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Saturday, August 06, 2005

Shit, This is Starting to Look Like My Family Tree

As someone from a long line of Southern inbreds whose family tree looks more like a mobius strip, I'm used to spotting the ol' switchback. But chain of who-told-what-to-whom-when in l'Affair Plame is getting ridiculous.

According to Murray Waas, Scooter Libby is the (long suspected) "administration official" whom Judith Miller met with on July 8, 2003, six days before Robert Novak published his piece exposing Valerie Plame, that Patrick J. Fitzgerald was seeking information about when he subpoenaed Jailhouse Judy in the first place.

Although Preznit Never Responsible ordered everyone within the administration to comply with investigators and grant waivers for journalists to discuss any conversations they may have had with them, Judy has so far refused to testify because she believes these waivers were coerced and her source(s) have not granted her a "personal waiver" yet, according to her attorney, Floyd (father o'Dan) Abrams.

Because the subpoena also called upon Judy to provide documents she may have received at the July 8 meeting, it seems to be an indication that Fitzgerald believes Judy was the recipient of the Plame news, and not the source.

But this is the part that made my head hurt:
Libby has reportedly told Fitzgerald that he first learned of Plame's identity from NBC Washington bureau chief Tim Russert. But Russert has told investigators that he never told Libby about Plame. Rove said that he first learned the information from his conversation with Robert Novak.
Actually, the NBC statement said this:
Mr. Russert told the Special Prosecutor that, at the time of that conversation, he did not know Ms. Plame's name or that she was a CIA operative and that he did not provide that information to Mr. Libby. Mr. Russert said that he first learned Ms. Plame's name and her role at the CIA when he read a column written by Robert Novak later that month.
As Swopa points out, it sounds a bit like Rove's "oh, you mean Joe Wilson's wife -- is that her name?" defense. It amounts to pretty much of a non-denial, and as Arianna says, Russert has no business on national TV grilling people over this or any other issue until he comes clean.

Because the NBC statement also says that "Mr. Russert was not a recipient of the leak, which resulted in the public disclosure of the name and CIA employment of Valerie Plame, the wife of former Ambassador Joseph Wilson." So if Libby and Russert talked about Valerie Plame, but Russert wasn't "a recipient of the leak," doesn't that pretty much have to mean that Russert was the one doing the telling to Libby?

So either a) Libby lied and he and Russert never spoke about about it at all, in which case Libby=bustado, or b), Pumpkinhead is a big fat dissembling douchebag who drilled up some skeevy excuse pirouetting on words.

Look, this is getting stupid. There is no reason on earth that Tim Russert should not be required to say right out if he repeated gossip to Lewis Libby about Joe Wilson and his wife. It means that he's a dirt-dishing little scumbag but it has no bearing on his legal culpability. One could easily understand why he would think that repeating this tidbit to a man who had the highest security clearance wouldn't exactly mean he was spilling state secrets.
So fine, maybe Timmeh did ask Libby to confirm whether the story he'd heard about Joe Wilson's wife was true, and when Libby got grilled he blamed it on big stupid Pumpkinhead. Still doesn't explain why Libby hasn't rescued Judy from jail and granted her a personal waiver.

I thought a comment over at Kos by oregonj was quite enlightening:
Nigerien yellowcake was Cheney's project - an integral piece of the misinformation he needed to sell the tragic Iraq endeavor to Congress and the US.

Cheney's timeline from the date when he found out about the Italian report in January, 2002 - through his infuriated responses to the reports that it was not accurate (including sending Wilson to Niger and hearing back from him) - through his repeated visits (with Libby) to the CIA to pressure them to change their intelligence - through his repeated public pronouncements throughout 2002 that Iraq was seeking nuclear stockpiles - until October 1, 2002 when the CIA issues separate reports for public/Congress and classified consumption so that the false line of uranium can be maintained for public consumption- makes one thing very clear: Cheney had the strongest motive to keep this story alive and used whatever means possible to maintain it.

