Monday, October 31, 2005

So Miers messed up this week's Doonesbury strips

Slate has the weeks' worth of Doonesbury strips, scheduled for this week, which were made irrelevant by Harriet's withdrawal. So while the papers run reruns this week, you can see what might have been here.

Krugman: Ending the Fraudulence

Paul Krugman in the NYTimes: "So is the nightmare finally coming to an end? Yes, I think so. I have no idea whether Patrick Fitzgerald, the special prosecutor, will bring more indictments in the Plame affair. In any case, I don't share fantasies that Dick Cheney will be forced to resign; even Karl Rove may keep his post. One way or another, the Bush administration will stagger on for three more years. But its essential fraudulence stands exposed, and it's hard to see how that exposure can be undone.

What do I mean by essential fraudulence? Basically, I mean the way an administration with an almost unbroken record of policy failure has nonetheless achieved political dominance through a carefully cultivated set of myths.

The record of policy failure is truly remarkable. It sometimes seems as if President Bush and Mr. Cheney are Midases in reverse: everything they touch - from Iraq reconstruction to hurricane relief, from prescription drug coverage to the pursuit of Osama - turns to crud. Even the few apparent successes turn out to contain failures at their core: for example, real G.D.P. may be up, but real wages are down.

The point is that this administration's political triumphs have never been based on its real-world achievements, which are few and far between. The administration has, instead, built its power on myths: the myth of presidential leadership, the ugly myth that the administration is patriotic while its critics are not. Take away those myths, and the administration has nothing left."

E&P's Mitchell rips Brooks

Our Myth Brooks: "For starters, Brooks declares, “One thing is clear: there is no cancer on this presidency.” Actually, one thing that is not clear even after the Friday indictments is exactly where, and how malignant, that cancer might be, even after the successful removal of the malignant Libby nodes.

Brooks tops that whopper by declaring flatly that the notion of Karl Rove’s “general culpability” is basically “hokum.” And that’s why federal prosecutor Fitzgerald is still probing Rove?

Brooks asserts that Fitzgerald “did not find evidence of wide-ranging criminal behavior.” How does he know this? Pressed for time (thanks to Brooks’ colleague Judith Miller), Fitzgerald did not feel he had enough evidence to indict anyone else, just yet. But any reading of the indictment and the prosecutor’s public remarks on Friday leaves no doubt that he believes--and obtained evidence--that there was criminal behavior, beyond Libby (stay tuned).

You’ll look in vain in Brooks’ column for any condemnation of Rove or Libby for leaking the name of a CIA operative who (Fitzgerald has underlined) was indeed still under cover. So who are the bad guys in this Bobo world? Why, the Democrats, who had nothing to do with it.

Brooks’ latest work follows by just three days his column profiling Bush’s second-term malaise and how he can repeat the Reagan resurrection—-without once mentioning the war in Iraq. “The Bush administration is not in quite the same bind the Reagan administration was in,” he wrote. “There is no one big scandal.” Brooks willfully ignores that even if Plamegate is no Iran-contra, Bush is beset with a far worse scandal than anything Reagan faced: misleading his country into war, a war that is still going on, with no end in sight and American boys coming home in body bags almost every day. A cancer on this presidency."

AmericaBlog: Bush plays to dwindling base with Alito, another white male

Joe in DC summarizes Bush's latest pick, vetted by Concerned Women of Amerika and other hard-right bigots: "By choosing Alito, Bush is responding to the right wing theocrats who control his presidency:

"With the embarrassing withdrawal of the Miers nomination last week, the rising death toll in Iraq and Friday's indictment of top vice presidential aide I. Lewis 'Scooter' Libby, Bush's approval ratings are at the lowest point of his presidency. Polls show Democrats and most independents don't approve of his job performance, leaving the conservative wing of his party the only thing keeping Bush afloat politically." [Quoting from AP]

In fact, yesterday, Minority Leader Harry Reid warned specifically about Alito:

"'That is not one of the names that I've suggested to the president,' Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., told 'Late Edition' on CNN. 'In fact, I've done the opposite. I think it would create a lot of problems.' Reid said Bush would be making a 'mistake' were he to settle on a hard-liner simply to appease the far right in his party, especially after conservatives' wrath undermined Miers' nomination."

The White House is trying to spin him like Roberts, but he is really a Scalia. Bush's approval rating is 39%. If he wants a battle, let's give him one."

I hope we do.

Saturday, October 29, 2005

Kristof: Time for the Vice President to Explain Himself

Time for the Vice President to Explain Himself - New York Times: "Vice President Dick Cheney owes the nation an explanation. According to the indictment, he learned from the C.I.A. that Joseph Wilson's wife worked at the agency and told Mr. Libby that on about June 12, 2003. Why?

