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Saturday, July 09, 2005

Any Hope of Getting One That's Not Full of Nuts?

Always good to hear from those who have recently dragged themselves onto the shore:
You can bet your last dollar, that any nominee the president proposes will be filibustered as the dem/lestists will claim "extrordinary" circumstances. The dem/leftists need an activist justice to foist their agenda upon the people.... I do not want judges creating laws that are the purview of the legislative branch. We have a bi-carmel [sic] legislature, not a tri-carmel [sic] one.
It only gets better in the comments. From the Lone Ranger (wince):
These liberals just don't understand that everyone would benefit under a strict constitutionalist court. Recently the court ruled that post smokers under California's medical marijuana laws could be prosecuted.
Because, you know, we liberals all sit around and dream of a world where we can freely smoke our fences.

Man, business on Hannidate must be booming.

(via the Daou Report)


Rush Limbaugh: Bed-Wetting Liberal

It's awkward being a defender of civil liberties when they're being invoked by the very people who work so tirelessly to destroy them. Digby's a bit worried about Big Pharma at the moment:
I'm guessing Rush is under some stress these days and I don't blame him. As much as I hate him, I am very much against prosecutors having the right to fish around in your medical records. I believe strongly in a right to privacy. Just like the socialists Ginsburg and Breyer. And unlike the Real Americans Scalia and Thomas.

I have a sneaking suspicion that Rush thinks he should have a right to privacy, too. I wonder if he wants the One And Only True Party to ask prospective nominees about their views on that subject or if he just believes that Dear Leader knows what's best? He should probably get on the Dick-phone and say something because I don't think the right to privacy is a big item on the GOP agenda. In fact, it's highly likely that the new and improved wingnut supreme court is going to make it much more possible to put Rush in jail. There's a silver lining to everything, I suppose.
I think I've got to split with Digby here. Although I understand why the ACLU supported Rush's position, the fact remains that there is credible reason to believe, based on the allegations made by his $370-a-week maid (the guy makes $30 million a year, talk about karmic justice) that Rush was doctor shopping. The only difference between him and the guy who's gonna get 20 years for buying crack on the street is that Big Pharma is rich, white and paying less money for better quality drugs.

As far as prosecutors are concerned, it's no different than getting a search warrant to search his house -- they didn't have the unilateral right to seize the records and begin picking through accounts of his erectile disfunction and anal warts. They had to go before a judge, present their case, and demonstrate that there was reasonable evidence to believe he'd committed a crime.

I just got one of those letters from my credit card company that they have to send you if you live in California telling me that my personal information had been stolen. But not to worry, you know, they have it all under control. Why do I remain something less than convinced.

I'm gonna save my breath about Rush's right to privacy and worry about ordinary people who are the victims of outrageous invasions happening every day by companies who have bought the law and written it for their own benefit, people who don't make $30 million a year and don't pal around with Smirky McChimpsuit.

Rush old bean, you're on your own.


Hell is Not Hot Enough for Robert Novak

Jay Rosen hits it on the head -- no media outlet with any pretense to integrity should allow Novak the opportunity to act out his charade of being a "journalist" until he 'fesses up about his part in the Valerie Plame affair:
I, for one, have had it with Robert Novak. And if all the journalists who are talking today about "chilling effects" and individual conscience mean what they say, they will, as a matter of conscience and pride, start giving Novak himself the big chill.

That means if you're a Washington columnist maybe you don't go on CNN with him-- until he explains. If you're a newspaper editor you consider suspending his column until he explains. If you're Jonathan Klein, president of CNN/US, you take him off the air until he decides to go on the air and explain. If you're John Barron, editor of the Chicago Sun-Times, you suspend your columnist (with pay, I should think); and if Barron won't do it then publisher John Cruickshank should.

If Novak says he can't talk until the case is over, then he shouldn't be allowed to publish or opine on the air until the case is over. He should know the rage some of his colleagues feel. Claiming to be "baffled" by Novak's behavior may have been plausible for a while. With reporter Judith Miller now sitting in jail, and possibly facing criminal charges later, "baffled" is sounding lame.
And I really don't want to hear any more from the right wing about how outing a CIA operative wasn't "technically" illegal. These are the same people who wake up every morning and scream bloody murder about the ACLU splitting hairs over civil rights.

