Sunday, July 31, 2005

Santorum Polling Badly

Santorum apparently freaked out on national TeeVee today. The numbers must be getting to him:

July 22, 2005--The latest Rasmussen Reports survey shows that Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum is living up to his reputation as the most vulnerable incumbent at this point in the 2006 election cycle. Santorum trails Democrat Bob Casey, Jr by eleven percentage points, 52% to 41%.

Casey is viewed favorably by 49% of thestate’s likely voters while 27% have an unfavorable opinion. For Santorum, 44% say favorable and 43% unfavorable. Casey earns 85% of the vote from self-identified liberal voters and 62% from moderates. Santorum currently attracts 66% of the conservative vote.

Saturday, July 30, 2005

"Can't Recall" is new Denial Non Denial

Bush nominees seem to take cover under the "Can't Recall" denial with frequency these days. This week SCOTUS nominee did "not recall" having been a member of the Federalist Society despite WaPo evidence to the contrary. (see earlier post). And John Bolton did "not recall" being interviewed by the State Dept inspector general's office though records show he was interviewed on July 18, 2003 about the Niger uranium issue. However he told the Senate "no" he'd never been interviewed on his nomination forms.

This simpleton denial doesn't have the ambiguity and equovication of the traditional denial non denial but remember we are talking of the simpleton "say what we mean" Bush administration. No need to put effort into finessing the language to mislead or lie here when a simple "I can't remember" will do.

I guess if the Senate insists on seeing the 9 NSA intercepts the administration will tell us "My Dog Ate Them."

Friday, July 29, 2005

Scotty Won't Dignify this.....

thumbs up or extended middle finger??? The WH Press Corps wanted to know. But Scotty wouldn't dignify the question. Why not just say it was a thumbs up. What's the big deal. Or do they want the Pres to be seen as a tough guy flipping the bird??????
Here's the question and response:

Q Scott, last night on the Tonight Show, Jay Leno, who apparently is subbing for Johnnie, displayed a video of the President at the Capitol yesterday. In that video, the President walking away from the press lifts his hand and raises a finger. Mr. Leno interpreted it as, shall we say, a finger of hostility. Each of our fingers has a special purpose and meaning in life. (Laughter.) Can you tell us what finger it was he held up?

MR. McCLELLAN: Ken, I'm not even going to dignify that with much of a response. But if someone is misportraying something, that's unfortunate.

Q Well, it was not a finger of hostility?

MR. McCLELLAN: Ken, I was there with him, and I'm just not going to -- I'm not going to dignify that with a response. I mean, I haven't seen the video that you're talking about, but I know the way the President acts. And if someone is misportraying it, that's unfortunate.

Thursday, July 28, 2005

Costly Security in Iraq

Reports from the GAO and the Office of the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction show rebuilding efforts in Iraq are being short changed due to high security costs. Up to 36% of funds for rebuilding are being used for providing security on some projects while other projects are scrapped all together due to the prohibitive cost of securing the projects.
For instance, in March, the U.S. Agency for International Development canceled two electric power generation programs to provide $15 million in additional security elsewhere. On another project to rehabilitate electric substations, the Army Corps of Engineers decided that securing 14 of the 23 facilities would be too expensive and limited the entire project to nine stations. And in February, USAID added $33 million to cover higher security costs on one project, which left it short of money to pay for construction oversight, quality assurance and administrative costs.
"If we didn't have a bunch of extremists running around trying to derail the progress of the Iraqi government and the Iraqi people and the coalition, the amount of money spent on security would be far less," said Lt. Col. Barry Venable, a Pentagon spokesman. "It is a fact of life, one which cannot be wished away."

So the reports confirms that Flypaper and Reconstruction don't mix well. I wonder which policy has priority...Redevelopment or Bring Em On.