There may be innocent explanations. I gather from the indictment and other sources that Mr. Cheney and Mr. Libby were upset in May and June 2003 by a column of mine from May 6, 2003, in which I linked Mr. Cheney to Mr. Wilson's trip to Niger. If Mr. Cheney and Mr. Libby thought that my column was unfair, or that Mr. Wilson was exaggerating his role, they had every right to ask for a correction or set the record straight.

But they never raised the issue with me - nor, when Mr. Wilson went public, did they make their case publicly. Certainly the solution was not to leak classified information about Mr. Wilson's wife.

Mr. Libby is now accused in effect of lying to protect Mr. Cheney. According to the indictment, Mr. Libby insisted under oath that he had heard about Mrs. Wilson from reporters, when he had actually heard about her from his boss. You can't help wondering if this alleged perjury was purely his own idea and whether Mr. Cheney was aware of it.

Since Mr. Libby is joined at the hip to Mr. Cheney, it's reasonable to ask: What did Mr. Cheney know and when did he know it? Did the vice president have any grasp of the criminal behavior allegedly happening in his office? We shouldn't assume the worst, but Mr. Cheney needs to give us a full account."

Andrew Sullivan thinks it's about Cheney

The conservative blogger quotes a reader's interesting surmise and then adds his own postscript: "From the evidence we now have, it seems crystal clear to me that Libby knew he was out of line when he leaked the Plame name, and perjured himself to protect himself and the real source of the leak, Cheney. He gambled that the reporters wouldn't squeal; and that he could cleverly spin his phone conversations so that the information seemed to come from reporters, not him. The question now is whether he will now turn against his colleagues and master to save his own skin. This story is just beginning. Ultimately, it's about Cheney.

Frank Rich: We're just getting started

One Step Closer to the Big Enchilada--Frank Rich in the NYT (And it doesn't get much better than this): In our current imperial presidency, as in its antecedent, what may look like a narrow case involving a second banana with a child's name contains the DNA of the White House, and that DNA offers a road map to the duplicitous culture of the whole. The coming prosecution of Lewis (Scooter) Libby in the Wilson affair is hardly the end of the story. That 'Cheney's Cheney,' as Mr. Libby is known, would allegedly go to such lengths to obscure his role in punishing a man who challenged the administration's W.M.D. propaganda is just one very big window into the genesis of the smoke screen (or, more accurately, mushroom cloud) that the White House used to sell the war in Iraq.


There are many other mysteries to be cracked, from the catastrophic, almost willful failure of the Pentagon to plan for the occupation of Iraq to the utter ineptitude of the huge and costly Department of Homeland Security that was revealed in all its bankruptcy by Katrina. There are countless riddles, large and small. Why have the official reports on detainee abuse at Abu Ghraib and Guantánamo spared all but a single officer in the chain of command? Why does Halliburton continue to receive lucrative government contracts even after it's been the focus of multiple federal inquiries into accusations of bid-rigging, overcharging and fraud? Why did it take five weeks for Pat Tillman's parents to be told that their son had been killed by friendly fire, and who ordered up the fake story of his death that was sold relentlessly on TV before then?

These questions are just a representative sampling. It won't be easy to get honest answers because this administration, like Nixon's, practices obsessive secrecy even as it erects an alternative reality built on spin and outright lies.

Even before [Cheney] began inflating Saddam's nuclear capabilities, he went on "Meet the Press" in December 2001 to peddle the notion that "it's been pretty well confirmed" that there was a direct pre-9/11 link between Mohammed Atta and Iraqi intelligence. When the Atta-Saddam link was disproved later, Gloria Borger, interviewing the vice president on CNBC, confronted him about his earlier claim, and Mr. Cheney told her three times that he had never said it had been "pretty well confirmed." When a man thinks he can get away with denying his own words even though there are millions of witnesses and a video record, he clearly believes he can get away with murder.

Mr. Bush is only slightly less brazen. His own false claims about Iraq's W.M.D.'s ("We found the weapons of mass destruction," he said in May 2003) are, if anything, exceeded by his repeated boasts of capturing various bin Laden and Zarqawi deputies and beating back Al Qaeda. His speech this month announcing the foiling of 10 Qaeda plots is typical; as USA Today reported last week, at least 6 of the 10 on the president's list "involved preliminary ideas about potential attacks, not terrorist operations that were about to be carried out." In June, Mr. Bush stood beside his attorney general, Alberto Gonzales, and similarly claimed that "federal terrorism investigations have resulted in charges against more than 400 suspects" and that "more than half" of those had been convicted. A Washington Post investigation found that only 39 of those convictions had involved terrorism or national security (as opposed to, say, immigration violations). That sum could yet be exceeded by the combined number of convictions in the Jack Abramoff-Tom DeLay scandals.