Don't get me wrong -- if Novak has done nothing techinically "illegal," he shouldn't go to jail. But that doesn't mean that he and his Beltway cronyism deserve respect any more than Steve Dunleavy does for crawling through the bushes for a glimse at nudie celebrities. He's a hack and deserves to be shunned as such.

It was wrong, wrong wrong to expose the identity of a CIA agent, the consequences of which someone like Novak had no way to predict, solely for he purpose of acting as a tool to punish the enemies of the Bush Junta.

Let the Big Freeze begin.

(via The Next Hurrah)


Friday, July 08, 2005

Le Petit Dejeuner a la Skippy

One of the best parts of being back in Los Angeles is the opportunity to break bread with fellow bloggers and put faces to names I have only known by reputation from the Oregon coast. Today I had coffee with the lovely and talented Skippy, I'm meeting up soon with Steve Audio, and last week I had lunch with regular John Pearley Huffman who graces us with his presence and automotive expertise and puts up with our liberal ramblings despite the fact that he's really more of a Roger Simon/ Instapundit kind of guy.

If you're in the LA area drop us a line, Kobe loves his morning muffin at the Coffee Bean and we always welcome the company of fellow bloggers. And please make sure to visit Skippy early and often and help him make the 1 million visitor mark for his birthday on Sunday.

It's only right.


Thursday, July 07, 2005

Did Rove Help Fitzgerald onto the Plame Case?

Unlike Ken Starr, whose office had more leaks than a Liberian tanker, US attorney Patrick Fitzgerald has been quite silent about his investigation, leading to all manner of speculation. No one knows exactly what he has, or if he can make a case against anyone without Judith Miller's testimony.

Fitzgerald has an interesting background. It's traditional for a state's ranking US Senator or Representative of the President's party to recommend the appointment of a US attorney. Fitzgerald had been a federal prosecutor in New York when Illinois Senator Peter Fitzgerald (no relation), something of a maverick Republican who wanted an outsider to come in and clean up corrupt local politics, gave him the nod. According to the WaPo:
The staff of the 9/11 commission called him one of the world's best terrorism prosecutors. He convicted Sheik Omar Abdel Rahman in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing and all four defendants in the embassy bombings, which had left 224 people dead. He extracted a guilty plea from Mafia capo John Gambino and became an authority on bin Laden, whom he indicted in 1998 for a global terrorist conspiracy that included the African bombings.
William Safliar has called Fitzgerald a "runaway Chicago prosecutor." To date he has over 50 convictions or plea bargains in his investigation into the activities of former Republican Illinois governor George Ryan, whose campaign he called a "criminal enterprise" (Ryan himself will go on trial in September). He has also indicted Democratic members of Daley's administration, proving that he's non-partisan in his zeal. Obama and Durbin both support him.

There is a compellling bit of speculation floating around having to do with why Fitzgerald was given the Plame case in the first place. Since his appointment in 2001, he has made Republicans in Illinois very nervous, and they would love nothing more than to get rid of him. The ranking Republican in Illinois is Dennis Hastert, and when Fitzgerald's term is up in October, his future will be in Hastert's hands.

According to Chicago Tribune columnist John Kass, local party boss "Big" Bob Klellander, who also serves as Republican national committeeman, "feeds equally well under Republican and Democratic regimes and is a poster boy for the bipartisan Illinois political combine that runs things in the state." The same combine that Fitzgerald had been working so successfuly at breaking up, under whom Kjellander received a questionable $800,000 fee in a bond deal.

Kjellander's former college chum -- wait for it -- oh yeah. Unka Karl.

Was Fitzgerald put on the Plame investigation by Karl Rove to get him off the backs of Illinois Republicans? Some local observers said so at the time, and were not happy to see him go:
The bad news for Illinois is that it takes Fitzgerald away from investigating crime in Illinois. The article doesn't make clear whether Fitzgerald will be stepping down as U.S. Attorney -- even temporarily -- during his tour of duty in Washington.

Even if he keeps his job in Chicago, it means that much less time and energy devoted to fighting corruption in the most politically corrupt state in the nation.

