Sunday, July 31, 2005

New Time piece: Did Rove lie?

Check out Time's latest bit on the CIA leak probe.
As the investigation tightens into the leak of the identity of covert CIA operative Valerie Plame, sources tell TIME some White House officials may have learned she was married to former ambassador Joseph Wilson weeks before his July 6, 2003, Op-Ed piece criticizing the Administration. That prospect increases the chances that White House official Karl Rove and others learned about Plame from within the Administration rather than from media contacts. Rove has told investigators he believes he learned of her directly or indirectly from reporters, according to his lawyer.

Catching up on a Sunday morning

Been a busy last few days for me, so let's play catch-up on some items. (Unfortunately, Frank Rich is on vacaction this week.)

A post by Michael on AmericaBlog notes the damaging series of new bills Bush is getting through the GOP-controlled Congress.

Will Bush appoint Bolton during the recess? This'll be fun. Thirty-six Senators have asked him not to.

Love in Action is a group much in the news lately about its program to make young gays straight. But Wayne Besen offers a letter from one of the group's founders, who now says the program "shatters lives."

A fascinating piece in the NY Times Saturday (buried in the print edition):
Senior military lawyers lodged vigorous and detailed dissents in early 2003 as an administration legal task force concluded that President Bush had authority as commander in chief to order harsh interrogations of prisoners at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, newly disclosed documents show.

Friday, July 29, 2005

The Ohio election irregularities haunt Matt Taibbi

Interesting column in the NY Press by Matt Taibbi. Check it out. Here's some good stuff:

Here's the thing about Ohio. Until you really look at it, you won't understand its significance, which is this: the techniques used in this particular theft have the capacity to alter elections not by dozens or hundreds or even thousands of votes, but by tens of thousands.

And if we ignore this now, we're putting proven methods for easily ripping off major elections in the hands of the same party that had no qualms whatsoever about lying its way into a war in Iraq. In the hands of a merely corrupt political party, a bad election or two would be no big deal. But these clowns we have in power now imagine themselves to be revolutionaries, and their psychology is a lot like that of the leadership of Enron, pre-meltdown—with each passing day that they get away with it, they become more convinced by a delusion of righteousness.

Obviously people who have followed this story before know the basic facts already, but for those who ignored Ohio until now, here's a very brief greatest hits of Ohio irregularities:

• As was the case in Florida, the secretary of state (Kenneth Blackwell, in Ohio), who is in charge of elections, was also the co-chair of the state's Bush-Cheney campaign.

• In a technique reminiscent of the semantic gymnastics of pre-Civil Rights Act election officials, Blackwell replaced the word "jurisdiction" with "precinct" in an electoral directive that would ultimately result in perhaps tens of thousands of provisional ballots—votes cast mainly by low-income residents—being disallowed.

• Blackwell initially rejected thousands of voter registrations because they were printed on paper that was, according to him, the wrong weight.

• In conservative, Bush-friendly Miami County, voter turnout was an Uzbekistan-esque 98.55 percent.

• In Warren county, election officials locked down the administration building and prevented reporters from observing the ballot counting, citing a "terrorist threat" (described as being a "10" on a scale of 1 to 10) that had been reported to them by the FBI. The FBI made no such report. Recounts conducted during this lockdown resulted in increased votes for Bush.

• In Franklin County, 4,258 votes were cast for Bush in a precinct where there were only 800 registered voters.

And so on. There are dozens more such glitches, which taken together suggest that the exit polls in Ohio, showing Kerry the victor, were probably accurate. But this is just a primer. More facts next week, plus an interview with Sherrod Brown—and a guide to what to do next.

Of course, we already know Bush stole the 2000 election, so what's another election?

Jim Wallis answers Joe LeConte: Must all religion be right?

From the Sojourners newsletter (

Joe Loconte is on a mission to make sure all religion in America (or at least the political expressions thereof) will be dependably right-wing, like his Washington, D.C.-based Heritage Foundation. Any moderate or, worse, "progressive" religious deviation from the Republican Party line is anathema to Joe, who feels called to stamp out such heresies.