The fact that Libby was right there when they had to sink the dagger into his primary opponent is no surprise.
This has Cheney's fingerprints all over it, and Libby was his hatchet man. The media -- the ones who are crying for poor martyred Judy, such as NBC's Tom Brokaw -- need to start screaming for Scooter to issue said release. What are the odds that NBC's horribly compromised host of Press the Meat is going to do that tomorrow?

I'd say pretty much zip.


Quote of the Day

By joining Gov. Mitt Romney of Massachusetts in vetoing wider access to morning-after contraception, Gov. George E. Pataki has cynically betrayed New York women and New York voters. Apparently a "pro-choice Republican" is simply a Republican who has not yet decided to run for president. -- Katha Pollitt, NYT LTE 8/2/05

See: McCain, John

These fuckers better hope I don't outlive them, because I will spend my last breath making sure the 51% of the population they systematically fist-fuck in their craven, cynical rise to power remembers them expressly and specifically for these acts.

History is not going to be kind to these pricks.

(via Feministing)


Just Another Leisurely Day at Crawford

The ordinarily Bushlicking New York Post wasn't too impressed with Preznit Brush Clearance's Wednesday night excuse session. Says the loyal leader of the 101st Fighting Keyboardists:
Still, the conflicting messages about what is supposed to be the overriding policy issue of this administration were disappointing. In a two-week period in which nearly 50 American servicemembers died in combat in Iraq, this was no time to be mealy-mouthed.
As opposed to the other 50 weeks of the year, when it's perfectly fine. But they go on to make just the teensiest, eensiest suggestion:
What else should he do?

Show some leadership — starting with a visit to Brook Park, Ohio.

That's the hometown of the 3rd Battalion, 25th Marine Regiment, which lost 20 Marines this week in separate incidents near the Syrian border.

The town needs to see and hear the president there. As does the nation.
You mean, like, attend a funeral? For someone who died in HIS war? But wait a minute! The Preznit is probably ass-deep in dry brush right now. What about the box canyon?
Meanwhile, Bush officially has begun his "vacation" in Texas. Of course, a president is never truly on vacation, even when Congress is out of session, as it is now.

But Bush's official off-duty status carries symbolism. And, thus, it shouldn't start until after an Ohio trip.

Such a visit will allow the president to acknowledge publicly the sacrifices being made in this war.
I doubt if it's an outbreak of conscience on the part of the chickenhawk brigade. More like an acknowledgment of the change in direction of the prevailing wind.

Meanwhile, back in Ohio, Mary and Robert Williams will never see their son, Cpl. Andrew Williams, a member of Lima company 3rd Battalion, again.


Friday, August 05, 2005

Mount Novak Erupts -- My Two-Bit Theory

By now everyone has seen what happened on CNN yesterday when Bob Novak's DSM IV Cluster B personality disorder reared its ugly head. Now Atrios is reporting a rumor that Novakula has to testify before Fitzgerald's grand jury today.

I've been trying to figure out without success when exactly Novak made his deal, but all indications are that he made it early on, before Fitzgerald was assigned to the case. The White House was notified that the Justice Department was pursuing an investigation on September 29, 2003. Ashcroft didn't recuse himself until December 30 of that year. In the mean time, Associate Deputy Attorney General Christopher Wray testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee that Ashcroft was very much involved in the investigation and was briefed on it regularly, despite having paid Karl Rove $746,000 for work on three campaigns in the early 90s.

It's possible Novak made his deal with Ashcroft before Ashcroft recused himself, something like the one made with Walter Pincus or Tim Russert where they only had to give minimal information and were excused from answering other questions. I can't imagine Fitzgerald making a deal like that with Novak whose role was so central to the whole affair, but Ashcroft certainly might have done so. And Fitzgerald would have had to live with it.

Until, that is, it became clear that Novak had lied in some way to the grand jury, which it appears he might have done. According to Murray Waas on July 12:
[F]ederal investigators have been highly skeptical of Novak's account -- as they have been of Rove's -- and were concerned that the key participants might have devised a cover story in the days shortly after it became known that a criminal investigation had been commenced.
This may be why Fitzgerald has been digging so furiously into the Rove perjury -- it might enable him to break Novak's deal and throw him in the can if he won't reveal his sources.

