Saturday, October 11, 2003

Be My Secret Friend 


FBI investigating mysterious email solicitations discovered in Robert Novak's inbox!




I am KARLA ROV SOTUA from island nation of IVORY TOWER COAST and I am the personal driver to an important leader of my country till now when SPIES come striking and make recent situation uncomfortable.

On earlier date, I informed my leader of the need for less discomforting influences in certain sensitive ongoing supranational policy matters. Needs which might allow me to open a window where some unwelcome tension might be allowed to escape and send a particular message to others that discomfort is not welcome within my office and will not be tolerated when it makes tension for the designed purposes of my peoples and office.

Upon opening this window even slightly I might help particular significant insights to find a way to escape and visit themself upon those who bring tension to my family and organization. These particulars then being allowed to flow freely where they might and therefore deliver a valuable corrective educational lesson to those in need of such correction.

To my utmost amazement I suddenly find that I am in possesion of such valuable secret corrective educational particulars and insights! Which, should they be delivered effectively, provide exciting future career enhancing $opportunities$ to anyone willing to help me distribute such valuable secret knowledge through established high profile channels. Whats more I will tell you how you can add 10 twitching thick grisly patriotic inches to the length of your penis while at the same time introducing you to a weight loss program that will trim pounds of ugly taxing government regulatory oversight off any future penis enhancing investment opportunities you may like to consider!

That given. I would like to manage to find my way to a secret undisclosed location and share this valuable secret information in secure company with a coded professional consignment. Hoping therefore to target my valuable message to New York or London or especially select home addresses in Virginia USA. I need to distribute this valuable secret information so that it may impress itself upon any discomforting extraneous influences as soon as possible. Hence I am soliciting for your assistance. I trust you understand my offer.

Your compensation for further assistance will be lucrative, while the whole sum will be mapped out in future good-will installments which will continue well beyond November 2004.

Furthermore, you must keep this secret to the end and assure me of loyal representation on your part. I really require an ideologically sound partner who must be a GOD FEARING person and reliable. Again, I don't know much about your current personal needs, so I seek YOUR guidiance.

I beg for the few following favours:

(1) Accept to be my secret partner.
(2) Advice me on the best way you feel this valuable knowlege can be conveniently invested for maximum impact and profitable return.
(3) Assist me to secure an anonymous persona and a safe network of communication.
(4) I request that you take a two days working visit to contact me for further clarifications and faster safer transactions.
(5) Assist me to make contact for us to disseminate this valuable secret knowlege and information I will give to you.

I stop here for now, Hope to hear from you soon by phone or return e-mail or disposable runaway teenage prostitute. You may reach me on: (K_rov_1600@subrosa.gov).


Friday, October 10, 2003

Pissing off the Shi'ites 

Let's not do that, OK?

A powerful Shia Muslim movement warned US troops on Friday not to enter Baghdad's largest Shia neighbourhood after a gun battle there on Thursday night killed two US soldiers and two Iraqis.

Stating the Obvious 

As Josh Marshall is suggesting, one line emerging from the President's lickspittles is that the leaker of Valerie Plame's identity didn't know she was undercover, so there was no crime.

I suppose the obvious answer to that is, then why hasn't anyone come forward? Oh, I know: Daddy will be very mad, and the leaker will have to go sit in a corner and think real, real hard about what he has done, but if there's one thing we know about the Bushes, treason means never having to say you're sorry. Ask rehabilitated Iran-contra liar Eliot Abrams {cough}.

Perhaps the failure of the "innocent" leaker to come forward might be explained by walking through the "explanation," beanng in mind that Plame was working under nonofficial cover, meaning that as far as the world knew, she had no connection with the U.S. government whatsoever. So, the "modified limited hang-out route" would have us believe that the leaker knew that Plame's public identity was false, but somehow failed to make the inescapable inference that followed from this fact, instead concluding, in the teeth of elementary logic, that she was merely a garden-variety CIA analyst who just happened to have one of the rarest cover identities on the planet.

Alternatively, the leaker could have "learned" of Plame's CIA identity without knowing of her public one through White House gossip, which implies that the identities of deep-cover NOCs are bandied about over the water cooler at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

So, either a) there is an innocent explanation that makes no sense unless one assumes the White House is criminally negligent about extremely sensitive national security matters or b) the innocent explanation is a lie. Someone should ask Scott McClellan which it is.

Thursday, October 09, 2003

Worms turning 


In a letter to President Bush, Minority Leader Tom Daschle of South Dakota and [Sens. Joseph Biden of Delaware, ranking Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Carl Levin of Michigan, ranking Democrat on the Armed Services Committee, and Sen. Charles Schumer] said the White House has made "at least five serious missteps" in the leak probe so far.

The biggest is leaving Attorney General John Ashcroft in charge of the probe ...

Other missteps the senators cited in their letter Thursday include:

• Failing to order employees to preserve evidence until three days after the Justice Department probe began.

• Not delivering that order to all staff until the following day.

• Waiting another day to extend that order to the Pentagon and the State Department.

In addition, the senators wrote, White House press secretary Scott McClellan's declaration that three senior officials were not responsible for the leak "has now put the Justice Department in the position of having to determine not only what happened, but also whether to contradict the publicly stated position of the White House."

What we've been saying about The Plame Affair since it broke is making the mainstream (Time, Useless News)—and people get it.

It's a story on a human scale; though the regime's all-too-human traits on display in the Plame Affair (ideological fervor, vengefulness, lying) are exactly those that brought us the Iraqi war, the Affair brings their effects down to a man, his wife, and the people she works with.

People understand, for example, that the vengeful felon(s) in the White House not only put Plame at risk for her life, but all her contacts too.

Meanwhile, The Gaseous One gives the latest defense of the regime apologists: The Plame Affair wasn't a crime; just a blunder: a "bumbling effort" to slam a critic. So, it turns out Bush is stupid, after all? With friends like these...

That Was Then, This Is Now 

Let's start with the NOW:

As you've no doubt heard, a bugging device was discovered in the office of the Mayor of Phildelphia this week, only four weeks from an election. The FBI has confirmed it's theirs. Mayor Street is a Democrat. The election is a rematch with his previous Republican opponent, one Mr. Katz.

Happily, all the proper people are properly shocked, and are properly demanding that the FBI offer an explanation. Gov. Rendell, D. is, and Senator Spector, R. is, and even Mr. Katz is, "breathtakingly shocking" is how he put it, though what aspect he found shocking wasn't specified.