Which is probably why the Republicans wanted him named special council in the first place.

As an honest investigator, he will might very well find nothing worthy of prosecution. And, the appointment has the added benefit of hampering his investigation into real crimes being committed by Illinois Republicans.
Hastert has refused to answer questions about whether he will recommend Fitzgerald stay on, or whether he will be "promoted" out of his job come October. I can't imagine this thing is going away, and as Kass notes, it would be increasingly difficult to remove Fitzgerald from the case. And if it turns out that Rove is convicted by the guy he pushed onto the case in an act of pure venal cronyism, I will be laughing myself to a fair-thee-well.


BushCo: Blowing Covers is Our Business

The worst attacks in London since WWII. I love London. I went to school there. I love the Tate, Portobello Road, the Groucho Club and Covent Garden, the bookstores on Charing Cross Road, Rough Trade records and the lingerie department at Marks & Spencer's.

This just sucks.

Juan Cole reminds us of events in August 2004, when the British had managed to turn an Al Quaeda operative in Pakistan into a double agent who was "one of the most important assets inside al-Quaeda that the US ever had." All that was lost when a "senior Administration official" (sound familiar?) leaked the man's name, forcing the British to arrest members of an al-Quaeda cell for fear they would flee before they had gathered all the information they needed.

As Cole notes:
Why in the world would Bush administration officials out a double agent working for Pakistan and the US against al-Qaeda? In a way, the motivation does not matter. If the Reuters story is true, this slip is a major screw-up that casts the gravest doubts on the competency of the administration to fight a war on terror. Either the motive was political calculation, or it was sheer stupidity. They don't deserve to be in power either way.
Cole believes that the pre-election intelligence tip-off was probably related to Smirky McFlightsuit's need for a credible reason to pump terror alerts up to Raging Fuscia for the inevitable dead cat bounce he always got. Although I would be somewhat amazed to discover he thought he needed a reason.

Cole also believes the present bombing probably has something to do with the trial of Abu Hamza al-Masri, which began in the UK on Tuesday.

George Bush let it be known that only those who supported his war in Iraq would be allowed to take part in carving up the bootie of the country post-invasion. Tony Blair sold the security of his country out for a few pieces of silver.

Says George Galloway:
We argued, as did the security services in this country, that the attacks on Afghanistan and Iraq would increase the threat of terrorist attack in Britain. Tragically Londoners have now paid the price of the Government ignoring such warnings.


No one can condone acts of violence aimed at working people going about their daily lives. They have not been a party to, nor are they responsible for, the decisions of their government. They are entirely innocent and we condemn those who have killed or injured them.


We urge the government to remove people in this country from harms way, as the Spanish government acted to remove its people from harm, by ending the occupation of Iraq and by turning its full attention to the development of a real solution to the wider conflicts in the Middle East.
Let's hope the British heed Galloway's words and don't take the route of their American brethren, who foolishly let opportunistic blackguards manipulate their fear out of their own rapacious lust for money and power.

(hat tip to Steve Soto)


Judith Miller: Tipping Off Terrorists for Fun or Profit?

It seems that Patrick Fitzgerald and Judith Miller have danced before. Marshall:
Fitzgerald had quite aggressively investigated another Bush White House leak in late 2001 and early 2002.  Fitzgerald had been investigating three Islamic charities accused of supporting terrorism -- the Holy Land Foundation, the Global Relief Foundation, and the Benevolence International Foundation.  But just before his investigators could swoop in with warrants, two of the charities in question got wind of what was coming and, apparently, were able to destroy a good deal of evidence.

What tipped them off were calls from two reporters at the New York Times who'd been leaked information about the investigation by folks at the White House.

One of those two reporters was Judy Miller.
Fitzgerald may be aware of a pattern of behavior regarding Judith Miller and her relationship to the White House that has made him entirely skeptical when she hides behind the skirts of the First Amendment. And although I'm with Kevin Drum and Skippy in my general discomfort about jailing journalists for not revealing their sources (whether there is privilege or not -- the potential to frighten legitimate leakers is very real), Fitzgerald may well have excellent reasons that nobody is aware of to presume Miller is simply covering her own ass and trying to fob herself off as a heroine of the free press in the process.