In his recent Wall Street Journal commentary, "From Gospel to Government," published July 1, 2005, Loconte, a Heritage Foundation fellow, derides all such progressive religious groups as having "no obvious grassroots constituency," as being "composed mostly of mainline clergy and church elites who are often culturally out of step with the rank and file," and as people who "treat traditional religion with either suspicion or outright contempt." Wow. That certainly is true for the "secular fundamentalists" who exercise the same undue influence over the Democratic Party as the "religious fundamentalists" do over the Republican Party, but certainly not for orthodox Catholic and evangelical Christians (like me) who simply don't share Loconte's right-wing politics. It's hard to find ourselves in Loconte's diatribes.

He charges that such non-Religious Right heretics "leap directly from the Bible to contemporary politics" without the proper theological and political nuances. Interesting. Wasn't it Religious Right leaders who in a Nashville "Justice Sunday" event said that Christians who don't support all of President Bush's judicial nominees are not really "people of faith?" "Imagine my surprise," said an evangelical seminary professor from Asbury, Kentucky, at an alternative religious service when he realized that despite his biblically orthodox upbringing, he was not really a Christian unless he backed the Republican president's choices for the federal court. In his op-ed, Loconte attacked "religious progressives" for being "allied" with George Soros and MoveOn.Org when I know of no connections to those liberal funders and groups that are as direct as the Religious Right's ties to right-wing funders and think tanks such as Loconte's Heritage Foundation. Perhaps a good test of religious independence would be to examine how critical faith leaders and groups are of their natural political allies. I'd love to compare the religious left and right on that score.

Loconte referenced the "best-selling book God's Politics" that I wrote and accused me of deriving from Isaiah a "blueprint for government welfare spending." On that book tour (in which we spoke to the constituency Loconte claims none of us have), we reached nearly 70,000 people face to face over 21 weeks in 53 cities and reached millions more through the media. What I found was a silent majority of moderate and progressive religious people who don't feel represented by the shrill tones and ideological agenda of the Religious Right, nor the disdainful attitudes toward religion from the secular left. But they do feel that poverty is a moral value and religious issue (there are 3,000 verses on the poor in the Bible), that protecting the environment (otherwise known as God's creation) is also matter of good faith and stewardship, and that the ethics of war - whether we go to war, when we go to war, and whether we tell the truth about going to war - are profoundly religious matters. The people I met don't see federal spending as the only answer to poverty (and neither do I), but they do believe that budgets are moral documents and that all of society is responsible (public, private, and civil society sectors - including faith-based organizations) for working together to overcome poverty.

In a recent National Public Radio commentary, Loconte accused all churches and religious groups who had questions about the war in Iraq of being hopelessly utopian pacifists, and invoked the example of theologian Reinhold Niebuhr's opposition to Hitler as the more realistic path. The problem is that Pope John Paul II, who opposed the war in Iraq, and the current Pope Benedict are not pacifists. Nor are the majority of church bodies around the world who studied the rationales for the war in Iraq (including the majority of evangelical churches worldwide) and concluded it did not fit the traditional just war categories. And Niebuhr, suggest many of his students (including his theologian daughter), would have been quite alarmed at the Bush theology in the war on terrorism, which too easily sees our adversaries as evil and us as good, denying the evil that runs through all human hearts and nation states.

So what's Joe's problem? I think he's worried about what I saw and felt around the country as I met the constituency he hopes doesn't exist. The monologue of the Religious Right is now over, and a new dialogue has just begun on the application of faith and values to politics. Joe wants the Religious Right's monologue to continue and to make sure that no serious dialogue about faith and politics in America gets a chance to really begin. His attacks do, however, serve one useful purpose. He gives credible evidence to the subtitle of God's Politics: Why the Right gets it wrong and the Left doesn't get it.

Thursday, July 28, 2005

Roberts helped Bush get the presidency in 2000

Interesting wrinkle about the John Roberts SCOTUS nomination uncovered by the Miami Herald: He had a significant role in helping Bush get the nod from the Supreme Court for the presidency in 2000. Check it out.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

NY Times Headlines Added to Cephasworld

Now you can just scroll to the bottom of the page every time you visit Cephasworld to catch up with the latest political headlines from the New York Times. On your way down there, do stop by the Google ads and click on a few. Enjoy.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Good stuff from Froomkin

Check out Dan Froomkin's "White House Briefing" column from the Washington Post online. Lots of interesting stuff there, and tons o' links.