The federal prosecutor on whose behalf the FBI planted the bug has specified that Mayor Street is not the "target" of whatever investigation required the bugging of the Mayor's office. More information will not be forthcoming, although the prosecutor has reassured all who might worry that his office remains, as ever, non-partisan.

Thus far, I have heard no demands for a congressional investigation. Nor has any media commentator I have thus far read or heard suggested that this incident could spell trouble for the Bush administration, especially following so closely on the matter of Ms. Plame.

I haven't mentioned that Mayor Street is black, and Mr. Katz is, well, not, because we live in a color-blind society.

We don't have to imagine how differently might a similar occurance have been handled by a Republican congress during the Clinton administration. All we have to do is remember "Filegate."

But of course, that was THEN:

June, 1966, in the midst of a presidential election, congressional Republicans discovered that the Clinton White House had asked for and received from the FBI hundreds of background files of White House employees, many of them from the previous Bush administration. The White House confirmed that such had happened, but denied any of the files had been gathered for the purpose of finding "dirt" on political opponents. The President, Vice-President and their chief of staff, Leon Panetta, weren't entirely sure for what reason the files had been requested, promised to investigate, and admitted upfront that such a request should not have been made, said it must be some sort of bureaucratic snafu, but agreed the FBI should not have surrendered the files.

Without objection from the White House, the matter was added to Ken Starr's portfolio, and various committees of congress vowed to have as many hearings as necessary to get to the bottom of what had gone on. Interestingly, not one Republican was able to point to a single incidence of leaked information from the files having been used against any so-called Clinton foe, whether directly by the White House, or anyone else, but shades of the Nixon enemies list were invoked often.

Most of the immedate coverage has long since disappeared behind archived walls, but you can get the flavor of the moment, so like the flavor of so many other moments during Clinton's White House years, from these classic two sentences by Sen. Hatch:

The White House conducted what appears to be "a definite effort to find dirt on Republicans," Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, charged Sunday. "Now, whether that's true or not, I don't know. That's why we have to do this investigation."

In the same CNN report, dated June 23rd there is also this from then Speaker of the House, Newt Gingrich:

The administration also was being pressed by Republicans on another front. House Speaker Newt Gingrich Saturday renewed his threat to have White House officials declared in contempt of Congress if they don't turn over 2,000 pages of travel office files.

"These people cannot continue to stonewall, obstruct, delay and lie. And they need to turn over those 2,000 pages by next Wednesday," Gingrich said. The White House has claimed executive privilege over the papers, which have been subpoenaed by a House committee.

The committee is investigating the firing of seven travel office employees early in the Clinton administration and how the administration reacted to earlier inquiries into those dismissals. (emphasis mine)

The firing of the Travel Office employees had occurred in the early months of 1993. There had been copious congressional hearings about the incident by the Democratic controlled congress, the first Independent Counsel had investigated and found nothing illegal; Ken Starr, having decided to throw out all the work of the previous Counsel and start over, "travelgate" was under investigation once again, so what 2000 pages of information could possible have been so vital to the furtherance of the "common good?" How could there even be 2000 pages of files?

Here's how.

The subpeonas being resisted by the White House were asking for any material from any White House official or lower rung staff member, who had had any meetings, phone calls, shared mash notes or email exchanges with any other official or lower rung staff member, in which the word "travel" or "office" was uttered. If I exaggerate for effect, so was Speaker Gingrich. He was manufacturing a Clinton administration claim of Presidential priviledge. Much later, of course, when both "gates," travel and file, were shown to be groundless shams, Ken Starr still included in one of his impeachment counts, Clinton's misuse of such priviledge.

Remember when the GAO asked to see who the members of Cheney's energy task force were, and executive priviledge was invoked, without provoking much comment or outrage, except from those nasty, uncivil, partisan Democrats? The explanation was that policy makers needed the freedom to consult honestly with advisors and couldn't if constantly fearful that such discussions might be made public. I happen to agree with that. But Clinton's right to presidential privacy was assaulted on an almost daily basis for most of his eight years in office. And what was at stake in "travelgate" that had anything to do with the daily lives of most Americans? Especially in 1996?

On the other hand, Cheney successfully stonewalled all attempts to find out how the Bush energy policy was evolved at a time when the California governor, Gray somebody, was asking the federal government to inquire into the possibility that the energy crises was being artificial created by energy traders. The Bush administration's answer was no, and no. Now we know that it was a manufactured crises. In large part by Ken Lay, the biggest fraud since the Wizard of Oz, and one of those whom Cheney, we now know, met with in framing Bush energy policy.

Anyone who paid attention to the first round of hearings about the FBI files would have known there was no scandal there. The files were part of a project started by the previous Bush administration and handed over to Craig Livingston during the transition. It had been an attempt to bring up to date the White House list of who should and did have White House access. Mr. Livingston had handled things carelessly, testified as such, claimed no priviledge, and promptly resigned, as did his assistant. That's what happened when you made a mistake in the Clinton White House; you resigned. Your resignation was then taken as further evidence of corruption, else why would you have resigned?

Two years later, filegate was still being investigated. The more the White House turned over to congress, the more Republican staff members found to question. And then there were the Judcial Watch suits on behalf of various agrieved Republicans whose files might have sat on Craig Livingston's desk. Mr. Livingston for his part, the part of a young man who'd become involved in the Clinton campaign, and then in serving in that administration, was treated, during his several appearances before congressional committees like a Mafia foot soldier; Republican staff members had made known that Mr. Livingston had once worked as a bouncer, a piece of private informationm, like that gathered in those FBI files, they felt no hesitation in releasing; if irony is dead nowhere else, it is certainly dead in the sensibilities of young Republicans. Henceforth, Craig Livingston was constantly referred to as the ex-bouncer who became head of White House security. Such are the nicieties of civil discourse David Brooks is so discouraged to see Democrats eschewing.

There was also an attempt to show that Mrs. Clinton was responsibile for hiring Mr. Livingston, which in the fevered imaginations of wingers everywhere would have proven that Hillary was behind "filegate."

Finally, in March of 2000, the new OIC, Robert Ray, released his finding regarding "filegate," that there was no there there, though he managed to phrase it in such a way that it sounded as if what he was actually saying was that he couldn't really prove anything bad had gone on, but probably it had. Not that Ray's nakedly partisan spin satisfied key elements of the right, who continue to insist that everything that was ever alledged about the Clintons (scroll down to find "Filegate" but there's lots to look at on the way there) was and is true.