With so much riding on Fitzgerald, it's always made me nervous that he was the man appointed by Ashcroft's No. 2 in the Justice Department. But he appears to have pursued the whole case aggressively from the start, and the scope of the inquiry may be quite a bit larger than I was aware of, as Fitzgerald's attempts to secure Miller's 2001 telephone records at the NYT were, in fact, related to her involvement with these Islamic charities.

From the NYT:
The case began in late 2001, when federal agents were investigating two Islamic foundations for alleged ties to terrorists. On Dec. 3, 2001, Times reporter Judith Miller telephoned officials with the Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development, a Texas-based charity accused of being a front for Palestinian terrorists, and asked for a comment about what she said was the government's probable crackdown on the group.

U.S. officials said this conversation and Miller's article on the subject in the Times on Dec. 4 increased the likelihood that the foundation destroyed or hid records before a hastily organized raid by agents that day. (my emphasis)
Several of the charities have ties to the Bush-beloved Saudis and have subsequently been indicted for supporting terrorist organizations, so there is ample reason to believe Unka Karl might well want to put the kibosh on that investigation, too.

I don't know if Miller is just a dupe or a willing tool, but she has an uncanny knack for being at the wrong place at the wrong time. I am sleeping well these days with the hope that Fitzgerald's investigation will keep expanding and one day include, say, the Downing Street memos.

Whaddaya think, Patrick Fitzgerald's looking kind of handsome for a Republican, huh?

Update: I've been calling Fitzgerald a Republican but I guess he's not, he's registered as a nothing. Good article in the WaPo on him, he mostly just sounds like a complete unrelenting bulldog.


Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Free Pass for Turd Blossom

Personally, I thought Scott McClellan would be dancing as fast as he could this week. But once again I have underestimated how lazy, shiftless and thoroughly whorish the White House press corps can be. And when I say whorish I don't mean cocaine and limo whorish, I mean cheap tequilla and Motel 6 whorish. I searched the gaggle for the past two days for questions on Rove and -- nada. Nothing. Zip. Bupkiss.


Arianna noticed the same thing:
Today’s press gaggle took place aboard Air Force One on the way to Scotland. Now, given that Rove may or may not be the subject of a federal investigation, one would think that our intrepid White House reporters might, you know, ask the White House spokesman about that.

But if you do a text search for the word “Rove,” you’ll see that not a single press person thought that the fact that the President of the United States' most trusted advisor is, at the very least, a key player in a criminal investigation was worth a single question to Scottie McClellan. Not a one.

This is all the more significant because of the role McClellan may eventually play in Rove’s fate. As Newsweek reported and I blogged about, when this story began heating up, McClellan went out of his way to defend Rove -- saying that he’d been “assured” that Rove was not involved in the leaking.

“Rove will have no compunction about lying through his teeth to save himself, counting on the fact that Cooper’s e-mails are, apparently, not cut and dried,” one of the group said. And it doesn’t hurt that Rove’s underlings would rather fall on their swords than tell the truth... which, in the Bush White House, is seen as selling out. All of which would leave McClellan to “take one for the team and eat major crow about all the assurances he’d given the press.” Of course, if they continue to avoid asking him about it, he may not even have to do that.
If this represents the MSM's idea of integrity, then maybe Judith Miller is going to jail to protect it.


As Grandma Would Say: You Go, Girl!

Michelle Malkin cheers Laura Ingraham for going off her meds balls to the wall:
The feisty Laura Ingraham--back, brilliant, and better than ever--took a look at President Bush's comments warning conservatives to "tone it down" on the judicial battles. Laura had some choice words for President Shush:
In a slightly disturbing interview in USA TODAY, President Bush tells everyone to "tone down" the rhetoric. That's funny, that's what the Democrats are saying too. The President, in fact, needs conservatives to be mobilized, passionate, and strong in their support of his nominee--toning it down never helps the GOP. (see, e.g., the fights over Bolton, Estrada, and Bork.)
I guess all us girls are in agreement then. The right needs to be absolutely strident and fight to the death to insure that only the most extreme, anti-abortion, pro-torture, anti-separation of church and state voice be added to the Supreme Court.