Sunday, July 24, 2005

Where is the black church going?

John Fountain writes movingly in the Washington Post of his disconnect with the black church, which these days seems to be more about money than service. Of course, it's not just the black church that's become materialistic--it's a pervasive problem in Christianity, and I think it started with Reaganomics and the "me-first" individualism it unleashed in society. Here's just a bit:
The church's finger seems farthest from the pulse of those black men who seem to be most lost and drifting in a destructive sea of fatalism and pathology, with no immediate sign of the shore or of search and rescue crews. Without the church, most of those men are doomed. But it seems clear to me that the church does not -- will not -- seek us black men out, or perhaps even mourn our disappearance from the pews.

Instead, it seems to have turned inward. It seems to exist for the perpetuation of itself -- for the erecting of grandiose temples of brick and mortar and for the care of pastors and the salaried administrative staff. Not long ago, a preacher friend confided: "The black church is in a struggle for its collective soul -- to find itself in an age when it is consumed by the God of materialism."

This preoccupation with the material world is pervasive, and has bred a culture that has left a trail of blood and tears in black neighborhoods across the country with little collective outcry from the church. Still, it's one thing for the world to be ensnared by the trappings of materialism -- but the church?

I am incensed by Mercedes-buying preachers who live in suburban meadows far from the inner-city ghettos they pastor, where they bid parishioners to sacrifice in the name of God. I am angered by the preacher I know, and his wife and co-pastor, who exacted a per diem and drove luxury vehicles, theirmodest salariesboosted by tithes and offerings from poor folks in a struggling congregation of families, a number of them headed by single women. This at a time when the church didn't own a single chair and was renting a building to hold worship services.

I wonder why, despite billions of dollars taken from collection plates -- much of it from the poor -- in my own denomination, I see few homes for the elderly, few recreation centers, little to no church-financed housing development and few viable church-operated businesses that might employ members or generate some tangible measure of return on years of investment. I scratch my head at the multimillion-dollar edifice a local church recently erected and wonder if that is the most responsible stewardship for a church in a community filled with poor families.

Saturday, July 23, 2005

NYT x 3 on Rovegate

Sunday's New York Times features three major pieces on the Rove/Libby scandal:

First, Frank Rich's op-ed. It's hot stuff, you really need to read it all. But here's the first two grafs:
PRESIDENT BUSH'S new Supreme Court nominee was a historic first after all: the first to be announced on TV dead center in prime time, smack in the cross hairs of "I Want to Be a Hilton." It was also one of the hastiest court announcements in memory, abruptly sprung a week ahead of the White House's original timetable. The agenda of this rushed showmanship - to change the subject in Washington - could not have been more naked. But the president would have had to nominate Bill Clinton to change this subject.

When a conspiracy is unraveling, and it's every liar and his lawyer for themselves, the story takes on a momentum of its own. When the conspiracy is, at its heart, about the White House's twisting of the intelligence used to sell the American people a war - and its desperate efforts to cover up that flimflam once the W.M.D. cupboard proved bare and the war went south - the story will not end until the war really is in its "last throes."

Next, Scott Shane on how the White House went into attack mode after Wilson's op-ed piece:

If believed, Mr. Wilson's accusations were poised to add an insider's authority to the cloud of doubt beginning to grow around the Iraq enterprise, as the resistance was proving far more stubborn than anticipated and the search for Saddam Hussein's weapons was coming up empty.

Ten weeks had passed since Mr. Bush's speech aboard an aircraft carrier, before a banner declaring "Mission Accomplished." And the president was being criticized by Democrats as taunting Iraqi insurgents a few days earlier by using the phrase "Bring 'em on." Behind the scenes, the Central Intelligence Agency and the National Security Council were skirmishing over who would take the blame for inaccurate intelligence.

The White House response to Mr. Wilson's accusations, as it unfolded over the next eight days, would be aggressive and comprehensive. At home and from the African road trip, in on-the-record briefings and in background tips to reporters, the president's aides sought to rebut Mr. Wilson's statements and undercut his credibility.