Why bother with all this? Aren't the Clintons the past? Didn't all real liberals think they were fairly tacky anyway? We get what the media whores did; so why make ourselves look bad by defending the Clintons?

How about this? How about defending the truth? Because the assault on the Clintons continues, and it's part of the same machinary of scandal, smears, distortions, misdirection and divisiveness that the Republican Party honed to near perfection in the eight years of the Clinton presidency.

I don't suggest this as a primary task. But the failure to vigoursly defend the truth about the Clintons helped defeat Gore, continues to allow a Chris Matthews to compare a President Clinton unfavorably with an Arnold, and is making it harder than it should be to lay a glove on a Bush administration that, increasingly, is the true embodiment of every lie ever told about the Clintons.

Fine word, legitimate 


"What Leno's presence did is give legitimacy to the notion that it wasn't a partisan event, it wasn't a political event, it was somehow an American cultural event," said Marty Kaplan, associate dean of the of University of Southern California's Annenberg School for Communication. "It was like welcoming home an astronaut from a safe voyage. In so doing, it played into a campaign strategy that this was a campaign for all, beyond politics. Which is not true; he's a Republican candidate."

Let's hope this whorish-ness on Leno's part is just a temporary aberration. Of course, Letterman is better anyhow...

Reading aWol's mind 


"[BUSH] Americans are not the running kind."

[GEORGE BUSH THOUGHT BALLOON: Do—not—mention—my—missing—year—in—National—Guard—Mom—will—kill—me—]

Who put the "W" in aWol?

You know, some enterprising Democrat attack dog (if there is such an animal) might think about mentioning that while today's National Guard is being sent off the the Iraqi desert, Bush himself blew off his own Guard duty.

How The President Processes Information 

This greeted me on my home page and it seemed a more eloquent insight than anything I could add.

Top Stories from The New York Times

- Car Bombing and 2 Other Attacks in Iraq Leave at Least 10 Dead

- Palestinian Suicide Bomber Wounds 2 Israelis and an Arab

- Bush, Campaigning in N.H., Points to Successes and Threats

I'll Take Betty and Veronica Talking about Safe Sex, Thanks 

Archie and the gang are enlisting in a NY anti-teen drinking campaign.

Great idea. What next? Nancy stands up for abstinence? The Katzenjammer Kids take on teen gangs?

This is your brilliant ad campaign. This is your brilliant ad campaign on OxyContin.

Any questions?

Conan the Rotarian 

Vanessa Gera, Associated Press Writer, and conduit for greater global fluids, reminds us that the "World Marvels at Schwarzenegger's Victory", October 8, 2003, 7:12 AM EDT.

GRAZ, Austria -- From an Internet chatroom in China to Arnold Schwarzenegger's boyhood home in Austria, the world marveled Wednesday at a uniquely American political triumph with more suspense than a Hollywood script.

Oh sure, the suspense was gripping. After two months of gadrooned platiutudes, ga-ga and fluff and slow-pitch fatman whiffle-vetting from the television news pol-op punditry, free round the clock all Arnold all da time campaign commercials camouflaged as news reporting courtesy of the MSNBCCNNFOXNoise corporatist cable cabal, and an Arnold campaign strategy whose motto was essentially - you get to look under the hood after you buy the hummer - the entire runaway bus freeway pileup stunt comes to a predicable end. The leader hero emerges victorious with the heroine at his side. Credits roll. Another brainless action idol thriller rakes the box office markers into the drawer, tallies up the boodle, pays the catering truck and announces the dawn of a new era of starmaking. The nectar America craves. Style trumps substance and the television news-reader media minks and company store trumpets begin honking like geese harkening a new equinox.

A Revolutionary tour-de-force! - A terrific end of the summer feel good comedy drama musical for the whole family! - Fabulous! - An exhilarating monosyllabic action adventure romance. - Titilating! --- did I mention it was Titilating! And, Fabulous? Fabulous and titilating!

Chris and Peggy loved it! Each squealed with breathless delight as the action unfolded before their wide impressionable eyes. The suspense mounts as a Republican wave curls and crashes and rolls up the beach, pumped ashore to the throbbing soundtrack of Wagner's Der fliegende Hollander and Parsifal. Peggy coos and warbles and reminds Chris of the faithful majesty of it all. Chris reminds her of the young Austrian immigrant who leaves home to make it big in the arts and politics, unrelenting, impelled, succeeding on pure muscle and rank celebrity, a driven charismatic personality, merciless raw ambition and a truculent predisposition to terminate any and all opposition. A popular rags to power conquest kickshaw exalted by cheering adoring unquestioning starstruck throngs in his adopted increasingly easily provoked new homeland - saluted as a victorious expatriate gladiator by his native countryman - a profligate conquerer barbarian magnifico come to lead the beer hall booboisie into the next tax shelter from the storm. Peggy swoons as Chris reels, each barks up some profuse commentary on defying the conventional wisdom and the triumph of will.

It all sounds eerily familiar.

Chris lurches rightward toward Peggy who sits quivering, pitter-patter, like a fledgling bird in a spring wind, excited with expectations which challenge her cognitive dissonance. His large marauding paws grope for her pert heaving breasts and she welcomes his advances, submits, two hungry searching tongues quarry each others hot breath in the glimmering lambent light of the theater of the absurd - fireworks explode, the surf crashes and roars through the piles and pillars beneath the Santa Monica pier. Arnold Schwarzenegger is declared the Governor of California. Somewhere in America a predator falls upon its prey.

Lawrence O'Donnell, watching the show from the second row, leans forward and slaps the balmed paramours upside the head. "Hey, take it to an all expense paid executive suite will ya! - We got adults here!." To no avail.

In South Florida a crazed right-wing radio talk show codeine junkie chug-a-lugs another half gallon bottle of morphine derived analgesic and lapses into an hypnotic babble about huge black hermaphrodidic centipedes, "this Great Beast" and "writhing orgasims of purience."

An enormous polished gasoline drunk vintage 1953 combination Sno-Cat and sugar cane harvester rolls to a stop beyond the roped heave and roil of the worshiping media vulgas and bobble-bewitched fanforande while marketing consultants and GOP image thaumaturgists twitch with intoxicted arousal like bald-headed hermits at a French can-can dance.