Which would explain why Carville's needling, which seemed quite minor in the larger context of their Crossfire relationship, suddenly struck Novakula -- jumpy with pre-testimony jitters -- as ill-timed an inappropriate.

CNN ought to cut bait on Novak. It'll save 'em the embarrassing cartwheels the NYT is having to engage in to defend the martyrdom of Jailhouse Judy.


Thursday, August 04, 2005

Reality Check

How much do I care that Rafael Palmeiro used steroids? Not fucking much.

Gladiators used to kill each other for the amusement of the masses, now they kill themselves and that's sad. Sad that professional baseball has created an environment where it's necessary to juice yourself to the cancer ward in order to compete. Sad that kids think they have to do it too in order to succeed. Sad that it's Rafael Palmeiro, 'cos he's kinda hot.

But is it worth Congress working themselves into a dither over? On the whole I can think of about fifteen hundred more pressing things in need of Congressional attention at the moment, and nearly half involve a company called Halliburton.

I'm much more concerned over the fact that professional athletes are all but silent about what's going on in this country right now for the sake of their own wallets. Jim Lampley subbed for Ed Schultz on Air America today and he interviewed David Zirin, author of the book What's My Name, Fool? Sports and Resistance in the United States. They discussed the fact that the desire of athletes to avoid taking a stand on political issues was directly related to their roles as money-making machines, and anything that could compromise that cash flow is taboo. In lamenting the era of Muhammad Ali, they brought up the classic case of Michael Jordan and the 1990 Senate race in North Carolina.

For those who don't remember, Jesse Helms was in a close race with the African-American mayor of Charlotte, Harvey Gantt. Jordan's support could have had a huge impact on the race. Jordan refused to support Gantt, and the man whose net worth was close to $500 million at the time said it was because "Republicans buy sneakers too."

Well fuck Michael Jordan. And everyone else who thinks they did it all on their own by their amazing selves and don't owe anything to anybody. If Jesse Helms had gotten his way Michael Jordan would have spent his best years parking Christian Laettner's car.

I'm a feminist precisely because to take advantage of all the opportunities that weren't available to women even twenty, thirty years ago and yet not be one is the pinnacle of arrogance. Those opportunities came at a price and and they came about because somebody stood up, took a stand and probably got her ass kicked for it. And any deranged bitch lucky enough to wind up writing Presidential speeches out of a willingness to pull up the gangplank and lob grenades at all the women coming after her can just roast in hell. Really. I'm sure many of her precious popes will be there to greet her.

Anyway, that brings us to Etan Thomas of the Washington Wizards, who has come out publicly against the war and against George Bush. Says Thomas:
I have never had a problem standing up for what I believe in. I admire the athletes of the past, like Bill Russell, Muhammad Ali, Jim Brown, John Carlos and Tommie Smith, Kareem [Abdul-Jabbar]. Athletes that used their position as a platform to speak out on social issues and stand up for a cause. Basketball is not my life. To quote Bill Russell, 'You're not going to reduce me to an entertainer. I'm a man who stands up for what I believe in and you're going to respect me for it.' A quote I live by is, 'I speak my mind because biting my tongue would make my pride bleed.'"
That's a pretty remarkable sense of self in this cash-mad environment. Thomas is also a poet who wholeheartedly supports the troops. So in honor of the 19 Ohio-based Marines killed in Iraq in the past two days, an excerpt from Thomas's poem on Iraq:
Out of the ashes of Iraq come soldiers dressed in fatigues of fire
Wearing helmets secured in smoke
They've choked off the lies spewed out of the mouth of a burning bush
The true warrior's existing wake
Who's flames burned them at the stake
Cremated their bodies
And stuffed them in an urn wrapped in red, white, and blue....
Rummaging through a forest set ablaze by one lethal match
With witty catch phrases forever attached to the side of their kingdom
Operation Iraqi Freedom
Links to Al Qaeda
Eminent threats
And weapons of mass destruction.....
They've been skillfully thrown into the lion's den
Out of the frying pan and into the furnace
Their courage exceeds any measuring stick
But they can hear the footsteps of death creeping around the corner
For they've been led into the eye of the storm
Transformed into peacekeepers
Lending a helping hand for the poorly planned post-war strategy......
Moral: Choose your sports heroes wisely.