It was political trench warfare, Washington-style, an early exchange in what would become an enduring conflict over the administration's use of prewar intelligence.

But in the enthusiasm of the campaign to discredit Mr. Wilson, someone would expose the real job of the diplomat's wife, Valerie, a C.I.A. officer who had worked under cover for two decades, hiding her position from even close friends and relatives.

Finally, Richard Stevenson on what effect the scandal will have on the presidency:

His former secretary of state, most of his closest aides and a parade of other senior officials have testified to a grand jury. His political strategist has emerged as a central figure in the case, as has his vice president's chief of staff. His spokesman has taken a pounding for making public statements about the matter that now appear not to be accurate.

For all that, it is still not clear what the investigation into the leak of a C.I.A. operative's identity will mean for President Bush. So far the disclosures about the involvement of Karl Rove, among others, have not exacted any substantial political price from the administration. And nobody has suggested that the investigation directly implicates the president.

Items of note on a Saturday morning

The Rocky Mountain News has an in-depth look at Dr. James Dobson, who has become one of the most powerful right-wing religious leaders of our time. And he's just getting started.

The Washington Post looks at the latest charges against Rove and Libby. It just keeps getting deeper.

Rep. John Conyers has put together a timeline tying together the events of Rovegate and the Downing Street Minutes and all that--showing that our march to war was built on a flimsy web of lies.

Meanwhile, the war on terror we were supposed to be fighting seems to be going down the drain--with fresh attacks in London and Egypt. Where next?

Friday, July 22, 2005

Plame floodgates open

Another piece by Hunter at Daily Kos summarizes the latest.

If you think the Abu Ghraib pictures were bad before...

Now it's coming out that we haven't seen anything yet. Check out Hunter at Daily Kos who quotes the Boston Globe:
Signaling the worst revelations are yet to come, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld said the additional photos show "acts that can only be described as blatantly sadistic, cruel and inhuman." [...]

The unreleased images show American soldiers beating one prisoner almost to death, apparently raping a female prisoner, acting inappropriately with a dead body, and taping Iraqi guards raping young boys, according to NBC News.

Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina said the scandal is "going to get worse" and warned that the most "disturbing" revelations haven't yet been made public.

"The American public needs to understand, we're talking about rape and murder here," he said. "We're not just talking about giving people a humiliating experience; we're talking about rape and murder and some very serious charges."

One additional disconcerting note--the rest of the world has known this stuff for a year. Absolutely horrifying.

Oh, but don't worry, the administration is trying to keep this hidden from us, too.

Write your own caption

The Rove/Libby/et al scandal keeps growing

New reports today from Bloomberg and New York Times and others are also indicating possible perjury, obstruction of justice, and conspiracy charges in addition to the actual leaking.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Heartbreaking story from Leonard Pitts

I saw this news story the other day, but the great Leonard Pitts really writes movingly about it. From the Miami Herald.

Solid overview of the "new improved" Patriot Act

Via the AJC, by Rhonda Chriss Lokeman.

What some former CIA agents think

From Talking Points Memo. They're not happy with Rove et al.

Monday, July 18, 2005

Jonathan Alter on Why the Leak Probe Matters

A good perspective from the Newsweek scribe.

Bob Schieffer's commentary

Check it out at Crooks and Liars. Very harsh stuff. I like Schieffer a lot but have been a bit suspect of his old Texas ties. But he manages to say a lot in just a couple of minutes here, and none of it good regarding the Bush White House.

Sunday, July 17, 2005

Rich: It's not about Niger, It's about Iraq

Another excellent op-ed from Frank Rich in the NY Times... some excerpts:

"I am saying that if anyone was involved in that type of activity which I referred to, they would not be working here."
- Ron Ziegler, press secretary to Richard Nixon, defending the presidential aide Dwight Chapin on Oct. 18, 1972. Chapin was convicted in April 1974 of perjury in connection with his relationship to the political saboteur Donald Segretti.

"Any individual who works here at the White House has the confidence of the president. They wouldn't be working here at the White House if they didn't have the president's confidence."
- Scott McClellan, press secretary to George W. Bush, defending Karl Rove on Tuesday.