MSNBC's "liberal media" mole Alex Witt squirms with captivated delight and licks at the bulbous knob of a hot microphone. The driver side door swings wide open, red ballons cascade from above like blood drops from a sacrificial gambit strung from the firmament and America's newest high school homecoming clod elect emerges from the cab grinning like the hideous engorged head on a fiberglass puppet in a Mardi Gras parade.

Conan the Rotarian is - arriviste, baby.

Wednesday, October 08, 2003

Heh heh 


Alec Baldwin came bearing a gift when he attended a fund-raiser for House Democrats: a box of dog biscuits for Republican Gov. Rick Perry.

"I wanted to give this to Tom DeLay's lap dog, Rick Perry," the actor said Tuesday.

The bad news: it looks like the Texas Republicans have agreed on redistricting. Anyone strung up "Quitmire"—the Texas Democrat who broke ranks and handed half a dozen House seats to Delay and Rove—by his tiny, shrivelled testicles yet?

They're not "leaks"—they're "W"eaks! 

I'm sure this is so obvious it must have been stated a million times already, but Bush can hardly claim that there are "too many leaks" when he sits down for five hours with Bob Woodward speaking candidly about classified material. That's not a leak? And of massive proportions?

The elephant in the room here is this: Bush doesn't even know when he's lying.

That's why he needs the handlers and the ear-piece; not stupidity.

At the best, he's got NPD big time (Narcissistic Personality Disorder). At worst, he's just doing classic Orwellian doublethink ("We have always been at war with Oceania.")


"The only thing we have to fear is fear itself." 

Question: Why do we never hear this from the Bush regime? Because FDR said it?

Chinese launch date: October 15 

Joe McDonald of AP writes that the "taikonauts" will be taking green tea.

Of course, the PNAC has China on the list in the next decade or so, so look for lots of warmongering from the regime on this one.

Our CEO president 

Condi's not talking to Rummy, and Rummy's not talking to Condi.

And aWol hasn't called them into his office to straighten it all out. What a farce.

So if the mission was accomplished and everything's lovely, what's this "Iraq Stabilization Group" bauble that Condi is flashing all about, anyhow? PR?

UPDATE: Rummy and Condi share their feelings in this scenario concocted by alert reader MJS:

DOC: Now, Condi, how did that make you feel when Rummy said those things about you...

CONDI: I...I don't know. I try to please him, but...the rules keep changing.

RUMMY: Oh, what a load of...

DOC: Now, Rummy, we agreed to a few ground rules earlier, and one of them was for you to stop swearing whenever you felt threatened. Do you feel threatened now?


CONDI: (sotto voce) Cracker ass cracker...

RUMMY: Did you hear that?

DOC: How did that make you feel, Rummy, when Condi said those things about you?

CONDI: I barely whispered...

RUMMY: I'm old, honey, but I ain't deaf.

DOC: How did that make you feel?

RUMMY: Like hurting her, like I wanted to squish her under my Hummer.

CONDI: Try it flyboy, just try it. I'm Shrubaroo's #1 Kelly Girl and you know it, so just try it, Grandpa!

DOC: Hey, you two...

RUMMY: Take that back, you bony-assed Media Whore!

CONDI: Media Whore! Lick me, you pompous buttfucker!

DOC: I see we're just about out of time here...

RUMMY: Take this, you skanky piece of...

CONDI: (Slap!)

RUMMY: Clear the room! Clear the Room!

(SLAM! CRASH! &*!?%!)

DOC: (in the hall, talking to the door) Same time next week?

Florida, Texas, California, now Philly? 

One more in the long series of Republican dirty tricks? Part of the Republican strategy for permanent electoral dominance?

Funny thing. In the largest city in a swing state, just before a close mayoral election, a bug is discovered in the office of the Democratic mayor.

I bet the administration is really, really, really upset about all this.

The Arnis 


Leah will probably have something more analytical to say. But what amazes me about the whole thing is really the beauty part from the Republican standpoint: that is, the issues that brought Davis down were all engineered by the Republicans.

The California economy? That's down to aWol.

The power crisis? Down to manipulation by the power companies, Bush contributor Enron prominent among them.

The budget crisis? No worse than the last one, and only a logjam because of Republican obstructionism in the legislature.

So the real story here isn't that voters were angry; the story is how the anger was manipulated.

And this "for the people" stuff The Arnis™ is trying to pull...

Hey, the power companies took $250 from each Californian and got back cents on the dollar when FERC finally came to the conclusion there was fraud. If the The Arnis™ is truly for the people, he can start by getting the power companies to disgorge the fruits of their frauds and thefts.

UPDATE: From CNN exit polling via KOS: the Democrats blew it on turnout. Check the amazing statistics.

The Gang That Couldn't Shoot Straight 

Bush & co have an odd view of international leadership according to which the quality of such leadership, especially in the case of the last standing superpower, is to be measured in inverse proportion to how few countries are persauded to follow it. Or is it just me?

This time, wasn't it the stated aim of this administration to engage the UN and member nations in an alliance, broader than that covered by the overused phrase, "coalition forces," to help with money and troops in the rebuilding of Iraq? Or was I misinformed?

According to the NYTimes, it isn't going well.

The Bush administration has run into such stiff opposition at the United Nations Security Council to its plan for the future government of Iraq that it has pulled back from seeking a quick vote endorsing the proposal and may shelve it altogether, administration officials said Tuesday.

Two weeks after President Bush appealed at the United Nations for help in securing and reconstructing Iraq, administration officials said, his top aides will decide soon whether it is worth the effort to get a United Nations endorsement.

Originally, the administration said United Nations approval of American plans for the next phase of postwar Iraq would encourage other countries to contribute money or troops. Now the tone has shifted to one of living without such help, if necessary.

"We don't want to play this game for a long, long time," said a senior administration official, reflecting a certain exasperation with the Security Council. "This is as much a choice for the Council as it is for us. They can be multilateral and be part of it, or they can tell us to do it ourselves."

The new pessimism about winning United Nations support results from the cool reception accorded to the administration's most recent draft on Iraqi self-government, which was supposedly redrawn to take into account suggestions of Security Council members

Hmm, what could have caused such stiff opposition, now that the administration was "courting" the UN? Here's a Reuters report published before the Times' bylined article.