Wednesday, August 03, 2005

The Trouble With MSNBC

Per Roger we learn that Cliff Kincaid has diagnosed the problem with MSNBC: they don't have enough conservatives. The failure of Tucker Carlson? One word -- lesbians:
The problem with the Carlson show is the format, which places too much emphasis on his guests, including a regular named Rachel Maddow, a radio host on Air America who is described as the first out-of-the-closet lesbian to be named a Rhodes Scholar. She is a lesbian with hair so short that she looks like a man.
He then goes on to hip us to the fact that the only reason Maddow is on the show is because Big Fat Homie David Brock at Media Matters threatened to sing show tunes until MSNBC relented.

As if. Anyone who has ever watched The Situation can tell you that Maddow remained after the recent bloodbath not because of her keen fashion sense and peerless collection of Olivia Records but because she is the only one on the show who can form a complete sentence.

Max Kellerman is like a guillotined head severed from all brain impulse whose lips nonetheless keep twitching. Called upon to counter Tucker's argument that violence on TV was bad because some study said it desensitized kids to violence, Kellerman took his best shot:
But do you really want your child, especially if all of his peers are becoming desensitized to violence, to be more sensitive to violence?
(On that same episode, a story on African nations and the Millenium Challenge Account was accompanied by Toto's Africa. Because, you know, they both contain the words Africa.)

And then there's rare wit Jay Severin, he of the Mary Carey "does for a living what Democrats do to the country" fame, who is thankfully a whole lot rarer after he got shitcanned.

I've already kicked Tucker himself around this week, so I'll just say Eddie Haskell in a bow tie and a set of "what about me" ethics do not an Algonquin Round Table wit make.

Fox already has the cable news corner on the pharmacologically challenged. Every time MSNBC tries to launch a budding wingnut it's a disaster. They've already got Congressman Joe as in-house ratings anvil. As Wolcott said, "Don Imus has compared him to the developmentally challenged boy playing the banjo in Deliverance. And Imus is a fan."

Michael Savage? That was some success story, huh?

My solution to MSNBC's woes is to make Chris Matthews permanent bureau chief in Aruba and give his show to David Gregory. I have no idea what effect it would have on ratings but it would surely cut down the bill for Guilt Bourbon.

(graphic courtesy Jesus' General)


Tuesday, August 02, 2005

How Secure is Patrick Fitzgerald?

After stalking the Grand Jury like a bunch of shameless paparazzi, ABC News is reporting that two more people testified before Patrick Fitzgerald's grand jury in the Plame Case last Friday -- Susan B. Ralston and Israel Hernandez, both of whom have worked as aides to Karl Rove. David Johnston at the NYT subsequently wrote that they were both questioned about Rove's July 11, 2003 conversation with Matt Cooper of Time Magazine.

It all seems to indicate that one prong of Fitzgerald's inquiry is dedicated to pursuing perjury charges against Karl Rove, since both his lawyer, Luskin, and a memo he sent to Stephen Hadley shortly after the July 11 conversation indicate that his version of the story is somewhat different than Cooper's. Cooper claims the phone call was pointedly about Plame, Rove said it was initiated about welfare reform.

Now, I'm as happy as the next guy about the idea that Rove might be indicted for perjury, and if the next guy is Hugh Hewitt probably a whole lot happier. But it seems like small potatoes for the con jobs who willingly threw national security to the dogs for their own political ends. I know I know, Bill Clinton, perjury before the grand jury, blah blah blah. But I want the Full Monty.