WELL, of course, Karl Rove did it. He may not have violated the Intelligence Identities Protection Act of 1982, with its high threshold of criminality for outing a covert agent, but there's no doubt he trashed Joseph Wilson and Valerie Plame. We know this not only because of Matt Cooper's e-mail, but also because of Mr. Rove's own history. Trashing is in his nature, and bad things happen, usually through under-the-radar whispers, to decent people (and their wives) who get in his way. ... The difference is that this time Mr. Rove got caught.


That the investigation has dragged on so long anyway is another indication of the expanded reach of the prosecutorial web.

Apparently this is finally beginning to dawn on Mr. Bush's fiercest defenders and on Mr. Bush himself. Hence, last week's erection of the stonewall manned by the almost poignantly clownish Mr. McClellan, who abruptly rendered inoperative his previous statements that any suspicions about Mr. Rove are "totally ridiculous." The morning after Mr. McClellan went mano a mano with his tormentors in the White House press room - "We've secretly replaced the White House press corps with actual reporters," observed Jon Stewart - the ardently pro-Bush New York Post ran only five paragraphs of a wire-service story on Page 12. That conspicuous burial of what was front-page news beyond Murdochland speaks loudly about the rising anxiety on the right. Since then, White House surrogates have been desperately babbling talking points attacking Joseph Wilson as a partisan and a liar.

These attacks, too, are red herrings. Let me reiterate: This case is not about Joseph Wilson. He is, in Alfred Hitchcock's parlance, a MacGuffin, which, to quote the Oxford English Dictionary, is "a particular event, object, factor, etc., initially presented as being of great significance to the story, but often having little actual importance for the plot as it develops."

This case is about Iraq, not Niger. The real victims are the American people, not the Wilsons. The real culprit - the big enchilada, to borrow a 1973 John Ehrlichman phrase from the Nixon tapes - is not Mr. Rove but the gang that sent American sons and daughters to war on trumped-up grounds and in so doing diverted finite resources, human and otherwise, from fighting the terrorists who attacked us on 9/11. That's why the stakes are so high: this scandal is about the unmasking of an ill-conceived war, not the unmasking of a C.I.A. operative who posed for Vanity Fair.

So put aside Mr. Wilson's February 2002 trip to Africa. The plot that matters starts a month later, in March, and its omniscient author is Dick Cheney. It was Mr. Cheney (on CNN) who planted the idea that Saddam was "actively pursuing nuclear weapons at this time." The vice president went on to repeat this charge in May on "Meet the Press," in three speeches in August and on "Meet the Press" yet again in September. Along the way the frightening word "uranium" was thrown into the mix.

By September the president was bandying about the u-word too at the United Nations and elsewhere, speaking of how Saddam needed only a softball-size helping of uranium to wreak Armageddon on America. But hardly had Mr. Bush done so than, offstage, out of view of us civilian spectators, the whole premise of this propaganda campaign was being challenged by forces with more official weight than Joseph Wilson. In October, the National Intelligence Estimate, distributed to Congress as it deliberated authorizing war, included the State Department's caveat that "claims of Iraqi pursuit of natural uranium in Africa," made public in a British dossier, were "highly dubious." A C.I.A. assessment, sent to the White House that month, determined that "the evidence is weak" and "the Africa story is overblown."


Once we were locked into the war, and no W.M.D.'s could be found, the original plot line was dropped with an alacrity that recalled the "Never mind!" with which Gilda Radner's Emily Litella used to end her misinformed Weekend Update commentaries on "Saturday Night Live." The administration began its dog-ate-my-homework cover-up, asserting that the various warning signs about the uranium claims were lost "in the bowels" of the bureaucracy or that it was all the C.I.A.'s fault or that it didn't matter anyway, because there were new, retroactive rationales to justify the war. But the administration knows how guilty it is. That's why it has so quickly trashed any insider who contradicts its story line about how we got to Iraq, starting with the former Treasury secretary Paul O'Neill and the former counterterrorism czar Richard Clarke.

Next to White House courtiers of their rank, Mr. Wilson is at most a Rosencrantz or Guildenstern. The brief against the administration's drumbeat for war would be just as damning if he'd never gone to Africa. But by overreacting in panic to his single Op-Ed piece of two years ago, the White House has opened a Pandora's box it can't slam shut. Seasoned audiences of presidential scandal know that there's only one certainty ahead: the timing of a Karl Rove resignation. As always in this genre, the knight takes the fall at exactly that moment when it's essential to protect the king.