For now, it's conventional wisdom in Washington that the Bush White House's infractions are nowhere near those of the Nixon administration, as David Gergen put it on MSNBC on Friday morning. But Watergate's dirty tricks were mainly prompted by the ruthless desire to crush the political competition at any cost. That's a powerful element in the Bush scandals, too, but this administration has upped the ante by playing dirty tricks with war. Back on July 6, 2003, when the American casualty toll in Iraq stood at 169 and Mr. Wilson had just published his fateful Op-Ed, Robert Novak, yet to write his column outing Mr. Wilson's wife, declared that "weapons of mass destruction or uranium from Niger" were "little elitist issues that don't bother most of the people." That's what Nixon administration defenders first said about the "third-rate burglary" at Watergate, too.

HuffPo page on the Indictments--blogs + news

Good collection of current links, updated continuously.

WaPo: A New Moment of Truth For a White House in Crisis

A New Moment of Truth For a White House in Crisis: "With yesterday's indictment of Vice President Cheney's top aide, President Bush's administration has become a textbook example of what can go wrong in a second term. Along with ineffectiveness, overreaching, intraparty rebellion, plunging public confidence and plain bad luck, scandal has now touched the highest levels of the White House staff.

Not surprisingly, Democrats were quick to condemn the president and his administration over the perjury and obstruction indictments of I. Lewis 'Scooter' Libby. But even some Republicans suggested that the president and his team will have taken away the wrong lesson if they conclude that, other than the personal tragedy of Libby's indictment, the long investigation changes nothing of significance."

Friday, October 28, 2005

Achenblog: Good news and bad news at the White House

Achenblog: Daily Humor and Observations from Joel Achenbach: "There's good news and bad news this afternoon at the White House.

Good News: No one has been charged with a war crime.

Bad News: One of the most powerful staffers in the Bush Administration has been charged with five felonies, as part of a 'corrupt endeavor' that included lying to FBI agents and making 'materially false and intentionally misleading statements and representations to the grand jury.'

Good News: The man who is probably the single most powerful staffer is doing backflips and scheduling a celebratory feast tonight at The Palm, complete with the ritual sacrifice of a goat.

Bad News: Upcoming trial will almost certaintly require testimony from just about everyone in the White House, including the Vice President and possibly the President.

Good News: Ace witness for the prosecution is Judy Miller.

Bad News: The indictment of Libby suggests that he knew that information about Joseph and Valerie Plame Wilson was of a highly sensitive nature -- to the point that he told his own deputy that he couldn't discuss the issue on a non-secure phone line. But shortly thereafter, on June 23, 2003, he met with Judy Miller and 'informed her that Wilson's wife might work at a bureau of the CIA.' In another meeting with Miller on July 8, he discussed Mrs. Wilson again and asked that his quotes be attributed to a 'former Hill staffer' rather than to a 'senior administration official.' The indictment thus builds the case that Libby knew he had loose lips and that ships might sink. So to speak.

Good News: Um..."

The Raw Story | Fitzgerald expands probe, believes he can get Rove on more serious charges, lawyers say

The Raw Story: "In one of the boldest moves yet in the 22-month investigation into the outing of a covert CIA agent to a handful of top reporters covering the White House, Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald is extending his probe and pursuing much more serious charges against senior White House officials, specifically President Bush’s Deputy Chief of Staff Karl Rove, lawyers directly involved in the case told RAW STORY Friday.

While many people were left confused by news reports that said Rove wouldn't be indicted Friday, the lawyers said that Rove remains under intense scrutiny and added that Fitzgerald is betting on the fact that he can secure an indictment against Rove on charges of perjury, obstructions of justice, the misuse of classified information, and possibly other charges, as early as next week.

“This investigation is not yet over,” one of the lawyers in the case said. “You must keep in mind that people like Mr. Rove are still under investigation. Rather than securing an indictment on perjury charges against Mr. Rove Mr. Fitzgerald strongly believes he can convince the grand jury that he broke other laws.”"

Think Progress: Did Tenet Resign Because of Leak Scandal?

Think Progress: "Vice President Cheney’s claim in Tuesday’s New York Times that he learned of Valerie Plame’s status from former CIA Director George Tenet, draws our attention back to an odd confluence of events in the first week of June 2004.

Within the span of four days in June, Tenet met with President Bush to submit his resignation, the White House announced that President Bush had consulted an outside attorney to represent him in the Fitzgerald investigation, and it was reported that Vice President Cheney had been interviewed by Fitzgerald. In that order.


Press coverage of Tenet’s resignation noted that the timing seemed odd. Senator Dianne Feinstein, a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, commented “I can’t remember any resignation that has struck me as more startling than this one,” she said. “I suspect there is going to be more of a story to tell than just personal reasons.”