After all, what do we care about Roe v. Wade, really girls? As intelligent embryos we had the good judgment to pick affluent parents who could buy us the right that all good middle class girls have to nip off to Switzerland if, say, a condom breaks at the wrong moment, snap snap, grin grin, wink wink, nudge nudge, say no more, know what I mean? Forget the courthouse lawn, the Ten Commandments should be posted at the 99 Cent store. Morality, like public transit, is for poor people.

Sing it loud, sister, for there is good money to be had in the shrill harridan business these days, and money as we know is the true measure of value in this world. It's how Jesus shows you he likes your work. Aside from the nice checks from the Heritage Foundation and the Department of Education, acting as a tool to force other women into subjugation to their bodies really thins out the competition. And when Rush has done such a damned good job of spreading the "humorless feminist" stereotype that even so-called liberals are buying into it, it's pretty clear which side of this thing the big cash is sitting on.

So go for it. This is pedal-to-the-metal, scream your tits off time. The Kingdom of Gilead is at hand, and George W. Bush is treating you like a skanky two dollar whore he wants to stiff after a quite artful twenty minute blow job. How dare he tell you to pipe down, or accept a bed-wetting liberal like Alberto Gonzales. Cry, scream, kick, tear the party in two if you must. And I really think you must. You've certainly put out. Time for him to pay up.

Update: Pam lets us know that the Arkham inmates have a petition that now has 213,539 signatures. I'm sure Fearless Leader will receive it just about as joyfully as he did the Conyers/Downing Street petition. Maybe more.


Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Judy Gets a Jumpsuit

Is Judith Miller hiding behind the first amendment so she doesn't have to take the fifth and admit admit she's guilty as a hungry flea on a lazy dog? The WaPo seems to be hinting in that direction:
Sources close to the investigation say there is evidence in some instances that some reporters may have told government officials -- not the other way around -- that Wilson was married to Plame, a CIA employee.
The Republican Fitzgerald seems a tad miffed, and is urging the judge to turn down Judy's request to be confined to the Golden Door with a team of crack masseurs.

Tip for Judy: Large swatches of orange can be difficult to carry off if you're not in a perky mood. Tone it down with neutral accessories like a few good pieces of jewelry and a great handbag.


Happy Birthday Robbie Robertson


a) he's cool
b) I can
c) they broke the mold when they made him
d) I realize we've been a bit heavy on the creepy pictures these days and it's kind of a "palate cleanser"


Wingnuts, Sluts and SCOTUS

From Magorn, under the category of "wish I'd thought of it:"
This is terrifying and exhilarating time for progressives.  If we handle this fight right its the beginning of the end for the Wingnut Coalition.  

Look we all know the Republicans have treated the Evangelicals like the Homely Slutty girl In High School.  On Saturday night when nobody was looking they'd tell her how much they loved and respected her, when they wanted something from her;   but come Monday morning they go out of their way to avoid going by her locker or having to been seen with her in the lunch room.  But on this issue, she turned into a crazy eyed stalker chick.

This is the Mini-Rapture for the religious right.  The believe that their theocratic vision has been increasingly thwarted by 5-4 decisions.  They've sold their flock on the idea that only 1 Supreme Court Justice stands between them and the Republic of Gilead.  This has been the trumpet they've used to energize the base over and over again to turn out on election day, and turn out their pockets all the rest of the days.

Now its Payback time.  They believe they are entitled to the next Supreme Court nominee, and if they don't get one of their favored picks, all hell is going to break loose.  

However if W. Does bow to their pressure, and appoint a bible-verse spouting wingnut;  he's gonna turn the stomachs of middle America, emboldens the Dems to filibuster until 06, when it will become the Mother of all Wedge Issues.
Hard to say what will happen, but with Unka Karl on the hot seat too I suddenly feel like breaking into a chorus of "Oh Happy Day."


Monday, July 04, 2005

Heroes and Villains


Read TBogg.

Mr. Taylor is upset with the handling of his story by the reality based uncharitable lefty blogosphere. I would like to take this opportunity to steer him in the direction of a group who will no doubt always have a place for him.