Saturday, July 16, 2005

New wrinkle in Rovegate: State Dept. Memo

Armando at Daily Kos has a good overview of the NYTimes story. More new interesting questions emerge regarding who knew, and said, what and when.

Friday, July 15, 2005

Another Krugman Target-Hitter

Paul Krugman's latest NYTimes column nails the bigger picture of the Rove mess.
I don't know whether Mr. Rove can be convicted of a crime, but there's no question that he damaged national security for partisan advantage. If a Democrat had done that, Republicans would call it treason.

But what we're getting, instead, is yet another impressive demonstration that these days, truth is political. One after another, prominent Republicans and conservative pundits have declared their allegiance to the party line. They haven't just gone along with the diversionary tactics, like the irrelevant questions about whether Mr. Rove used Valerie Wilson's name in identifying her (Robert Novak later identified her by her maiden name, Valerie Plame), or the false, easily refuted claim that Mr. Wilson lied about who sent him to Niger. They're now a chorus, praising Mr. Rove as a patriotic whistle-blower.

Ultimately, this isn't just about Mr. Rove. It's also about Mr. Bush, who has always known that his trusted political adviser - a disciple of the late Lee Atwater, whose smear tactics helped President Bush's father win the 1988 election - is a thug, and obviously made no attempt to find out if he was the leaker.

Most of all, it's about what has happened to America. How did our political system get to this point?

Josh Marshall sums up the Rove mess

At Talking Points Memo.

Here's part:

Rove (and, though we're not supposed to say it yet, several of his colleagues) did something obviously wrong and reckless. And they probably broke several laws by the time it was all done.

Pretty much every Republican in Washington today works for Karl Rove. So they can't deal with that fact. But fact it is.

And nothing was done amiss? If Rove et al. didn't do anything wrong, why have they spent two years lying about what they did? No law was broken? Then what is Fitzgerald looking at? Why is a grand jury investigating Rove? A prosecutor like Fitzgerald, a Republican appointee, wouldn't be throwing journalists in jail unless he thought he was investigating a serious crime.

What's their answer to that? They have none. Rove runs the Washington Republican party, owns it. So it's anything but hold him accountable.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Wilson's assertions hold up in face of GOP spin

Bloomberg has another good summary.

I was able to watch a bit of the Schumer/Wilson press announcement this afternoon. Joe is so good. So calm, so clear, and he has served this country for 22 years in the trenches.

Response to the ubiquitous GOP talking points on Rove

The Left Coaster provides it, point by point. I've never seen such a furious plethora of nearly identical lies from so many Republican thugs. The spin is dizzying.

Cohen: The Real Outrage Isn't Rove

As much as I'd like to see Karl Rove taken off to the clink in shackles, Richard Cohen makes a very good point (actually, several good points) in his column in the Washington Post. I think his summary of the Plame affair is a little shaky and possibly influenced by the GOP talking points everyone on that side is mouthing these days. But the bottom line is right on:
Washington is electrified with the abundant energy of buzz from a scandal -- speculation about Rove, about Bush, about Cheney's aide, Scooter Libby. Who leaked? Who may have lied? How did Novak slip the noose? But the real scandal is the ongoing mess in Iraq, the murder just the other day of innocent children (is there any other kind?) and the false notion that, somehow, taking out Hussein would make us all safer. London gives the lie to that.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

The real star of the Fantastic Four flick

Stan Lee, co-creator of Spider-Man, Fantastic Four, Hulk, etc. etc., as usual has a cameo in the Marvel motion picture featuring the FF. He's Willie Lumpkin, the FF's mail carrier, and he plays it to a T.

I also caught Stan in a cameo role on cable the other night in the Princess Diaries 2--he's a hoot! Stan is a good friend of the director, Garry Marshall. When I was privileged to visit Stan in his office in LA last January, he showed me this great bulletin board thing covered with photos of celebs he'd met. Garry Marshall had given it to him, because Stan had marveled (sorry) at the same sort of photo-boards that cover Marshall's office. Anyway, my hat's off to Stan!