And therein seems to lie the rub. How secure is Patrick Fitzgerald, and what does he need to make his case against BushCo. under the Intelligence Identities Protection Act of 1982 or the Espionage Act of 1917, and is he going to have the time he needs to do it before BushCo. either a) fucks up his case or b) sacks him?

Some attempt to separate fact from fiction:

1. A lot was made about the resignation of James Comey this week, Fitzgerald's boss and the one who purportedly assigned him to Plame in the first place. It didn't help matters when it was announced that BushCo. put forward former Tyco attorney Timothy Flanigan to take his place this week. It looked like the justice department was trying to ease Comey out and put in someone who would be more amenable to firing Fitzgerald off the Plame case, which -- at this point in time -- it seems they could conceivably do.

But Comey announced his resignation in March of this year; he'd had his eye on the AG job, and when that went to Abu Gonzales it was well known that he would probably return to the private sector where he could make some serious bank. It hit the headlines because the Senate Judiciary Committee interviewed Flanigan this week, and Arlen Specter (R-PA) announced that the dude made him queasy. It probably wasn't the news a lot of folks thought it was.

2. Former Illinois Senator Peter (no relation) Fitzgerald announced this week that Republicans were rumbling about Patrick Fitzgerald not being re-appointed to the job of US attorney in Illinois come October. Which has nothing to do with his job on Plame. Bush could very well decide to appoint someone else in Illinois just to fuck with him, and I'm sure the announcement this week that Fitz's day job might be in jeopardy was designed to do just that. A flexing of Rove's flaccid little muscle, so to speak.

As was the announcement that "legal ethics experts" were looking into Fitzgerald's hiring 8 months ago of a woman who formerly worked for Peter Fitzgerald and who may have helped her former boss gather information that lead to Fitz getting the job in Illinois. Eight months later, and this is the best they can do? Anyone who wants to argue that this wasn't part of some Rovian overture needs to stop picking through the carpet fibers for crack.

3. Pat Roberts' (R-KA) Senate Intelligence Committee announced that they would be holding hearing into, among other things -- Patrick Fitzgerald's investigation. Shades of Oliver North and John Poindexter leaped into the eyes of many, who remember how Congress granted that dirty duo immunity for their (largely useless) testimony regarding the inquiry into the Reagan administration's arms-for-hostages deals after they had already been convicted by independent counsel Lawrence Walsh.

The notion was enough to make Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) hinky enough to draft a letter of caution last Friday to both Roberts and Rep. Pete Hoekstra (R-MI), Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee.

"The (congressional) hearings should not be used as a ruse to provide White House officials with immunity," said Lautenberg. Neither Roberts nor Hoekstra would comment.

4. It would appear from all this rumbling that Rove is at the very least attempting to try to intimidate Fitzgerald, to make his presence known and let the prosecutor know that Rove Has A Big One. And while I have no way of knowing the value of the testimony provided by Ralston and Hernandez, at the very least hauling them in was an excellent elbow back to the ribs.

But how real is the threat to Fitzgerald? Can Rove derail his investigation?

From what I've been able to glean, Fitzgerald can't be fired from Plame -- after he hands down indictments. But he doesn't want to indict too soon, or over too little. And what does he need to make a large case? Well, it just might be the testimony of -- you guessed it, Jailhouse Judy.

Rove and Libby's story has seemingly been that they heard of Plame's identity from a reporter. And GOP attack dogs have dutifully repeated that the reporter they heard it from is Judith Miller. Which is probably all bullshit, but until Miller will testify to that fact, Rove and Libby's stories don't fall apart. Further, nobody swings under the 1982 Identities Act, because if Judy Miller was indeed the source, and the leak can't be traced back to someone who had the clearance to officially know about Plame's identity, Fitzgerald has bupkis.

So -- and here's where the brass balls part comes in -- can Fitzgerald crack the case before Rove blows the whole thing up? Both sides are obviously aligning their chess pieces on the board. And it may come down to Fitzgerald filing criminal contempt charges against Judith Miller before she talks (she's now in jail for civil contempt, which only lasts for the duration of the grand jury). While she's happy playing the martyr until October, her willingness to protect her "sources" (and her own ass) may be somewhat compromised when she's looking at a serious stretch of jail time.

