Pentagon, Wolfie tried to help Vice get rid of anything multi — multilateral treaties, multilateral institutions, multilateral alliances, multiculturalism. Multi, to them, meant wobbly, caviling, bureaucratic and obstructionist. Why be multi when you could be uni?

In the end, the forces of multilateralism took their revenge: Old Europe got rid of Wolfie.

But not before his gal pal played the multicultural victim card. In her statement to World Bank directors, Shaha complained that she had been denied promotions even before Wolfie got there. “I can only attribute this to discrimination — not because I am a woman, but because I am a Muslim Arab woman who dares to question the status quo both in the work of the institution and within the institution itself,” Shaha wrote.

She said that she had “met a wonderful American woman who told me that I should fight back for ‘us’: WOMEN. It never occurred to me as an Arab and Muslim woman that one day I would be asked by an American woman to fight on her behalf.”

Already aggrieved, Shaha got really furious when Wolfie came in 2005 and she was told she’d have to work out of the State Department.

“I was ready to pursue legal remedies,” she wrote in her statement, adding, “my life and career were torn asunder.”

According to Xavier Coll, the bank’s human resources vice president, Shaha outlined conditions for her departure that were “unprecedented” in terms of guarantees and rewards and way out of line with bank policy. Mr. Coll deemed it “inappropriate and imprudent for the president to offer Ms. Riza these terms.”

Bob Bennett, Wolfie’s lawyer, told Michael Hirsh of Newsweek that it was Shaha who “worked up the numbers” on a $60,000 raise to a $193,590 salary and cushy new deal. “She was outraged that she had to leave,” Mr. Bennett said.

The self-righteous Shaha played on Wolfie’s guilt, becoming “greedy in terms of power,” as a friend of the couple told Newsweek. Even though she had been a mere flack a few years ago and then a gender coordinator at the bank, Shaha mau-maued her man into giving her a salary that topped the secretary of state’s.

It’s like when Bill Clinton tells friends that he has to work hard to get Hillary elected president because he feels he owes her for bringing her to Arkansas in the 70s and interrupting her career. (But do we?)

Or when Tony Soprano gets Carmela some fancy piece of jewelry after he strays. Indeed, Wolfie sounded Sopranoish when he agitatedly told Mr. Coll to warn those at the bank he believed were attacking him: “If they $%#! with me or Shaha, I have enough on them to $%#! them, too.”

Wolfie used public compensation for private contrition. Gilt for guilt — not a good deal.

Friday, May 18, 2007

Caller ID
It's not whether the president called. It's what he did.

Friday, May 18, 2007; A22

IT DOESN'T much matter whether President Bush was the one who phoned Attorney General John D. Ashcroft's hospital room before the Wednesday Night Ambush in 2004. It matters enormously, however, whether the president was willing to have his White House aides try to strong-arm the gravely ill attorney general into overruling the Justice Department's legal views. It matters enormously whether the president, once that mission failed, was willing nonetheless to proceed with a program whose legality had been called into question by the Justice Department. That is why Mr. Bush's response to questions about the program yesterday was so inadequate.

"I'm not going to talk about it," Mr. Bush told reporters at a news conference with departing British Prime Minister Tony Blair. "It's a very sensitive program. I will tell you that, one, the program is necessary to protect the American people, and it's still necessary because there's still an enemy that wants to do us harm."

No one is asking Mr. Bush to talk about classified information, and no one is discounting the terrorist threat. But there is a serious question here about how far Mr. Bush went to pressure his lawyers to implement his view of the law. There is an even more serious question about the president's willingness, that effort having failed, to go beyond the bounds of what his own Justice Department found permissible.

Yes, Mr. Bush backed down in the face of the threat of mass resignations, Mr. Ashcroft's included, and he apparently agreed to whatever more limited program the department was willing to approve. In the interim, however, the president authorized the program the Justice lawyers had refused to certify as legally permissible, and it continued for a few weeks more, according to former deputy attorney general James B. Comey's careful testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee. Under the Constitution, the president has the final authority in the executive branch to say what the law is. But as a matter of presidential practice, this is breathtaking...

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Latest from McClatchy's Iraqi Staffers: Please, America, Just Go

By E&P Staff

Published: May 17, 2007 8:00 PM ET
NEW YORK For several weeks, we have been featuring the postings of McClatchy's Iraqi staffers and correspondents in its Baghdad bureau, from the blog Inside Iraq. The writers' full names are not given for security reasons.