Sarah Vowell on the Speech the President Should Give

... and the speech one president did give. From the NY Times.

The big lie about Valerie Plame

Courtesy TPM Cafe, a former CIA agent reveals why Rove's leak was so dangerous--not only to Plame but to the country. Check it out.
The misinformation being spread in the media about the Plame affair is alarming and damaging to the longterm security interests of the United States. Republicans' talking points are trying to savage Joe Wilson and, by implication, his wife, Valerie Plame as liars. That is the truly big lie.

For starters, Valerie Plame was an undercover operations officer until outed in the press by Robert Novak. Novak's column was not an isolated attack. It was in fact part of a coordinated, orchestrated smear that we now know includes at least Karl Rove.

A few of my classmates, and Valerie was one of these, became a non-official cover officer. That meant she agreed to operate overseas without the protection of a diplomatic passport. If caught in that status she would have been executed.

The lies by people like Victoria Toensing, Representative Peter King, and P. J. O'Rourke insist that Valerie was nothing, just a desk jockey. Yet, until Robert Novak betrayed her she was still undercover and the company that was her front was still a secret to the world. When Novak outed Valerie he also compromised her company and every individual overseas who had been in contact with that company and with her.

The Republicans now want to hide behind the legalism that "no laws were broken". I don't know if a man made law was broken but an ethical and moral code was breached. For the first time a group of partisan political operatives publically identified a CIA NOC. They have set a precendent that the next group of political hacks may feel free to violate.

They try to hide behind the specious claim that Joe Wilson "lied". Although Joe did not lie let's follow that reasoning to the logical conclusion. Let's use the same standard for the Bush Administration. Here are the facts. Bush's lies have resulted in the deaths of almost 1800 American soldiers and the mutilation of 12,000. Joe Wilson has not killed anyone. He tried to prevent the needless death of Americans and the loss of American prestige in the world.


The Republicans insist on the lie that Val got her husband the job. She did not. She was not a division director, instead she was the equivalent of an Army major. Yes it is true she recommended her husband to do the job that needed to be done but the decision to send Joe Wilson on this mission was made by her bosses.

At the end of the day, Joe Wilson was right. There were no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. It was the Bush Administration that pushed that lie and because of that lie Americans are dying. Shame on those who continue to slander Joe Wilson while giving Bush and his pack of liars a pass. That's the true outrage.

Monday, July 11, 2005

Media Pummels White House Spokesman on Rove

I'm loving this--the MSM is finally coming to life. Check it out, from Editor & Publisher.

"Decent" Zell Miller, Turncoat Democrat, Stole from Taxpayers

From Bill Shipp's column. Kudos to WSB-TV's Dale Cardwell for uncovering this:

Miller has been caught with his hand in the taxpayers' cookie jar - sort of.

When this nationally famous figure left the governor's office in 1999, he pocketed more than $60,000 in taxpayer funds earmarked for entertainment and other expenses at the Governor's Mansion, WSB-TV investigative reporter Dale Cardwell revealed last week.

Miller also picked up a check for more than $20,000 for "unused leave"-a sum to which he was not entitled as a constitutional officer, Cardwell also reported.

At first blush, such stuff may sound shockingly sleazy. Bear with us. Miller has an explanation, contained in prepared statements issued through his attorney.

In essence, Miller says that he was technically eligible to take the mansion money as his own because no one said he could not. "When I retired from state government, I received only what I was advised was legal, ethical and traditional," his statement read, citing an attorney general's official opinion from 1969.

Never mind that every other living governor from Jimmy Carter to Sonny Perdue told reporter Caldwell that they did not consider the mansion money theirs-and that they would not have taken it. The cash was meant for use at the mansion, not for lining the occupants' pockets, they said.

Common Cause and other good-government sorts denounced Miller.

As for taking the "unused leave" money, Miller - who served as a constitutional officer from 1975 to 1999 - said he was unaware of the rules barring the state's highest elected officials from cashing out their leave. He paid the money back - six years later - when the Atlanta TV guy started asking questions.

Sunday, July 10, 2005

Newsweek's got the goods on Rove in the Plame affair

AmericaBlog is pointing to the new Newsweek article, complete with emails from Matthew Cooper, indicating that Karl Rove was the source of the Plame outing. The president himself has long ago promised to find the leaker. Now what will he do?