And the cost doesn't stop there. From USA Today. "Thirty percent of U.S. troops surveyed have developed stress-related mental health problems three to four months after coming home from the Iraq war, the Army's surgeon general said Thursday."
Truck drivers and convoy guards in Iraq are developing mental health problems in greater numbers than other troops, Ritchie said, suggesting the long hours on the road, constantly under threat of attack, are taking their toll.
Ritchie said mental health cases ebb and flow during a war, and suggested they are sometimes connected to a soldier's sense of success of the larger war effort.

Given security costs are making deep cuts in the success of reconstruction, a soldier's sense of a succeeding war effort must be challenged. Wingers continually whine about a lack of "good news reporting" but gov't reports confirm there's not much with which to work.

CAFTA Vote Fixed???
Bush is Flippin Thug.
Is All Lost?

This is serious. CAFTA passed last night by 2 votes. But this from Josh Marshall :
Rep. Rep. Charles Taylor (R-NC) has put out a statement saying that he voted "NO" on CAFTA last night but that the voting machine didn't register his vote.

I voted NO on the Dominican Republic-Central America Free Trade Agreement (DR-CAFTA) in the vote last night. I informed the Majority Leader and the Appropriations Chairman I was voting no, as I had informed my constituents I was voting no. Rep. Howard Coble and I voted "no" together. Due to an error, my "no" vote did not record on the voting machine. The Clerk's computer logs verified that I had attempted to vote, but it did not show my "nay". I am re-inserting my "No" vote in the record. But even with my NO vote re-inserted, the bill still passed.

This is outrageous. If we can't trust the voting machines in Congress all is truly lost.

Your Help Is Needed In WI
To Stop Gay Marriage Ban

The only cause to which I've asked people to donate is Action Wisconsin's fight against banning gay marriage in WI. It will be coming up in 2006. This group has been in the lead and is doing great work. The fight in WI is seen by many as the one that can turn the tide. I received the following today.
Please Consider Donating.

Earlier this month, the Human Rights Campaign and the Milwaukee-

based Brico Fund announced their $125,000 contribution to defeat

the ban on civil unions and marriage. This early investment is a

symbol of their confidence in Wisconsin's potential to defeat the

constitutional ban on civil unions and marriage in November 2006.

These organizations made this gift as a challenge to you to

match that amount to support our campaign.

So far, our supporters have responded by giving over $90,000.

We're $35,000 away from meeting our goal.

Your donation today can push us over the top.

Third Leaker?

The NYT reports that Walter Pincus of the WaPo was told of Valerie Plame by a third administration source .
In that exchange, Mr. Pincus says, "an administration official, who was talking to me confidentially about a matter involving alleged Iraqi nuclear activities, veered off the precise matter we were discussing and told me that the White House had not paid attention" to the trip to Niger by Joseph C. Wilson IV "because it was a boondoggle arranged by his wife, an analyst with the agency who was working on weapons of mass destruction."
Mr. Pincus has not identified his source to the public. But a review of Mr. Pincus's own accounts and those of other people with detailed knowledge of the case strongly suggest that his source was neither Karl Rove, Mr. Bush's top political adviser, nor I. Lewis Libby, the chief of staff to Vice President Dick Cheney, and was in fact a third administration official whose identity has not yet been publicly disclosed.

Remember Novak had 2 sources. One was Rove but the other is unknown.
Just how widespread was this smear/cover-up???

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Congressional Retirees Chosing K Street
Over Elder Statesman Role

A new study's findings confirms a troubling pattern in American government that upon retirement more and more former Congress members are moving on to lobbyists careers. Less than 20 years ago this was practically unheard of as lobbying was seen as sleezy and didn't pay too well. That changed beinning in the 1990's and dramatically so since 1998.
From WaPo:
Congress Watch reports "43 percent of the 198 House and Senate members who left government to join private life since 1998 have registered to lobby. Of the 36 senators who left during that period, half have joined the lobbying ranks."

A Route to K Street
A Route to K Street

I believe our government would be far better off if K Street did not exist. Rather its power and influence only grows and widens as they are able to shell out for these Uber-Lobbyists who will shill for its bought causes. This is troubling as these uber-lobbyists have greater access to power. They have some cache as former Senators or Congressman though as this trend continues that will be eroded. How can groups of Americans or even individuals Americans compete with this juggernaut? They can't.