Despite divisions in the 15-member U.N. Security Council, U.S. Ambassador John Negroponte on Tuesday ruled out making any substantial changes to the Bush administration's draft resolution on Iraq.

Consequently, council diplomats said the United States had to decide soon whether to drop the effort entirely or push for a split vote in the council that might limit its impact.

Easy passage of the resolution, aimed a broadening military and financial support, was assured until Secretary-General Kofi Annan last week turned down U.N. political participation unless Iraqi sovereignty was accelerated.

At a Security Council session on Monday, most members wanted the resolution to deal with some of Annan's suggestions but Negroponte virtually excluded this. (emphasis mine)

The reasons the members of this administration have so little respect for the UN is that they have no idea how to get their way there. By definition, the problem can't be them, so, it must be....fill in the blank.

Among the 15 council members, France, Russia, Germany, China and Syria were expected to abstain while only Britain, Spain and Bulgaria were sure votes, diplomats said.

The other six council members, Chile, Mexico, Pakistan, Angola, Cameroon and Guinea, expressed misgivings but might support the resolution under U.S. cajoling, the envoys said.

Cajole? Cajole, you say? Why kind of diplomat would do that? A self-important jerk like Joe Wilson? Amb. Negroponte is made of sterner stuff. He's the kind of ambassador who's more comfortable lying to congress on behalf of Central American thugs pretending to be national armies, but whose only purpose is the use of violence to limit the human rights of its citizens.

In the Reuters report, a foreign policy expert makes the point that the administration's approach to the UN has been "lukewarm" because there isn't sufficient counter pressure on or within congress, as yet, to put that $87 billion (gulp) supplemental at risk. If there were, the administration might have to rethink their approach.

This is not your cue to go off on how the rotten Democrats aren't being sufficiently oppositional. Becaue they are. And in as public a way as they can - floor speeches in the Senate presenting alternative funding devices - in the House, four or five member discussions during after session "Special Orders," questioning everything about our occupation of Iraq; last night Corzine was impressively eloquent and fierce. The Democrats have not been the least bit ready to rubber-stamp this appropriation. DeLay must sense some breaking even in his own ranks because he's pushing a scheduled vote for next week. The House Dems can inform citizens, but without grassroots help from voters taking the time to contact other house members, that's all they can do. Check out C-Span's Senate coverage during the day, if you have a job that allows you to do that, and the House coverage at night. You'll be proud you're a Democrat.

Get ready for renewed attacks by administration cohorts on the irrelevant, immoral UN, and especially on Kofi Annan. Look for a Tom Friedman column excoriating Annan for towing the French line, proclaiming, that for all their many mistakes, on this one the administratioin is right, and pointing out, without irony, that such a policy would mean turning over authority to their own hand-picked Council, exemplified by the much-compromised Chalabi, which will be viewed by Iraqis as US puppets. In case you're wondering how the Bush administration could embrace such a view without having to admit a colossal blunder, here's a hint from the Times' bylined piece.

"We just have a basic difference with the secretary general on this," said a senior administration official. "He has the model of Afghanistan in mind. He wants us to use an old constitution, set up an interim government right away and move toward elections later on. But that's not the right model."

Indeed, many American officials say that if the United States tried to set up the existing Iraqi Governing Council's handpicked by the American-led occupation authority last summer � the attacks on American forces and Iraqi targets would only intensify. "The Governing Council is not seen as legitimate by the Iraqi people," said the administration official. "They're not ready to take power."

Among other things, various officials say, the Governing Council is dominated by former exile groups installed by the occupation but widely disliked by many Iraqis. (my emphasis)

No kidding, guys.

Who among us wouldn't agree? Too bad it took so long.

The Reuters report gives a slightly different perspective on Annan's position.

Although it is similar to proposals by the French and the Germans, I take it that the ceeding of sovereignty in Annan's view is fundamental to changing the perception among Iraqis and among Muslims around the world that what is going on in Iraq is an American occupation of the country. Whether the time period should be three months or five months, he isn't suggesting that such sovereignity should be vested solely in the Council. The details are negotiable; they always are among diplomats. Except in the Bush administration, whose chief emerging characteristic is its rigdity, which the President mistakes for strength.

After all, if Iraq is indeed the flypaper by which we have transferred there the frontline of the war on terror, why should the UN volunteer to be cannon fodder. Question to supporters of this occupation; when did Iraqis volunteer to become cannon fodder?

Tuesday, October 07, 2003


Remember when Republicans were aghast, simply aghast, at Hollywood's depraved indifference to cultural mores, its degrading portrayal of women, and its corrupting effect on youth through mindless, violent movies, to the point of making it a high-profile Presidential campaign issue?

That was so, like, 2 1/2 years ago.

"We live in a culture of moral indifference, where movies and videos glamorize violence and tolerance is touted as a great virtue." --George W. Bush, v. 1.0, 10/2000

Does Clark get it? 

His campaign manager doesn't think so.

[Wesley Clark's campaign manager] Donnie Fowler told associates he was leaving over widespread concerns that supporters who used the Internet to draft Clark into the race are not being taken seriously by top campaign advisers. Fowler also complained that the campaign's message and methods are focused too much on Washington, not key states, said two associates who spoke on condition of anonymity.


Bush, Media Whores Collude to Bury Plame Affair 


"[BUSH:] I have no idea whether we'll find out who the leaker is, partially because, in all due respect to your profession, you do a very good job of protecting the leakers,"

Just one big happy family! And "Due respect" is very, very nice, isn't it?

Meanwhile, a terrific headline in Isvest—WaPo from one Randall Mikkelsen: "White House Rules Out Three Aides In Leak Probe. Uh, no, Randy. The White didn't rule them out; they said they were ruled out. And they were "senior administration officials" not "aides"...