What could account for this confluence of events? Had Tenet found himself in the uncomfortable position of having to tell Fitzgerald some damaging information about the Vice President and thought he needed to leave the Administration because of it? Did Tenet deliver some bad news to Bush the evening he met with him that would prompt the White House to feel the need to announce that the President had sought outside legal counsel? It’s speculation, but there is no denying that the timing is curious."

Todd Purdum: Bush's Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Week

A Long, Rocky Road With 39 Months to Go - New York Times: "'There's all this talk about the Republican base and the conservative base of the Republican Party, and the conservative base of the president and how it's important to play to the base and please the base and fawn over the base,' said former Senator John C. Danforth, the Missouri Republican who was Mr. Bush's ambassador to the United Nations.

'And look what it gets President Bush,' Mr. Danforth continued. 'It just gets him a kick in the rear. That's what they've done to him, and they've done it to him at a time when he's vulnerable, and they've done it at the expense of a perfectly fine human being.'

Some scholars and Republican elders say it is now time for Mr. Bush to do what Ronald Reagan did when the Iran-contra scandal threatened to derail his second term: shake up the White House staff, retool his domestic and foreign policy agenda and move on. But most say they see few signs that Mr. Bush intends to do so."

AMERICAblog: Looking beyond the death count stats

Michael in NY reviews the statistics and discovers even more grimness: "The average age of the soldiers who died in Vietnam was 19. It's a sobering statistic -- you can't help but think about all those young lives cut short.

Thanks to the end of the draft, the story is quite different -- but just as sad -- in Iraq. After 2000 deaths (and 15,000 wounded), I added up all their individual ages to find out what the average was. It's 30. (Go here for the CNN rundown, which includes photos and -- for those who still believe the myth of an undercount -- a description of where they died, usually in Iraq, but sometimes in another country or back in the US. It's heartrending)

We know they're dying faster -- it took 18 months for the first 1000 casualties and just 14 months for the next 1000. The insurgency is getting stronger and more lethal. So if that continues, we can expect to hit 3000 dead next August. (And we WILL still be in Iraq ten months from now.)

But what does it mean that these soldiers are on average 30 years old? One thing is clear: these adults have left behind a lot more widows and children."

Mikevotes' "crackpot theory": Is Powell going after Cheney?

Born at the Crest of the Empire: Plame Gossip - not really: "I believe that a second grand jury will be empanelled. Somebody is sniping at Cheney and leading the press, and plausibly the prosecutor, right down the path."

And more:
"Let me just add that a contributory element to my Powell theory is the rumor I heard today that the three candidates to replace Cheney who are being discussed are Rice, McCain, and Powell. I know, Colin Powell going back into this administration would seem a strange political move, but he could go back as a reformer who is going to clean up the administration and take the party back from those extremists who took the country to war. Don't see how it's true, but that's what made me think of Colin Powell in the context of two of his close buddies (Wilkerson and Scowcroft) turning on Cheney and then the leaks in the next post for a one, two, three."

Check it out.

Born at the Crest of the Empire: NYTimes Libby indicted, Rove not indicted, yet.

Mikevotes pulls together last night's news on the Leak investigation. What will we learn today...anything?

Thursday, October 27, 2005

E&P: New CBS News Boss Donated to Bush

Blogger's Scoop: Guess the era of Dan Rather really is over, dammit: "Conservatives may take heart in a scoop by blogger Michael Petrelis that the new boss of CBS News, Sean McManus, donated $250 to the Bush-Cheney re-election bid in 2004, while shunning John Kerry.

Murray Waas: Cheney, Libby Blocked Papers To Senate Intelligence Panel

NATIONAL JOURNAL: Cheney, Libby Blocked Papers To Senate Intelligence Panel (10/27/05): "Vice President Cheney and his chief of staff, I. Lewis 'Scooter' Libby, overruling advice from some White House political staffers and lawyers, decided to withhold crucial documents from the Senate Intelligence Committee in 2004 when the panel was investigating the use of pre-war intelligence that erroneously concluded Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction, according to Bush administration and congressional sources."

AMERICAblog: Right wing kills Miers nomination

Joe in DC on the religious right's victory: "The right wing killed the nomination of Harriet Miers because she did not pass their litmus test. John said that last night when he saw the press release from Concerned Women of America opposing Miers. I heard a radio interview with Sam Brownback (R-KS) on the way to work. He said he wanted a paper trail for the next nominee. Right wingers like Brownback want proof the candidate will overturn Roe v. Wade and undo other rights.

Harry Reid got it right:

''The radical right wing of the Republican Party killed the Harriet Miers nomination...''

The conservatives destroyed their own talking points about getting every nominee a vote. They only want votes for nominees who pass their litmus test.