And even more troubling is that serving as a representative of the people is now becoming a stepping stone to the riches of lobbydom.
  • How does that payoff influence Congressman while IN office?
  • How much does it influence the decision to even RUN for public office?
  • Just who is representing US anymore?

As we see this erosion of democracy or the rise of oligarchy not only will we long for the days when retired elder statesman merely offered sage wisom and guidance for the taking .....we will wrestle with how do we take back our government and regain a voice in America.

UPDATE: K Street is breathing life back into CAFTA. And Majority Whip Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) is calling on K street to get to work on CAFTA.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Latest on Rove Leak

Walter Pincus and Jim Vande Hei of WaPo have another good article on the unfolding investigation. Pincus appears to have good sources close to or part of the investigation. He reports it's unclear if Fitzgerald has uncovered any wrongdoing and all that can be certain is who was interviewed, what they were asked and their responses. Fitzgerald has interviewed a number of CIA and State Dept officials.
There were 3 areas of particular interest.

People interviewed by Fitzgerald include:
former CIA director George J. Tenet and deputy director John E. McLaughlin, former CIA spokesman Bill Harlow, State Department officials, and even a stranger who approached columnist Robert D. Novak on the street.

The "stranger" is a strange story which just shows Washington is a small town.
...the grand jury -- acting on a tip from Wilson -- has questioned a person who approached Novak on Pennsylvania Avenue on July 8, 2003, six days before his column appeared in The Post and other publications
Novak told the person that Wilson's wife worked for the CIA as a specialist in weapons of mass destruction and had arranged her husband's trip to Niger, Wilson said. Unknown to Novak, the person was a friend of Wilson and reported the conversation to him, Wilson said.

The other point of interest involves Judith Miller and it appears Fitzgerald sees her as key to the investigation and wants testimony on her conversations with a specific, though un-named, Bush administration official between July 6 and July 13, 2003.

Finally in regard to the State Dept memo and the Air Force One flight that I've covered a great deal here..... Pincus revealed that Carl Ford Jr. appeared before the Grand Jury. In a previous post I alluded to one of 3 State Dept officials (Carl Ford, Larry Wilkerson, Marc Grossman) as the likely "former administraion official" reported to have seen Ari Fleisher reading the critical memo on AF1. Perhaps it was Ford but I doubt he was aboard AF1. Ford was asked to prepare the memo and then had it transmitted to Powell " via the White House operations center." If Ford were travelling with Powell this transmission it seems would not have been necessary. He would have just hand delivered it. Also as Assistant Secetary for Intelligence and Research he probably was called to testify on intelligence issues. It would appear Ford is not the likely "former administraion official". That leaves Wilkerson and Grossman ( and possibly Powell).

And I still believe Miller's source was Bolton.

This story is coming out now in drips and drabs and Pincus has been doing some fine investigative journalism.

Jihad Travel Guide:
The Ins and Outs of Flypaper

Spiegel Online has a chilling story on a recently found website that provides directions to jihadists on how to enter Iraq.
Found recently on the Internet, the brochure is a travel guide for the jihad, a how-to for the mujahedeen. Entitled "This is the Way to Iraq: To All Who Want to Join the Mujahedeen in the Land of Two Rivers," the pamphlet was written by "The Islam Doctor." It's goal: to help would-be terrorists overcome the difficult task of sneaking into the country. It was posted on a Web site affiliated with al-Qaida.

The route in is through Syria and potential recruits are told to be ready for anything.
From Syria, the journey leads into Iraq. Intermediaries escort in only "small groups of fighters" at a time, meaning it could take awhile before one's turn comes. And once in Iraq, obedience is paramount. "Don't ever say 'I will never carry out a suicide attack' or 'due to special circumstances I can only undertake this work' ... !" From the get go, recruits must be prepared for anything.

Flypaper policy indeed!