DailyKos, however, suggests there may be some wiggle room for Rove as to the timing of the release of the Novak column. This'll be fun to watch the posturing, regardless.

Saturday, July 09, 2005

Frank Rich on the Plame Investigation: Worse than Watergate

Go read Frank Rich's latest in the New York Times.

WHEN John Dean published his book "Worse Than Watergate" in the spring of 2004, it seemed rank hyperbole: an election-year screed and yet another attempt by a Nixon alumnus to downgrade Watergate crimes by unearthing worse "gates" thereafter. But it's hard to be dismissive now that my colleague Judy Miller has been taken away in shackles for refusing to name the source for a story she never wrote. No reporter went to jail during Watergate. No news organization buckled like Time. No one instigated a war on phony premises. This is worse than Watergate.


Political pressure didn't force Mr. Ashcroft to relinquish control of the Wilson investigation to a special prosecutor, Patrick Fitzgerald, until Dec. 30, 2003, more than five months after Mr. Novak's column ran. Now 18 more months have passed, and no one knows what crime Mr. Fitzgerald is investigating. Is it the tricky-to-prosecute outing of Mr. Wilson's wife, the story Judy Miller never even wrote about? Or has Mr. Fitzgerald moved on to perjury and obstruction of justice possibly committed by those who tried to hide their roles in that outing? If so, it would mean the Bush administration was too arrogant to heed the most basic lesson of Watergate: the cover-up is worse than the crime.

"Mr. Fitzgerald made his bones prosecuting the mob," intoned the pro-Bush editorial page of The Wall Street Journal, "and doesn't seem to realize that this case isn't about organized crime." But that may be exactly what it is about to an ambitious prosecutor with his own career on the line. That the Bush administration would risk breaking the law with an act as self-destructive to American interests as revealing a C.I.A. officer's identity smacks of desperation. It makes you wonder just what else might have been done to suppress embarrassing election-season questions about the war that has mired us in Iraq even as the true perpetrators of 9/11 resurface in Madrid, London and who knows where else.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Bernard Goldberg's latest rant

My DD has the list from the former CBS newsman now right wing hack's new book, The 100 People Who Are Screwing Up America, and some appropriate comments. I saw a bit about this on Hannity & Colmes (no, I don't watch it, Crooks & Liars had a link). It's clear Goldberg's out to make an easy buck. I was surprised to see a few on the list I agree with--like Jimmy Swaggart, Judge Roy Moore, and Michael Savage, but most of these people ought to be on a list of saints. Like Jimmy Carter. Some of the picks are just mean. And yet, Goldberg said he picked these people because they are vicious and angry and hateful. Amazing.

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Karl Rove's thin defense

From the Huffington Post, Lawrence O'Donnell continues his investigation of the source of the illegal Valerie Plame leak. This really could be big.

Here's more background from MSNBC.

United Church of Christ backs gay marriage

Here's the story from the NYTimes. I attended the last UCC general synod in Minneapolis two years ago as an observer, and was struck by the progressive tone of the denomination--which will still feel the sting of a conservative backlash within its membership. After all, they were ordaining gays and lesbians to the ministry back in the 1980s. I applaud this latest action, and wish the other mainline denominations would join in the prophetic battle for equality.

Monday, July 04, 2005

Happy 4th!

Just watched the winning runners in the Peachtree Road Race in Atlanta run by my new back patio. Later I'll join friends on the edge of town, at a place overlooking the city, to enjoy a cookout and towatch the various fireworks displays. Then back to work unpacking and settling in!

In the meantime, some interesting items:

A reminder of what it's all about: "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. --That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, --That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness."

From Daily Kos diary, "Read Between the Lines: Rove is in Trouble."

From Yahoo News, a piece on moderate/progressive Christians--since when was God pro-war and pro-rich?

From Yahoo News, U.S. undertakes another preemptive strike, declares war on Tempel 1.

Sunday, July 03, 2005

A little break for life

Sorry to be away from the blogging console lately, but I've just
bought a condo and moved. Still trying to sort through everything,
but will be back soon. Thanks.