Bush was defeated on the Miers nomination by his own people. That makes the loss more devastating. And, it verifies that there is no room for compromise with the theocrats."

Powell aide vents about the White House Iraq cabal

The AJC carries Lawrence Wilkerson's column today: "In President Bush's first term, some of the most important decisions about U.S. national security — including vital decisions about postwar Iraq — were made by a secretive, little-known cabal. It was made up of a very small group of people led by Vice President Dick Cheney and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld.

When I first discussed this group in a speech last week at the New American Foundation in Washington, my comments caused a significant stir because I had been chief of staff to then-Secretary of State Colin Powell between 2002 and 2005.

But I believe that the decisions of this cabal were sometimes made with the full and witting support of the president and sometimes with something less. More often than not, then-National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice was simply steamrolled by this cabal."

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Think Progress: “A Likely Scenario For What Happened Today”

Think Progress - ALLEN: “A Likely Scenario For What Happened Today Is Patrick Fitzgerald Got Some Indictments”: "Hotline says Time Magazine’s Mike Allen “has some of the best sources in Washington.” Here’s what he had to say about the leak scandal tonight on Hardball:

MIKE ALLEN: A lot of activity happening that we’re not seeing. A likely scenario for what happened today, Patrick Fitzgerald got some indictments from this grand jury. He is now able to go to the…

CHRIS MATTHEWS: You think they’re sealed right now?

MIKE ALLEN: Very possible. What I’m told is typically, in a case like this, he could get the indictments and now he can go to the targets and say, you can plead to these or I’ll go back Friday and get more. You have 12 to 24 hours to think about it."

The New Yorker: The Bush Quiz Returns

Here's a sample question...take the whole quiz: "3. To what was George W. Bush referring when he said, “The best place for the facts to be done is by somebody who’s spending time investigating it”?

(a) The investigation into Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist’s stock sale.

(b) The investigation into the role of the White House aide Karl Rove in the Valerie Plame case.

(c) The indictment of House Majority Leader Tom DeLay on money-laundering charges.

(d) The indictment of the former Bush Administration budget official David Safavian on charges of lying and obstruction of justice."

Dowd: Dick at the Heart of Darkness

Dick at the Heart of Darkness - New York Times: "The shocking thing about the trellis of revelations showing Dick Cheney, the self-styled Mr. Strong America, as the central figure in dark conspiracies to juice up a case for war and demonize those who tried to tell the public the truth is how unshocking it all is.

It's exactly what we thought was going on, but we never thought we'd actually hear the lurid details: Cheney and Rummy, the two old compadres from the Nixon and Ford days, in a cabal running the country and the world into the ground, driven by their poisonous obsession with Iraq, while Junior is out of the loop, playing in the gym or on his mountain bike.

Mr. Cheney has been so well protected by his Praetorian guard all these years that it's been hard for the public to see his dastardly deeds and petty schemes. But now, because of Patrick Fitzgerald's investigation and candid talk from Brent Scowcroft and Lawrence Wilkerson, he's been flushed out as the heart of darkness: all sulfurous strands lead back to the man W. aptly nicknamed Vice."

Trying to keep up with all the gossip

Lots to read:

Here's Ariana at HuffPo on "what we know" about a situation that's definitely "worse than Watergate."

Josh at Talking Points Memo on the Niger yellowcake forgeries...(several posts).

From Daily Kos, Roll Call's report of Fitz visiting Rove's lawyer. (And will he ask for an extension? Oh, the suspense.)

Also at DKos, John Conyers' post regarding his letter to Bush demanding no pardons for any guilty cohorts. You can sign it too!

More to come...


When I turned the page of the paper this morning, this cartoon, which filled the top half of the editorial page, hit me hard and brought tears to my eyes. Bravo, Luckovitch. Excellent question.

In case you can't tell, the 2000 names of the war-dead comprise the letters.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Born at the Crest of the Empire: Indictments are coming - rumor.

As usual, Mikevotes gives a great daily update, and the suspense is really building.

NCC's Bob Edgar calls 2000th death a "tragic milestone"

The realization that the 2,000th American has died in Iraq marks a "tragic milestone," the General Secretary of the National Council of Churches USA said today.

"We're reminded of our deep pride in the young men and women who so courageously face death every day in Iraq," said the Rev. Dr. Bob Edgar. "The death of any one of these brave volunteers is a cause for pain and sadness."

But Edgar said the death of the 2,000th serviceperson generates other emotions as well.

"Speaking frankly, this milestone is also a cause for anger," Edgar said. "It's hard today to set aside the reality that the administration started this war despite the earnest protests of church leaders and millions of persons of faith. It's hard to forget that the most frequently cited cause for the war -- Iraq's alleged weapons of mass destruction -- turned out to be non-existent."