Rove Polling Badly

A USA TODAY/CNN/Gallup Poll taken Friday through Sunday finds American's view Rove:

25%----Never Heard of Him

50% ----Are following the story closely
25%-----Not following the story at all

25%-----Rove broke the law
37%-----Rove did something unethical but not illegal
15%-----Rove didn't do anything seriously wrong

40%----Rove should be Fired by Bush
39%----Rove should Not be Fired

49%----Rove should Resign
31%----Rove should not resign

I am surprised that 50% are following the story closely. I'd thought it would have been less. And that 49% think he should at the least resign does not bode well for Bush. Just wait until the indictments.

Can you say Indictment Autumn aka Frogmarch Fall!!!!

A Song for Karl

Leak Investigation Initially NOT About
Identity Protections Act

Newsweek reports that the initial request by the CIA for an investigation of the Plame leak never mentioned the 1982 Intelligence Identities Act. Rather it appears:
Fitzgerald may be looking at other laws barring the disclosure of classified info or the possibility that current or former White House aides made false statements or obstructed justice.

Newsweek also reports the agreement made with Tim Russert for his testimony:
The deal was not, as many assumed, for Russert's testimony about what Libby told him: it focused on what Russert told Libby.
This now appears significant: in pursuing Russert's testimony, Fitzgerald was testing statements by White House aides—reportedly including Libby—that they learned about Wilson's wife from reporters, not classified documents.

OK so appears Tim must have felt he was maintaining his journalist ethics because he wasn't revealing what a source disclosed to him. He was just talking about himself.

It appears all the Freeper's focus on whether Rove "said Plame's name" is becoming more inane by the moment as it is looking more and more that at issue are possible indictments for perjury, obstruction and/or conspiracy which could be more serious and far reaching.

Monday, July 25, 2005

US Study: Iraqi Police Training Should Be
Immediately Handed Over to the Iraqis.

CNN reports that study conducted by Dept of Defense and State found poor screening procedures by US forces has resulted in infiltration of Iraqi police forces by insurgents.
The 100-page report went on to say there was "sufficient evidence to conclude" that insurgents were "among the ranks of the Iraq police service."

1600 Iraqi police have been killed this past year. The Pentagon says there are are 63000 fully trained police and the US has set a goal of 135000 trained police by the end of 2006.

"This emphasis on numbers overshadows the attention that should be given to the qualitative performance of those trained," the report said.

"There is a perception that training programs have produced 'cannon fodder' -- numbers of nominal policemen incapable of defending themselves, let alone the Iraqi public."
Another key judgment in the report said Iraqi police training should be immediately handed over to the Iraqis. Otherwise, the coalition will be "destined to fall short in helping to create an effective police force."

Video Blogging Experiment

This is a first time experiment in video blogging.
Click image above or......
Here for CNN International video of Riots in India.

Andy Card Got a 12 Hour Head Start

AG Alberto Gonzales admitted yesterday on Face the Nation that he essentially gave a heads-up and 12 hour head start to Chief of Staff, Andy Card:

Mr. GONZALES: When I was the counsel, it was always my practice to work very, very
closely and carefully with investigators and to seek permission with respect to every step that I
took with respect to an investigation. In this particular case, we were notified by the
Department of Justice late one evening. I guess it was about 8:00. And I specifically had our
lawyers go back to the Department of Justice lawyers and ask them, `Do you want us to notify
the staff now, immediately, or would it be OK to notify the staff early in the morning?' And we
were advised, `Go ahead and notify the staff early in the morning. That would be OK.' And
again, most of the staff had gone home. No one knew about the investigation. And we made...
SCHIEFFER: Well, let me just ask you the obvious question, Mr. Attorney General. Did you
tell anybody at the White House, `Get ready for this, here it comes'?
Mr. GONZALES: I told one person in the White House that--of the notification and...
Mr. GONZALES: ...then immediately--I told the chief of staff. And then immediately the next
morning, I told the president. And shortly thereafter, there was a notification sent out to all the
members of the White House staff.

And just what did Card do with those 12 hours?

But Did Novak Tell THIS to the Grand Jury?