Yes, it's how the essential parts of this story keep getting lost. Let's try to help the SCLM find them:

  1. Plame was an operative (not an analyst) and it's a felony to reveal her identity.

  2. Her identity was shopped around to six different journalists/news organizations before Novak revealed it

  3. The felon who did the shopping was a senior administration official

  4. The motive was revenge by the White House on a whistleblower

So, what do we have instead of an investigation? Republican tactics 101: Change the subject. We have:

  1. Continued character assassination of both Plame and her husband, Ambassador Joseph Wilson, the whistleblower in the Niger yellowcake affair)

  2. The FBI rounding up the usual suspects here, there, and everywhere in the executive branch, except in the White House, where senior administration officials are to be found

  3. Continued mischaracterization of the issue as "leaking," when in fact the issue is revealing the identity of an intelligence operative
  4. Persistent characterization of the DOJ investigation as independent when in fact:

    1. White House Counsel Gonzales will decide what to turn over to DOJ, and what not to turn over (that was the 5:00 deadline today). And it's gong to take him at least two weeks to do that

    2. Ashcroft continues to refuse to recuse himself in The Plame Affair, even though he has done so for less cause in other cases

    3. Aschroft has to sign off on every subpoena, regardless of whether the "career prosecutors" are handling the case or not

  5. And Bush could solve the problem right away (and save the taxpayers a little money) simply by saying the following single sentence:

    If any journalists have given pledges of confidentiality to whoever revealed Valerie Plame's identity, I'm releasing them from those pledges.

    Maybe if he did that, one of the six people the White House felon shopped Plame's identity to might, just might, come fofward? How long will we be waiting for Bush to say that, I wonder?

Also, let's not forget that Plame was a WMD operative, which may provide an additional motive to revenge in the Affair. (This may help the MWs who just can't understand.)

Some have thought that the doctrine of preventive war depends on having good intelligence—about WMDs, for example. Not so; Bush already knows the wars he wants to fight; the PNAC lays it all out, as did the "Axis of Evil" speech. So the purpose of an intelligence agency (in Bush's view) is not to provide facts or analysis; rather, the purpose of the agency is provide cover for wars of choice that the administration has already decided to fight. (This is the operational definition of "faith-based intelligence.") However, not everyone in the intelligence community shares this view.

Plame was a WMD operative. There are real WMD concerns (i.e., nuclear, not fake like Iraq) with both North Korea and Iran.

Therefore, the felon in the The Plame Affair might have had an additional motive beyond revenge: to message to the WMD community that if they disagree with the White House, not only will their careers be destroyed, their lives (if they are operatives) will be endangered, as Plame's has been. It's a two-fer!

Finally, it looks like the White House defense starting to emerge Sure, Rove might have talked to a journalist about Plame, but only to "set the record straight," and only after her identity had already been revealed. The difference between a felony and standard operating procedure? I was about to say "a simple matter of timing," but that would imply that the Bush White House knows or cares about the distinction.

If the Red Sox can win... 

... can Liberals be far behind?


According to some "Episcopalians," split the church so only "ex-gays" are part of the congregation.

Who was it who warned about people who are "holier than thou"? Not these guys. Who was it who sat down to dinner with prostitutes and tax collectors? Not these guys, for sure.

And WWJD? Let's worry about WWWD—"What Will W Do" to win in 2004. To which we already know the answer: Whatever it takes.

This nastiness is just a straw in the wind, a small beginning. Look for plenty of appeals to raw prejudice from Republicans in 2004.

Thunder Kelly & Laura Lump 

"Dear Laura," the poem began, "Roses are red, violets are blue, oh my lump in the bed, I miss you." Uh oh, theres even more..... at Uggabugga

I can't wait to see the watercolor paintings.

And while your at it - consider Thunder Kelly's Seventh Seal:
Official Voter Info. via Uggabugga

"And when he opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven,
as it were for half an hour."

Doomsday Discounts Galore! 

Welcome to the Pentagon Pennysaver, for all your scary end-timer crazy-guy shopping needs.

Via ABCNEWS.com - October 7, 2003 Bargain Basement - Congressional Report: Terrorists Could Buy Special Equipment From Pentagon

The Pentagon could inadvertently be providing terrorists with special equipment that would enable them to make biological weapons, according to a draft report from the General Accounting Office obtained by ABCNEWS.

According to the report, which is due to be released Tuesday, Congress ordered the GAO -- its investigative arm -- to set up a phony company to see how easy it would be to buy surplus lab equipment from the Pentagon.


Via Newsday - AP:Pentagon Said Lax in Protecting Chem Labs

Using a fake company, congressional investigators were able to buy off the Internet excess Pentagon lab equipment and protective gear that terrorists could use to make chemical and biological weapons, the investigators told a House hearing Tuesday.

Fellow shoppers on the Internet site also resold the items to buyers in the Philippines, Malaysia, Egypt, and other countries, the General Accounting Office said in a report to the House Government Reform's national security subcommittee.

"Public sales of these Department of Defense excess items increase the risk that terrorists could obtain and use them to produce and deliver biological agents within the United States," it said.

Gregory Kutz, the GAO's director for financial management and assurance, said that, using a fictitious company, they were able to buy $4,100 worth of items, including a biological safety cabinet, a bacteriological incubator, a centrifuge, an evaporator and chemical and biological protective suits and related gear.

He said the original acquisition value of the items purchased was $46,960.


The Pentagon in January stopped sales of protective gear, but the GAO found that some 4,000 suits, and 26,000 other items such as gloves and hoods, were sold after that date.

Kutz said that in the past three and a half years the Pentagon sold at least 18 safety cabinets, 199 incubators, 521 centrifuges, 65 evaporators and 286,000 protective suits.

Anthrax - Aisle 5!

Californy Countdown 

The Following is a Public Service Announcement
Brought to you by EssJay.

California polls are open until 8PM Pacific time.
Your polling place has likely changed. Get the correct address at: http://www.smartvoter.org/
Or phone 1-877-321-VOTE

Union Banking Putsch 

Bob Fitrakis and Harvey Wasserman have written an article titled "Seige Heil: The Bush-Rove-Schwarzenegger Nazi Nexus and the Destabilization of California" which is published at the Free Press website. The entire article is also mirrored at Common Dreams

Wasserman and Fitrakis detail past Bush family ties to the emerging Nazi Party in Germany and also make mention of their relationship to industrialist Fritz Thyssen, a well known admirer and financial backer of the Nazi cause and it's rise to power. Below are excerpts from the Fitrakis and Wasserman article as well as additional informantion with respect to Fritz Thyssen's association with the Nazi movement.

Fitrakis and Wasserman write:

The Bush family ties to the Nazi party are well known. In their 1994 Secret War Against the Jews, Mark Aarons and John Loftus use official US documents to establish that George Herbert Walker, George W. Bush's maternal great-grandfather, was one of Hitler's most important early backers. He funneled money to the rising young fascist through the Union Banking Corporation.