Edgar said the death of the 2,000th serviceperson must be a time of prayer and reflection.

"We must take these burdens to God," he said. "We pray for the families who have lost loved ones in Iraq. We pray for the families who live each day in anxious worry for their loved ones serving there. And we pray for our national leaders, who we do not believe have made their decisions to go to war out of malice or ambition. May God grant us comfort and wisdom."

But Edgar also called on Americans to pray that the war will end. "No matter how we view it," he said, "we cannot escape the conclusion that this war didn't have to happen. It's time to bring this tragic chapter of American history to a close. Like Vietnam, the light at the end of this tunnel is a warning of more death, not a promise of victory. This war must end. Now."

AMERICAblog: MSM Ignoring one big fact: Bush lied

Michael in NY makes a pertinent comment: "The MSM is proving bizarrely insistent on ignoring the single most important fact surrounding RoveGate, the one fact that explains why the White House went to such extremes to scorch-earth Joe Wilson for coming forward. What's that fact? Joe Wilson spoke the truth and Bush admitted it. The NYT is running a timeline of the scandal, including an intense breakdown of the nine crucial days when Wilson came forward. Here's the TPM breakdown of the events on July 7, 2003.

Though it covers the story from almost every possible angle, the NYT timeline omits one crucial fact: Joe Wilson was right. On July 7, 2003 -- the day after Wilson came forward and said Bush shouldn't have included in the State of the Union speech a rumour about Iraq trying to get uranium in Africa -- the White House called major media outlets (including the NYT) and in effect admitted Wilson was right. They no longer stood by those 16 words, one of the central pillars in their argument for going to war.

Isn't it germane to this story that Bush immediately caved on the central point Wilson was making -- even though this meant abandoning a crucial argument for taking this country to war? This should be front and center in every MSM story about this scandal. It's mentioned in almost none of them. This isn't just some obscure scandal about pettiness and politics and leaks. No. This is about Bush lying to the country during the State of the Union address. "

Cheney Plan Exempts CIA From Bill Barring Abuse of Detainees

Is he really just plain evil?: "The Bush administration has proposed exempting employees of the Central Intelligence Agency from a legislative measure endorsed earlier this month by 90 members of the Senate that would bar cruel and degrading treatment of any prisoners in U.S. custody.

The proposal, which two sources said Vice President Cheney handed last Thursday to Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) in the company of CIA Director Porter J. Goss, states that the measure barring inhumane treatment shall not apply to counterterrorism operations conducted abroad or to operations conducted by 'an element of the United States government' other than the Defense Department."

Monday, October 24, 2005

Daily Kos: Civil Rights Pioneer Rosa Parks Dead At 92

Daily Kos Proudtobeliberal diary brings this sad news: "Civil rights pioneer Rosa Parks has died, Local 4 has learned.

Parks, 92, reportedly died around 7 p.m. Monday, a city source said.

Parks' refusal to give up her bus seat to a white man in Montgomery, Ala., in 1955 landed her in jail and sparked a bus boycott that is considered the start of the modern civil rights movement."

UPI's Walker reports Fitzgerald is looking at the forged yellow cake documents

Hat Tip to Born at the Crest of the Empire for this Moonie report--which could be huge if true: "The CIA leak inquiry that threatens senior White House aides has now widened to include the forgery of documents on African uranium that started the investigation, according to NAT0 intelligence sources.

This suggests the inquiry by special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald into the leaking of the identity of undercover CIA officer Valerie Plame has now widened to embrace part of the broader question about the way the Iraq war was justified by the Bush administration.

Fitzgerald's inquiry is expected to conclude this week and despite feverish speculation in Washington, there have been no leaks about his decision whether to issue indictments and against whom and on what charges.

Two facts are, however, now known and between them they do not bode well for the deputy chief of staff at the White House, Karl Rove, President George W Bush's senior political aide, not for Vice President Dick Cheney's chief of staff, Lewis 'Scooter' Libby.

The first is that Fitzgerald last year sought and obtained from the Justice Department permission to widen his investigation from the leak itself to the possibility of cover-ups, perjury and obstruction of justice by witnesses. This has renewed the old saying from the days of the Watergate scandal, that the cover-up can be more legally and politically dangerous than the crime.

The second is that NATO sources have confirmed to United Press International that Fitzgerald's team of investigators has sought and obtained documentation on the forgeries from the Italian government.

Fitzgerald's team has been given the full, and as yet unpublished report of the Italian parliamentary inquiry into the affair, which started when an Italian journalist obtained documents that appeared to show officials of the government of Niger helping to supply the Iraqi regime of Saddam Hussein with Yellowcake uranium. This claim, which made its way into President Bush's State of the Union address in January, 2003, was based on falsified documents from Niger and was later withdrawn by the White House.