My money is on Fitzgerald. I say he cracks Judy and that Rove and Libby swing, along with a host of others involved in the conspiracy to FALSIFY INTELLIGENCE AND LEAD THE UNITED STATES INTO AN IMMORAL AND ILLEGAL WAR (because please let us not forget what this is all about). But here are two questions I'd like answered, that in my scouring I haven't seen addressed:

a) Why were Cheney and Bush allowed to give their statements while not under oath, unlike Clinton, who as a result wound up with a perjury rap?

b) No one seems to know who Robert Novak cut his deal with. It may have its origins pre-Fitzgerald, an agreement made with Ashcroft before he recused himself from the case. If that is in fact what happened, it may explain why Fitzgerald has had a hard time honing in on Novakula -- he inherited Ashcroft's dirty laundry.


Oh Where Was the Outrage Then?

From the Yellow Dog Democrat:
Richard Holbrooke, who Republicans delayed for 14 months as Bill Clinton's nominee to the U.N., refused to bypass the Senate with a recess appointment, saying that it would introduce him to the world body with no credibility or authority.

Holbrooke understood that the job and massive responsibility that go with being America's chief diplomat outweigh personal ambition and political agenda. In other words, “country first, me second.”

Given that selfishness has always been a central tenet of Republican ideology, should we have expected Bolton to show Holbrooke's wisdom, humility and class?

Obviously not.
John from Crooks & Liars also has the video from Olbermann of Bolton being booed as he enters the UN. Where was the NBC Nightly News? You can't tell me that one wasn't a juicy prime time-worthy news story, fer Chrissakes.

Oh sorry, I forgot. Tom Brokaw was delivering baked goods and love poems to Jailhouse Judy. Well hopefully it'll mean a lull in all that Greatest Generation crap for a while. Is it just me, or does everyone find that kind of second grade hagiography thoroughly insulting?


Monday, August 01, 2005

Best Headline of the Day

From Think Progress:
Karl Rove: Slightly More Popular Than Gay Marriage
Really, who can add anything to that.

BTW, in the poll taken above, Rove got his ass whipped by Mark Felt, 33% to 67%. His fans at I Love Karl Rove, or "RoveHo's" as they like to call themselves, were righteously incensed.


Dunno What Everyone is So Upset About

I was actually kind of thrilled about the Bolton appointment to the UN today.

As TBogg and others have noted, Bush's move is the tantrum of a rich kid whose sense of entitlement can't abide the word "no," but it's more than just that. It's the act of a desperate man who can't back down for fear of looking weak, but in lashing out has to know that he strikes at the heart of the power of the Senate. And no matter how much they might be his bitch when it comes to stealing from the taxpayer trough, there is no way a bunch of patriarchal egomaniacs like that are gonna feel good about getting punked over Bolton.

And it could not come at a better time. The Senate confirmation hearings of John Roberts come soon, and while it probably won't put much of a damper on Bill Frist's enthusiastic support, it might temper the knee-jerk acquiescence of the Joe Liebermans, the Lindsay Grahams and the Arlen Specters. They may not exactly rake him over the coals, but as Brian from Ain't No Bad Dude pointed out over passionfruit iced tea with Kobe today, they might sit back and do nothing while others do the dirty work. No enthusiastic speeches of support, no testimonies to his stalwart commitment to truth, justice and the American Way. No frat boy "old buddy" cajoling from the Hair Club for Men contingent.

This giant "fuck you" to the Senate may silence a few of the Junior Bird Men so the infantry can do their job. Bolton? He's just another bottom feeder with no credibility who could soon be gone. The damage he can inflict is probably minimal. Roberts, on the other hand, could haunt us all for life.

Lame duck, anyone?