The bank helped Hitler rise to power. It also helped him wage war. As late as July 31, 1941---well after the Nazi invasion of Poland---the U.S. government froze $3 million in Union Banking assets linked to Fritz Thyssen. Thyssen was noted in the American press as a "German industrialist and original backer of Adolph Hitler."

Loftus writes that Thyssen's "American friends in New York City [were] Prescott Bush and Herbert Walker, the father and father-in-law of a future President of the United States." That would be the current president's father, George Herbert Walker Bush, also the former CIA director.

Read the full Wasserman and Fitrakis article at the links above.

Thyssen - Part 2

In addition to the above, Ian Kershaw, (author of Hitler; Hubris / Nemesis) makes note of Thyssen's involvement with the "Keppler Circle" signatories. Kershaw writes:

On 19 November, the day that Hindenburg received Hitler as part of his meetings with the heads of political parties, the Reich President was handed a petition carrying twenty signatures from businessmen demanding the appointment of Hitler as Chancellor. [...] Eight of the "Keppler Circle", headed by Schacht and the Cologne banker Kurt von Schroeder, signed the petition. The results with indistrialists were disappointing. A single prominent indistrialist, Fritz Thyssen, signed. But he had for long made no secret of his sympathies for the National Socialists.

Thyssen was also fond of Hermann Goring, who apparently enjoyed puttering around his Berlin digs in "a red toga and pointed slippers" like some kind of bloated djinni swine, and who benefited personally from Thyssen's cheerful high livin' largesse.

Likewise, Thyssen contributed at least 100,000 Gold Marks to the early Nazi party efforts in Munich in the early 1920's. In 1931 Thyssen, who was charmed with the National Socialist German Workers Party's corporatist agenda, attended a get to meet Adolph dinner arranged by Goring. Thyssen, at the time, was the United Steel Works supervisory board chairman.
A sidenote: SA (Storm Trooper) membership totaled approximately 80,000 in early 1931. By the end of the summer of 1932 membership had swelled to approximately 450,000.

The Brownshirt House

David Clay Large, author of Where Ghosts Walked - Munich's Road to the Third Reich, describes Hitlers new party headquaters in Munich, financed by Fritz Thyssen.

In January 1931 the party moved into a bombastic new national headquarters, the Brown House. Formerly the Barlow Palace, the building was located on the fashionable Brienerstrasse. Purchased in 1930 with a loan from the industrialist Fritz Thyssen and a tax of two marks on every party member, the building had been thoroughly renovated by the pro-Nazi architect Professor Paul Ludwig Troost. A tour de force of Nazi vulgarity, it boasted a grand entrance with swastikas on either side of a giant bronze door. On the first floor was a Flag Hall containing banners from the early years of the party, including the sacred Blood Flag from the shooting during the Beer Hall Putsch. On the second floor were the offices of the party leadership, the national SA cheif, national treasurer, and - sanctum sanctorum - Hitler's private study.

By the late 1930's the Nazi offensive against the Jewish community had escalated and Thyssen was one of the industrialists who profited from the assault. As Ian Kershaw recounts:

Party activists in the Movement's various formations needed no encouragement to unleash further attacks on Jews and their property. 'Aryans' in business, from the smallest to the largest, looked to every opportunity to profit at the expense of their Jewish counterparts. Hundreds of Jewish businesses - including long-established private banks such as Warburg and Bleichroder - were now forced, often through gangster-like extortion, to sell out for a pittance to 'Aryan' buyers. Big business gained most. Giant concerns like Mannesmann, Krupp, Thyssen, Flick, and IG-Farben, and leading banks such as the Deutsche Bank and Dresdner Bank.

In any event, Thyssen's close involvement with the early Nazi Party and Adolph Hitler extends beyond any kind of conjectural peripheral business relationship some apologists might try to suggest, and was far more intimate than is even outlined in the Wasserman and Fitrakis article. One can only speculate as to the content of conversation that took place between members of the Bush family and Fritz Thyssen during those years 1934-1942. How'd ya like to be a fly on that oily wall. Yee-Gads.

Graham Cracker 

You know, my wife and I were out one night walking the street, when we saw a couple alighting from a gleaming Toyota Land Cruiser adorned with Bush/Cheney bumpersticker, just as a couple of black teenagers walked by. And what was interesting was that not only didn't they immediately leap back into the car and lock all the doors--they actually said "Hello" to them!

Imagine: conservatives acting like human beings. My spouse said, "I just wanted to run over and hug them!" I agree: We need to see more of that. After all, in a nation where so many media conservatives demonstrate complete cluelessness about minorities, it was great to see two conservatives acting like equality is a natural fact of human interaction. And it felt good, it did, to cheer these all-too-rare displays of basic human decency from a segment of the population that is beset on so many sides by obstacles to tolerance: gated communities, fear-mongering periodicals, white demagogues, unadmitted drug dependencies, religious hypocrisy, and let's face it, just pig-ugly ignorance.

We all want conservatives to succeed at being fully human. It's a basic human trait. And that's the beauty of keeping a constant mental tally of conservative behaviors the rest of us take for granted, because it also reminds us of our own superiority. I'm sure conservatives appreciate being recognized this way too.

What could be wrong with that?

Sunday, October 05, 2003

"I Did Not Have Sexual Relations With That Woman...." 

That was more or less a lie.

Lying is lying, we're told by the strict non-relativists among us. Since there are occasions when they turn into the most gelatinous of relativists, as for instance on the questions of Arnold and women, these non-relativists are completely capable of taking into account "context" when they need to.

Well, all lies have a context, and those who would be fair need to acknowledge context in all situations, but in spite of that, I can see with absolute non-relativistic certainty, all lies are not equal.

Atrios has an example of a bait and switch lie, among the more common committed by Bush & Co that is beyond comment.

The Tax Cuts Are Working: Hooray For Us And Thank-God! 

So says our President.

Buoyed by the first increase in the nation's employment since January, President Bush campaigned in the Middle West today, where he declared that his tax-relief policies would lead the country out of government deficits and toward wider prosperity for the American people.

"It's based upon this theory," Mr. Bush told an audience estimated at 1,000 in the Milwaukee convention hall. "When somebody has more money in their pocket, they're more likely to demand a good or a service; and in our society, when you demand a good or a service, somebody's going to produce the good or a service; and when somebody meets that demand with production, it means somebody is more likely to be able to find a job.