This opens the door to what has always been the most serious implication of the CIA leak case, that the Bush administration could face a brutally damaging and public inquiry into the case for war against Iraq being false or artificially exaggerated. This was the same charge that imperiled the government of Bush's closest ally, British Prime Minister Tony Blair, after a BBC Radio program claimed Blair's aides has 'sexed up' the evidence on Iraq's weapons of mass destruction.

There can be few more serious charges against a government than going to war on false pretences, or having deliberately inflated or suppressed the evidence that justified the war."

Is Bush following Krauthammer's strategy for dumping Miers?

John at AMERICAblog thinks maybe so, with good reason.

NYT: Libby's Notes Show Cheney Told Him about Plame

But he forgot about those notes when he swore otherwise: "I. Lewis Libby Jr., Vice President Dick Cheney’s chief of staff, first learned about the C.I.A. officer at the heart of the leak investigation in a conversation with Mr. Cheney weeks before her identity became public in 2003, lawyers involved in the case said Monday.

Notes of the previously undisclosed conversation between Mr. Libby and Mr. Cheney on June 12, 2003, appear to differ from Mr. Libby’s testimony to a federal grand jury that he initially learned about the C.I.A. officer, Valerie Wilson, from journalists, the lawyers said.

The notes, taken by Mr. Libby during the conversation, for the first time place Mr. Cheney in the middle of an effort by the White House to learn about Ms. Wilson’s husband, Joseph C. Wilson IV, who was questioning the administration’s handling of intelligence about Iraq’s nuclear program to justify the war.

Lawyers said the notes show that Mr. Cheney knew that Ms. Wilson worked at the C.I.A. more than a month before her identity was made public and her undercover status was disclosed in a syndicated column by Robert D. Novak on July 14, 2003."

Digby on the incredible hypocrisy of the right wing re: perjury

Hullabaloo: "If the Republicans are going to use the 'perjury and obstruction aren't real crimes' defense then I think we need to gather all the material that Mr Google (and the Washington Post, here) conveniently provide and bombard the gasbags and the alleged journalists with them. They need to be spoonfed this stuff. "

Go read the whole thing.

New York Daily News: Bushies feeling the boss' wrath

New York Daily News reports on the dark mood in the White House: "Facing the darkest days of his presidency, President Bush is frustrated, sometimes angry and even bitter, his associates say.

With a seemingly uncontrollable insurgency in Iraq, the White House is bracing for the political fallout from a grim milestone that could come any day: the combat death of the 2,000th American G.I.

Last week alone, 23 military personnel were killed in Iraq, and five were wounded yesterday in a relentless series of attacks across the country.

This week could also bring a special prosecutor's decision that could shake the foundations of the Bush government.


Bush usually reserves his celebrated temper for senior aides because he knows they can take it. Lately, however, some junior staffers have also faced the boss' wrath.

'This is not some manager at McDonald's chewing out the help,' said a source with close ties to the White House when told about these outbursts. 'This is the President of the United States, and it's not a pleasant sight.'

The specter of losing Rove, his only truly irreplaceable assistant, lies at the heart of Bush's distress. But a string of political reversals, including growing opposition to the Iraq war, Hurricane Katrina's aftermath and Harriet Miers' bungled Supreme Court nomination, have also exacted a personal toll."

Read the whole delicious article.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

The story behind the best-seller: Wait, there's more!

Washington Post has a piece on Kevin Trudeau, author of the number one bestseller Natural Cures: "Trudeau's publishing company -- which he happens to have founded -- says he's sold 4 million copies of 'Natural Cures,' many of them through phone orders. While those numbers can't be verified, his sales through traditional outlets have been astonishing -- so far he's spent 16 weeks on the New York Times bestseller list.

For those who want to save their $29.95, here are the secrets to health the government is keeping from you, according to Trudeau:

Get an electromagnetic chaos eliminator. Do some 'bioenergetic synchronization.' Give yourself some enemas, and then give yourself some more enemas. Wear white, for positive energy. Don't use a microwave or an electric tumble dryer or fluorescent lights or artificial sweeteners; don't dry-clean your clothes or use swimming pools or eat pork. Don't use deodorant (causes cancer) or nonstick cookware (causes cancer) or watch the news (stress alters your body's pH, which can make you get cancer). Remove the metal fillings from your mouth, and you're all set!

Trudeau's 'Natural Cures' also references several helpful Web sites. One claims that if you stare into the sun every day while barefoot, you won't need food anymore. Another sells an instrument that looks rather like an index card but which promises to open a 'temporal and spatial gate' that 'enables an individual's entire etheric system to interface with a very large, complicated, partially automated, predefined healing process.'