Our Media In Action

Shorter Old Gray Whore: Karl who?

Erinposte over at the Left Coaster says the Rove's first line of defense in Treasongate seems to be morphing into already disclosed information. Watch for it to roll off the tongues of compliant wags everywhere.


Sunday, July 03, 2005

The Rovian Defense Squad: Unhinged and Uncool

For obvious reasons, Karl Rove has been slow to issue a talking points memo to the faithful telling them what to think about L'Affiar Plame. With Rove mired in his own problems the right wing has been left to come up with its own position papers, and the result looks something like a 50's alien invasion movie after the hero locates the central transmitter and destroy it. The attack pods start randomly lurching for balance, crashing into each other as they struggle to exist without any sort of higher brain function. They begin to look sad and almost human.

Skip the human part and you have the right wing blogosphere, where a thundering silence has reigned for the most part over the whole matter. The Power Tools managed to write an entire post on Plame yesterday and mention Rove not at all. Instahack and Little Mickey defaulted to Rove 101 and took a swing at Lawrence O'Donnell, but left to their own devices they could only craft pantywaist girl swipes that never managed to connect. The Doughy Pantload is in denial, but hints that he is one of the cool kids who actually does know who leaked the story, although I imagine he'll put himself on the line and name names about the time his mommy dresses him up in a pair of extra wide camo pants and marches him down to USMC headquarters to enlist.

Over at the Captain's Quarters they are taking the novel tack of claiming that since Karl Rove was the Special Advisor to the President at the time of the leak, he didn't have authorized access to to the classified information regarding Plame. They maintain that Section 421 of the US Code only applies to people having authorized access, and come to the remarkable conclusion that Rove will therefore skate:
Which means that even if it were to eventuate that Rove was the guy who leaked the Plame name, he would almost certainly not be a "covered person" as far as Section 421 is concerned: however he might have found out about her CIA employment, it would have to have been by means other than "authorized access to classified information that identifies a covert agent."

This would not stop Bush from firing Rove, if he so chose; but it would stop any sort of prosecution -- whether the leaker was Rove or someone else who likewise had no authorized access. Which is probably why nobody has been indicted: likely, the leaker, whoever he was, learned about Plame on the D.C. cocktail circuit, where evidently it was common knowledge.
(my emphasis)
Now, I've been deposed before. And when you're asked by a federal prosecutor how you came about a particular piece of information, and your answer is "oh, I don't know, around," they don't say okay and call it quits for the day and everyone jumps in their Range Rovers and heads to the Hamptons for the weekend. I would love to see a retreat to the "D.C. cocktail circuit" defense:
So, Mr. Rove, tell us again, how did you come upon this classified information?

You know, I was pretty much arse-holed, sucking down highballs at Scooter Libby's place and I really can't remember who told me.

Let me get this straight. You woke up from a blackout drunk with the vague recollection that someone revealed to you the secret identity of a CIA operative, and you thought it was a good idea to pick up the phone and repeat this information to Time Magazine?

Yup, that's the way it went down.
They'd be fitting him for leg irons by Labor Day.

It's the sad stabs at independent thought in a top-down organization whose minions can't choreograph their own steps when the Lord of the Dance goes AWOL. I'm sure by tomorrow Monica Crowley will be yammering through her hair spray the exact same sound bites Rush uttered only moments earlier, but by that time Rove should manage to remember where he put those naked photos of George Bush issuing Jeff Gannon his "press pass" and feel secure in his power once again.

P.S. Funniest sighting of the day -- the Captain's Quarters has an advertisement up for Operation Yellow Elephant, "sign up or shut up" (bottom right hand side of the page). I know money's money, but can they possibly know?


Skippy: A Senior Citizen in Blog Years

The most excellent Skippy the Bush Kangaroo is having a 3 year birthday on July 13, and hopes to have one million visitors by then. At last count that was only 57,993 visitors away. In addition to the noble Skippy, the blog is also home to eminent bloggers Cookie Jill, Pudentilla, GD Frogsdong, Mimus Pauly, RJ Eskow and Holden Caufield. Please go visit them and help put them over the top. And while you're at it, make Skippy happy by mentioning the word Blogtopia.