"The tax relief we passed, letting people keep more of their own money, is an essential ingredient to making sure people can find work in America," Mr. Bush said as his audience applauded

Gee, thanks for that wonderfully clear, not to say simple-minded explication of your theory of free market economics, but not so fast, Mr. President. Let's take a moment to check out what well-known, universally admired, distinctly left of center, and always witty economist, Max Sawicky has to say on the subject.

There is a new employment report out today, and the job growth number has finally turned around from negative to positive. 57,000 jobs were added in September, the first positive month since January


How big is 57,000? Not big enough to reduce the unemployment rate, since the labor force grows faster than this rate of change implies.

Still, up is better than down. Does it mean the tax cuts are working, or that they could work? No and no. The tax cuts have already failed, the Congress has failed, and the President has failed. All we're doing now is plumbing the depths.

One thing about the moral clarity of our President, you never have to wonder if this President might be aware of alternate views outside the particular box in which his own opinions are formed. The chances that any of the President's staff, who by his own admission do his reading for him, would ever have acquainted him with the work of a Max Sawicky can reliably be projected as nil. Not surprisingly considering sentiments like these:

The fiscal policy mandate for the Federal government is to do its utmost to alleviate job losses. We are now looking at four million jobs lost since the start of the recession. Job losses mean individual bankruptcy, mortgage foreclosure, eviction, repossession, loss of health insurance, homelessness, hunger, and other bad stuff.

The President and other tax cut supporters promised huge job gains as a result of their policies. Instead we are seeing huge shortfalls, relative to their promises.

How many of you can even begin to imagine this President having any concrete awareness of the connection between high unemployment and that list of social ills, raise your hands?

Nor is that connection something that your SCLM is going to be talking about the minute there are any continuing upticks in economic outlook. That is going to be our challenge in the next fifteen months.

I know I'm repeating myself, but this challenge is one that can't be repeated, analyzed, and acted upon too often.

Max's own think tank, Economic Policy Institute, has an important site, "Job Watch, Tracking jobs and wages" you should bookmark, and return to often to renew your arsenal of information about the exact dimensions of the failure of Bush's economic doctrines.

One could ask, what doctrines, since other than paying lip service to them, the only legtimate economic role for government the President appears to genuinely believe in is cutting taxes. So don't be surprised that there are more cuts in the (clearing of throat here) pipeline, and as ever, they're skewed to make sure the haves keep on having, in a manner worthy of robber barons.

The point here has nothing to do with anything as exotic as class warfare; if any statement that comments on economic inequities is to be taken as class warfare, then class warfare has been going in this country long before Marx was a gleam in the eye of Papa Marx. Max has one up by Benjamin Franklin; here at 'corrente,' we're planning to replace Monsieur Voltaire with some shockingly radical market-doubting comments by Thomas Jefferson, and yes, the sainted Lincoln.

The point, as John Edwards points out in most of his speeches, better than the other candidates do, even Dr. Dean, is the transfer of wealth from the middle class to the upper economic rungs of our society, by leveling progressive taxation on wages in multiple ways, many hidden, while reducing taxes on unearned income in ways just as hard to keep track of.

The Center on Budget Policy & Priorities has all the gruesome details here.

Study, remember, share.


Memo to Maureen Dowd:

There's a difference between removing a politician over unconfirmed groping allegations by known liars (to say nothing of consensual relations with a third, truthful one) and not voting for someone over admitted, worse assaults.

The Plame Game 

So Novak was on MTP this morning once again pinning responsibility on CIA for not warning him off naming Plame. CIA warned him, he said, it just didn't warn him strongly enough. It remained for Dana Priest, also on the program, to gently point out that CIA can't do so without blowing her cover and violating the very law at issue.

You'd think that Novak, with 40 years in journalism, would know this.

9 Eleven - Open 24/7 

Welcome to the Wal-Martocracy.
The bloated pecksniffian Burkha-Mart of bottom-feeding American corporate gluttony.
Hey, isn't gluttony one of the seven deadly sins? Yeah, I think it is. But that won't discourage the self anointed high pontifices of Sam Walton's white Christian Nation retail whale. Nope. Onward Christian family values Babbittry. Onward slackjawed holyrollin' frivol-sheep and pious patriotic wowsers of the fabulous Philistinoi Wal-Mart Word. Wasting their oxygen wandering up and down the antiseptic avenues of a fucking mindless labor rights perverting consumer junkie Gehenna.

Travel not with a ruthless man,
lest he weigh you down with calamity;
For he will go his own way straight,
and through his folly you will perish with him.
- Sirach, 8:1

Behold a white horse:

In a Washington Post article headlined 'Lobbyists Set Sights On Money-Making Opportunities in Iraq,' a partner at New Bridge Strategies, a company headed by Joe M. Allbaugh, President Bush's 2000 campaign manager and the former director of FEMA, said: "Getting the rights to distribute Procter & Gamble products would be a gold mine. One well-stocked 7-Eleven could knock out 30 Iraqi stores; a Wal-Mart could take over the country." Via Cursor.org Oct 2, 2003.

Feel the patriotic "small business" Republican love?
Welcome to 9-Eleven and Bush-Mart's "New Bridge" to the 21st century.
Dominus Capitalis Expendere.

Many thanks to reader "lea-p", commenting at NTodd's Dohiyi Mir blog, for pointing to Mark Morford's June 2003 SF-Gate op-ed titled "In A Wal-Mart Hell."

This is Wal-Mart. The glorious consumer mecca, the epic wonderland/wasteland of prefab landfill merch, not only the world's largest and most powerful retailer and the most aggressive snarling frightening happy-place marketer and quite possibly the most hideously overlit soul-draining monster empire you will ever know in your entire lifetime, but also the very multibillion-dollar pseudo-Christian kingdom that censors their offerings and refuses to sell certain music CDs and bans "risqué" beer-'n'-babes mags like Maxim and FHM and Stuff, because, you know, pretty girls are evil.

Read all of Morford's smote of the Wal-Mart beast here:
In A Wal-Mart Kind Of Hell; Censored magazines, banned music and pseudo-Christian fun at America's scariest retailer. Truely, if you have never read it, do so, you won't regret it.

And always read NTodd's regular column at Open Source Politics. Because OSP is one of the best blog shops on main street - and - NTP knows his inventory.

That is all. I'll be in the barn looking at dirty naked lady tractor calendars if anyone needs me.

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