Update: Will Pitt has a few quotes to remember them by:
"If they make a recess appointment, then I have to say, it's a finger in the eye of the Senate," said Orrin Hatch, the Republican Senator from Utah. Of course, he said that in 1997. Republican Minority Whip Don Nickles said, "If he really sticks his finger in the eye of the Senate as far as the confirmation process, he may not get another person confirmed. We don't have to confirm anybody next year." That was in 1999. Republican Senator James Inhofe said, "He has treated the Senate confirmation process as little more than a nuisance which he can circumvent whenever he wants to impose his will on the country." That was also in 1999.
Nothing like a little gasoline for the fire, I say.

Update II: Steve Clemons at The Washington Note devoted his blog to defeating Bolton and did much to block the Senate confirmation. It's been my go-to blog on Bolton every day, and he deserves much credit for really making the GOP work for it and BushCo. spend much of its meager "political capital" on Walrus boy. Stop by and let him know you appreciate his efforts.


No Love for Jane at Gucci

Look, I know it's crazy. The fix is probably in at Diebold, the Rethuglicans are out in force and Jean Schmidt is just unbalanced and psychopharmaceutically dependent enough to be the perfect GOP candidate (she now says Hackett isn't pro-family). But Hackett has come out of nowhere and I'm really sorry I didn't go to Ohio now. Everyone at the Swing State Project have done an amazing job of organizing, people are flocking in from all over to sleep on floors, walk precincts and kick up a Herculean stink. Forcing the GOP to fight like hell and pony up a ton of cash for a district they thought they had a lock on.

If Paul Hackett loses, he probably goes back to Iraq (the two men behind him in the photo were in Fallujah with him). They need $30,000 today to fund the push for tomorrow, election day ($50 a precinct with 600 precincts -- Tom Delay drips that kind of cash in anal leakage alone).

So tilt at windmills. Do the glorious Sancho Panza thing. Give a little cash, and if you gave before, give again. I did once again this morning.

The welcome mat will not be out today for Jane at Gucci. But it's the best way I can think of to say "... and the Bolton you rode in on."


Sunday, July 31, 2005

Block Bleedin' the G-Dubya Way

Any reasonable person would have to conclude that as Leaders of the Free World, BushCo. took a beating this year -- Social Security privatization is a failure of Ishtar-like proportions, GWB's approval rating is nearly as low as his IQ, Baghdad is still burning and Terry Schiavo is still dead. So it all sounded a little mewling and pathetic when the GOP faithful were crowing about their legislative victories this week.

But as Krugman points out, this is what they really care about:
Let's start with the energy bill. Even the bill's supporters barely pretend that it will do anything to reduce America's dependence on imported oil. It's simply an exercise in corporate welfare, full of subsidies and targeted tax breaks.

Then there's the pork-stuffed highway bill. I guess we'll have to stop making fun of Japanese public works spending: now America, too, is building bridges to islands that have almost no inhabitants, but lie in the districts of influential legislators.

Finally, Cafta contains "free trade" in its title, but that's misleading. The administration rammed the bill through the House by, among other things, promising to limit imports of clothing from China; over all, the effect may well be to reduce, not increase, international trade. But pharmaceutical companies got measures that protect and extend their monopoly rights in Central America.

These bills don't have anything to do with governing, if governing means trying to achieve actual policy goals like energy independence or expanded trade. They're just machine politics at work, favors granted in return for favors received.

In fact, you can argue that the administration does a bad job at governing in part because its highest priority is always to reward its friends. Most notably, the Iraq venture would have had a better chance of succeeding if cronyism and corruption hadn't undermined reconstruction.
And the truly humiliating part of the article? I'd heard that the "global war on terrorism" had been downgraded to the "global struggle against violent extremism," but was I asleep when they announced that this policy was henceforth to be known as "gee-save"? So they've got, like, some middle aged neocon wiggers writing Pentagon slogans now?

I'm not gonna be able to travel abroad until we do something about this. Really.

Painful. Just painful.

(thanks to Mollie for the excellent graphic -- I tried to say "dope" but it just isn't in me)