The Freedom of Information Center blog has found a July 21, 2003 New York Newsday article which has the following quote from Bob Novak:
Novak, in an interview, said his sources had come to him with the information. "I didn't dig it out, it was given to me," he said. "They thought it was significant, they gave me the name and I used it."

Well that is in direct contradiction to this from the NYT:
"White House Deputy Chief of Staff Karl Rove told Fitzgerald that he first learned the identity of the CIA agent from syndicated columnist Robert Novak, according a person familiar with the matter.

Update: Bolton as Possible Miller Source

In a previous post on July 7, I speculated that John Bolton may be the source that Judith Miller is protecting.
The Washington Note has a scoop seems to add some veracity to my theory:
TWN has just learned from a highly placed source -- and in the right place to know -- that John Bolton was a regular source for Judith Miller's New York Times WMD and national security reports.The source did not have any knowledge on whether Bolton was one of Miller's sources on the Valerie Plame story she was preparing, but argues that he was a regular source otherwise.

As I concluded in that previous post:
And this would be huge as this moves beyond perjury or outing a CIA operative to Conspiracy with the WH stonewalling on the intercepts to cover Bolton as the leaker. It's always the cover-up as they say......

Sunday, July 24, 2005

Can't Anyone in this Administration Tell the Truth?

From WaPo:
Supreme Court nominee John G. Roberts Jr. has said that he has no memory of belonging to the Federalist Society, but his name appears in the influential, conservative legal organization's 1997-1998 leadership directory.

Newspapers had reported last week that Roberts was a member of the conservative group and the WH called them to say Roberts had no memory of belonging to the group. The papers then printed corrections. However WaPo article continues:

Over the weekend, The Post obtained a copy of the Federalist Society Lawyers' Division Leadership Directory, 1997-1998. It lists Roberts, then a partner at the law firm Hogan & Hartson, as a member of the steering committee of the organization's Washington chapter and includes his firm's address and telephone number.

Last Wednesday, the day after Bush announced Roberts's nomination, the officials working on the nomination asked the White House press office to call each news organization that had reported Roberts's membership to tell them that he did not recall being a member. Asked yesterday if the White House would have done so knowing about the leadership directory, Perino said "Yes."

This "Adults" administration's idea of truth is equivalent to that of a 5 year old.

UPDATE: Who Was Not on Air Force One

I have seen speculation on what State Department Staff were on Air Force One.
Let's start with who was NOT on AF1:
Richard Armitage
was NOT on Air Force One for the trip to Africa. He was in the US as seen in this State Department Daily Appointments Schedule for Wednesday, July 9, 2003:

Richard Boucher was NOT on Air Force One. He conducted a Press Briefing in Washington DC on July 7, 2003.

Yet to be determined (and of particular interest) is if the following State Dept officials were aboard:

Carl Ford Jr. then Assistant Secretary of State for Intelligence and Research
Marc Grossman then Under Secretary of State and Public Affairs
Larry Wilkerson then Powell's Chief of Staff

Send any tips on the above.

Saturday, July 23, 2005

Air Force One Leakers:
And Who Told?

Secretary Powell speaks to Peace Corps volunteers at the Mokolodi Game Reserve in Botswana, July 10, 2003. He was visiting the reserve as part of his and President Bush's July 7-12, 2003 trip to Africa. State Department Photo/Craig Kelly.
And that is Andy Card and Dan Barlett in the background.

There is much speculation as to who may have been on Air Force One to leak the State Deptartment memo to Rove and Libby.
From Needlenose:
I wrote in my previous post about the possibility of Colin Powell being the anonymous "senior administration official" (SAO) who told the Washington Post about seeing two White House officials call six or more reporters with information about Valerie Plame Wilson working for the CIA. Also, I mentioned that other bloggers (Digby and Weldon Berger of BTC News) were theorizing about the same question.