Here is the latest from one of the regular posters, "Dulaimy." It is a message to Americans titled simply "Leave." It concludes: "We had enough, let our country go free. By staying, you are forcing people to join Al Qaeda and militias."

We are happy that we got rid of Saddam but we will never be happy to give away our country in return.

Sorry if our flesh harmed your knives... is that what they want us to say? Is this what they came for?

The failure of this invasion is a victory for FREEDOM and a defeat for radicals in U.S. and later in Iraq.

Order the troops to leave Mr. President. Afraid for the safety and the future of this place? Leave 20 thousands of your soldiers on both Iranian and Syrian borders and let us take over our own country. THIS COUNTRY WILL BE FREE... whether you take your troops out now or by the efforts of the good people of Iraq and America. Sooner or later they will leave, and Al Qaeda will be defeated by the efforts of the good sons of Iraq....

After the troops leave, the Iraqis who were more divided by the invasion will realize that the only way to live in this country will be through accepting the other (as our people did through more than 1400 years), we had our own civil wars and we lived through....

Car bombs are killing civilians (on daily basis), in many times hundreds were killed. Mass kidnappings more than 100 employees were kidnapped from the governmental buildings. Terrorists and militias are rounding up tens of people from markets and central Baghdad, bridges are bombed, neighborhoods are cleansed (on sectarian basis). Tens of dead bodies are found every day in Baghdad and many cities.

Please someone answer me... Why the presence of foreign troops is necessary? Why? what can happen more? instead of 30 dead bodies found daily in Baghdad for the next 10 years if the troops didn't leave... after the pullout we will have 60 dead bodies a day for one year after the pullout.

Oh by the way before the troops leave they better do it right...give the government 4 months to announce themselves as a transitional government to arrange the troops' withdrawal, announce a draft among the Iraqi people to recruit young men in the Iraqi army so it will be national army not sectarian... and postpone the constitution amendments till the troops leave so the people will convince it's a legitimate constitution and few things more... PLEASE don't let Bush plan for this, please... he will screw it...

To all American families, we are sorry for your loss and our deep sympathy with you. The American mothers lost more than 3000 sons in Iraq but the Iraqi mothers lost about 600,000 people and this MUST STOP.

And if someone told you, my friends, that we don't want to urge the pullout of the troops for feeling sorry for the iraqi people, tell them: we (Iraqis) are not sorry for ourselves...."I never saw a wild thing sorry for itself. A small bird will drop frozen dead from a bough without ever having felt sorry for itself."

We have had enough, let our country go free. By staying, you are forcing people to join Al Qaeda and militias...
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Wednesday, May 16, 2007

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Tuesday, May 15, 2007

More amazing BushCo sleaze:

WaPo: "Ashcroft and the Night Visitors"

As if Attorney General Alberto Gonzales didn't have enough trouble, now comes word that, before coming to the Justice Department, Gonzales preyed on the infirm.

In hair-raising testimony before a Senate committee yesterday, Jim Comey, the former No. 2 official at the Justice Department, described what might be called the Wednesday Night Massacre of March 10, 2004. Gonzales, then the White House counsel, and White House Chief of Staff Andrew Card staged a bedside ambush of Attorney General John Ashcroft while he lay in intensive care. Comey, serving as acting attorney general during Ashcroft's incapacitation, testified about how, on a tip from Ashcroft's wife, he intercepted the pair in Ashcroft's hospital room.

"The door opened and in walked Mr. Gonzales, carrying an envelope, and Mr. Card," Comey told the spellbound senators. "They came over and stood by the bed." They wanted Ashcroft to sign off on an eavesdropping plan that Comey and others at the Justice Department had already called legally indefensible.

Ashcroft "lifted his head off the pillow and in very strong terms expressed his view of the matter" -- that Comey was right. "And as he laid back down, he said, 'But that doesn't matter, because I'm not the attorney general. There is the attorney general.' And he pointed to me."


The Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee stared. The lone Republican in attendance, Arlen Specter (Pa.), looked down. The 6-foot-8 Comey, slightly hunched in the witness chair, swallowed frequently and kept his hands in his lap as he spun a narrative worthy of Dashiell Hammett...[Open in new window]