From a storyline point of view, I'd love for the Post's anonymous SAO to have been Powell (and I still think those quotes sound like him). But if Mike Allen, who cowrote the original story, says it was a "senior White House official," then I have to assume it's someone who works in the White House, not a Cabinet department. And as far as I can tell, Fleischer, Bartlett, and Card were the only three "senior White House officials" with Bush in Africa.Assuming that neither Fleischer nor Bartlett blew the whistle on themselves, Card is left as the only remaining option.

But from Bloomberg we learn:
On the flight to Africa, Fleischer was seen perusing the State Department memo on Wilson and his wife, according to a former administration official who was also on the trip.

So I agree with Needlenose that Fleisher and either Card or Bartlett are most likely the leakers with Bartlett more likely given :

On July 22, 2003, White House communications director Dan Bartlett and Deputy National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley briefed reporters on CIA memos urging the deletion of a line in a forthcoming presidential speech asserting that Iraq had recently sought significant quanitities of uranium from Africa.

I don't know that I would see Card as the one who has blown the whislte. Note Bloomberg says a "former administration official" and Card is not a former official and I think there is a reason Bloomberg says "administration official" and not White House official.

So does this take us back to Powell???

I think Yes and No. I don't see Powell getting directly involved but I can see Powell's former Cheif of Staff, Larry Wilkerson doing so.
So who is Larry Wilkerson? Well here are a few items that tell me he's just the kind of guy to possibly talk:

  • And just before speech is to be given: Dick Cheney's chief of staff, Lewis “Scooter” Libby, attempts to telephone Colin Powell's chief of staff, Larry Wilkerson, in order to persuade Powell to link Saddam Hussein to al-Qaeda and include the widely discredited claim (see October 21, 2002) that Mohammed Atta had met in Prague with an Iraqi intelligence officer in April 2001 (see April 8, 2001). Wilkerson refuses to take the call.

  • And more quotes from GQ interview: Mr Wilkerson even makes jibes at the war record of Mr Bush's inner circle, comparing their desire for military conflict with their reluctance to serve as young men: "I make no bones about it. I have some reservations about people who have never been in the face of battle, so to speak, who are making cavalier decisions about sending men and women out to die." He then goes on to name former neo-conservative adviser, Richard Perle. He said: "Thank God [he] tendered his resignation and no longer will be even a semi-official person in this administration."

  • And it was Wilkerson who first put it out that Powell was going to retire.

  • And Wilkerson spoke to Senate Bolton hearing investigators : Wilkerson questioned Bolton's leadership abilities and disputed the Bush administration's often-stated view that the undersecretary of state is a brilliant diplomat, committee sources have said. And more: "But do I think John Bolton would make a good ambassador to the United Nations? Absolutely not," Mr. Wilkerson said. "He is incapable of listening to people and taking into account their views. He would be an abysmal ambassador."
But the big question which I am still trying to discern and could prove me wrong .........Was Wilkerson on Air Force One????????
So back to the last post.....Please send any tips on who was on Air Force One , particularly if Larry Wilkerson was on the trip.

Friday, July 22, 2005

Who Was on This Plane?

It appears Rove was not on Air Force One to see the Top Secret State Deptartment memo. It is beleived that the leak of Valerie Plame began on Air Force One with this memo. So who was on this plane?????

Talk Left reports:

The Chicago Tribune (March 5, 2004, scroll down) reported on the subpoenas and the fact that the White House has refused to release the names of those on the Africa trip to the media. News reports have put Condi Rice, Colin Powell, Ari Fleisher and Andrew Card on the trip. Also, there were three planes that went on the trip: Air Force One, a second plane with reporters and other White House officials, and a third plane.

Talk Left cites an article that says there were 76 aboard the plane. So determining who they were is now a part of solving this mystery.

Anyone interested???

Want to google articles and photos?????

Identify staff in the photos?????

For example who are the staff in photo below with Rice and Powell??????

Send me any photos and tips for inclusion here. Let's get at this heh.

Who Was On The Trip (so far):
  1. George W. Bush
  2. Laura Bush
  3. Barbara Bush
  4. Andy Card
  5. Ari Fleisher
  6. Dan Bartlett
  7. Colin Powell
  8. Conoleezza Rice
  9. Mr. Dickens
  10. Walter Kansteiner

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Rove, Scooter: Liar, Liar

Bloomberg will be releasing an article (can be seen at Think Progress) that Rove and Scooter Libby are being investigated for perjury in regard to their grand jury testimony:

Lewis “Scooter'’ Libby, Vice President Dick Cheney’s chief of staff, told special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald that he first learned from NBC News reporter Tim Russert of the identity of CIA agent Valerie Plame, the wife of former ambassador and Bush administration critic Joseph Wilson. Russert has testified before a federal grand jury that he didn’t tell Libby of Plame’s identity.

White House Deputy Chief of Staff Karl Rove told Fitzgerald that he first learned the identity of the CIA agent from syndicated columnist Robert Novak, who was first to report Plame’s name and connection to Wilson. Novak, according to a source familiar with the matter, has given a somewhat different version to the special prosecutor.

It's always the cover up.

That's Mrs. Greenspan to You Buddy

Andrea Mitchell was forcibly removed from a photo op with Condoleezza Rice and Sudan's President Omar el-Bashir after questioning him about his involvement in the country's violence.There was a shoving match even before Mitchell had entered the room.
Sudanese officials already didn't want her there. Mitchell said she was shoved as she entered a room where Rice and el-Bashir were posing for pictures. Reporters were only allowed in at the State Department's insistence, and were told not to ask questions.

Ah but Mitchell fired away anyway:
"Can you tell us why the violence is continuing?" Mitchell asked, as a Sudanese official said "no, no, no, please."

"Can you tell us why the government is supporting the militias?" she asked.

After getting no reply from el-Bashir, she asked, "Why should Americans believe your promises?"

Now if only she would ignore White House photo op protocol and ask Bush of Rove leaking a CIA agent's identity:
"Can you tell us why the cover-up is continuing?
"Can you tell us why your government supports the take-down of CIA agents?
"Why should Americans believe your promise to fire Rove"

Monday, July 11, 2005

Lessons for Scotty
from WH Press Secretary Zeigler

From todays White House Press conference:

QUESTION: Scott, this is ridiculous. The notion that you're going to stand before us, after having commented with that level of detail, and tell people watching this that somehow you've decided not to talk.

You've got a public record out there. Do you stand by your remarks from that podium or not?

MCCLELLAN: I'm well aware, like you, of what was previously said. And I will be glad to talk about it at the appropriate time. The appropriate time is when the investigation...

Perhaps Scott McClellan should try this line from Nixon's embattled press secretary Ron Zeigler:
"This is the operative statement," Mr. Ziegler told reporters at one point. "The others are inoperative."

The good news for Scotty...Zeigler was one of the few top Nixon administration officials who was not indicted in the Watergate scandal.
The bad news.......Zeigler died at the fairly young age of 63 of a heart attack.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

Plame Hotting Up:
Bolton Involvement?

This from the Huffington Post:
According to the players, the key to whether this story has real legs -- and whether it will spell the end of Rove -- is determining intent. And a key to that is whether there was a meeting at the White House where Rove and Scooter Libby discussed what to do with the information they had gotten from the State Department about Valerie Plame

This is hotting up (as Phil Liggett would say) like a Tour de France sprint finish. Remember John Bolton was Under Secretary, Arms Control and International Security at the State Deptartment from05/11/2001 to 06/01/2005. Maybe there is a larger reason the White House was stonewalling on those NSA intercepts.

This from the Left Coaster on June 6 is very ominous in light of what has happened in the Miller case :
The story has gone under the radar screen since the first report by Jehl, either because of the usual White House clamp down (remember that the sources for the original story were pro-Bolton and anti-Bolton administration insiders), or because the original story was a misdirection attempt to get the media off the trail of something even more onerous. I had thought with every passing day of no news on this story that the misdirection angle was the likely reason. Then last Thursday afternoon, I received a tip that the real story may not be the export ban angle after all, but rather something more damaging to Bolton: he requested the NSA intercepts to spy on his co-workers.

Appears Bolton was interested in one intercept concerning Armitage and Powell but this finally from the Left Coaster link:
....there looms a bigger question surrounding the remaining 9 NSA intercepts that the White House is refusing to release to the Senate: who else was Bolton spying upon?

Perhaps Valerie Plame??????

Yesterday Left Coaster says when looking at Plame look towards Bolton. He puts forward:
  • When I take a look at the strings of yarn on the Plame case and Bolton’s NSA intercepts, I think there is another reason why the White House doesn’t want to turn over the intercepts, which speaks to why Bolton hasn’t been recess-appointed by now, in light of the revelation just late last week that the Plame case was breaking into full view.
  • It should be noted that as of late, Miller has turned her guns to where else, the UN,---snip---In fact, Miller requested the UN assignment and has been doing the bidding of the Bolton and Cheney wing by producing a string of anti-UN pieces since that assignment.
  • And one last thing: how tight are Bolton and Novak? Well, Novak is a Bolton cheerleader, and is arguing that the White House bypass the Senate and do the recess appointment.
So what if Bolton were a source to Miller and she told Rove about Plame? According to WaPo "sources close to the investigation say there is evidence in some instances that some reporters may have told government officials -- not the other way around." Then Rove took the ball from there. Sounds fanciful but with this administration perhaps not. And this would be huge as this moves beyond perjury or outing a CIA operative to Conspiracy with the WH stonewalling on the intercepts to cover Bolton as the leaker. It's always the cover-up as they say......
With this perhaps unfolding I'd be crashing a bike too!

Get ready for Gonzales

From The Washington Times:
Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales has been making the rounds of conservative groups in Washington lately, but key leaders remain opposed to putting him on the Supreme Court.

Although several conservatives said privately that Mr. Gonzales appeared to be lobbying for support, no one agreed to say that on the record and several people said flatly that Mr. Gonzales' visits with conservatives are unrelated to the Supreme Court opening.

In addition to the Heritage Foundation, Mr. Gonzales appeared recently at a weekly lunch hosted by Mr. Weyrich, a weekly meeting hosted by Grover Norquist of Americans for Tax Reform and other gatherings of conservatives. Mr. Gonzales also appeared on the conservative radio talk show hosted by Laura Ingraham and took a high-profile trip to visit troops in Iraq for the Fourth of July.

Combine that with this from WaPo:
President Bush tried Wednesday to quell the conservative criticism engulfing Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales, his longtime adviser, and scolded special interest groups for exploiting the debate over the next Supreme Court justice to raise funds.

And this also from WaPo:
Further fueling the debate over the potential nominee, Senate Minority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.) offered qualified words of support for Gonzales.

I would say the nominee will be Alberto Gonzales

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Buying an Ambassadorship

Spiegel has this article on how Bush supporters are becoming ambassadors including William Robert Timken, an Ohio industrialist, who will assume the ambassador post in Germany in the fall.
In the coming months, Rangers, Pioneers (starting at $100,000) and Super Rangers ($300,000 and up) will be beginning their new jobs as diplomats all over the world. According to the most recent count, 30 of the Republican Party's biggest donors have been rewarded with posts in sun-drenched island nations like Mauritius and the Bahamas, or in prestigious European capitals.

Indeed, according to the conservative political magazine National Journal, "Bush's first 35 political appointees to the diplomatic corps gave an average of $141,110 to him and other Republican campaigns and committees during 1999-2000." The practice is continuing during his second term, and even members of Bush's new administration are beginning to doubt whether using successful fundraisers as diplomats is such a good idea, especially in light of the current global mood.

More on Timken:

Timken also makes his money manufacturing parts for combat helicopters and jets. According to press reports, Timken has been awarded 60 percent of the Pentagon's no-bid contracts for these types of parts ever since Bush Junior first came into office.

No bid contracts AND an has certainly been good times for the Have Mores. Who says a $140,000 doesn't go far anymore.