Lastly, if you have depression, Trudeau writes, stop taking your medication and by all means stop seeing doctors, who can't be trusted. Rather, go for a long stroll outside every day and 'look far away as you walk.'

If that fails, the book advises you to try Scientology."

You know, I saw this book in Borders the other day, having seen it perched atop the NYT best seller list, thinking this might be a good thing to read and get some insights about good health. I skimmed through it and was surprised about the few suggestions I saw. Most summarized above. The story behind the story is fascinating. Amazing what people will believe these days.

Mikevotes' Plame Update

Born at the Crest of the Empire has the daily Plame update, and check out this particular entry: "Oh, and this mantra is being repeated by the Republicans.

I certainly hope that if there is going to be an indictment that says something happened, that it is an indictment on a crime and not some perjury technicality where they couldn’t indict on the crime so they go to something just to show that their two years of investigation were not a waste of time and dollars.

This is from my homestate senator Kay Bailey Hutchinson whose campaign motto has become 'At least I'm not as crazy as Cornyn.' If I could I would ask her, didn't your party try to impeach a president for perjury? Just when exactly did your perception change?" An Unholy Alliance? -- Oct. 31, 2005 -- Page 1

Speaking of Ralph Reed, TIME magazine has a piece on his alliance with Abramoff: "A TIME investigation shows the lobbyist now at the center of a federal probe had a good friend eager to open doors at the White House: former Christian Coalition chief Ralph Reed"

Daily Kos: Frank Rich: Rove and Libby's Excellent Adventure.

Maccabee has a great review of Frank Rich's latest NYT column at Daily Kos.

Slick, slimy, sleazy Huckster Ralph Reed

The AJC, in it's continuing crusade against right-wing sleaze Ralph Reed, offers a fascinating review of his tawdry career. He even manages to piss off the Dalai Lama.

"Ralph Reed's clients wanted to promote a relaxed U.S. trade policy toward China. So, as he has often done since leaving the Christian Coalition to become a corporate and political consultant, Reed tapped into his vast network of conservative religious activists.

Soon the Alliance of Christian Ministries in China was telling Congress that free trade would open doors for missionaries in a nation that is officially atheist.

The alliance, however, was a facade. Reed arranged for its formation and used its evangelical goals to serve the interests of his paying clients, a coalition of businesses including Boeing Co., which had a more secular objective: to sell the Chinese government $120 billion worth of airplanes.

Such stealth defines Reed's eight years as a corporate and campaign consultant, the work that bridged his career from Christian activist to Republican candidate for lieutenant governor of Georgia.

Saturday, October 22, 2005

Top CIA leak investigation falsehoods ... [Media Matters]

Media Matters sets the spinmeisters straight on the Leak controversy. I heard most of these just the other morning spouting from Joe DiGenovese on Imus in the Morning.

Washington Blade Columnist Outs Fox Anchor

Washington Blade Online: "[Anderson] Cooper isn’t the only well-known TV personality hiding his sexual orientation. Shepard Smith, who hosts a popular program on Fox News and received widespread praise for his work covering Hurricane Katrina’s aftermath, also dodges questions about his sexual orientation.

Smith once chatted me up in a New York City gay piano bar, bought me drinks, and invited me back to his place. When I declined, he asked me to dinner the next night, another invitation I politely refused.

We sat at the bar chatting and drinking martinis until 3 a.m., our conversation interrupted only when he paused to belt out the lyrics to whatever showtune was being performed."

Dependable Renegade: Someone needs to tap Marty Bahamonde for a Nobel Prize.

Dependable Renegade: Someone needs to tap Marty Bahamonde for a Nobel Prize.: "Raw Story has posted the emails from Marty Bahamonde, the FEMA regional director in NOLA, to Michael Brown:

Bahamonde to Nicole Andrews, FEMA spokeswoman, Aug. 30, 7:02 a.m.

'What is happening with the US travel this morning. When is he coming to New Orleans. The area around the Superdome is filling up with water, now waist deep. The US can land and do a presser but then have to leave, there will be no ground tour, only flyover,' referring to planned visit by Brown."

Read the whole series. Amazing.

Dowd on Miller: Woman of Mass Destruction

Mo likes Judy, she really does...and yet: "When Bill Keller became executive editor in the summer of 2003, he barred Judy from covering Iraq and W.M.D. issues. But he acknowledged in The Times's Sunday story about Judy's role in the Plame leak case that she had kept 'drifting' back. Why did nobody stop this drift?

Judy admitted in the story that she 'got it totally wrong' about W.M.D. 'If your sources are wrong,' she said, 'you are wrong.' But investigative reporting is not stenography.

The Times's story and Judy's own first-person account had the unfortunate effect of raising more questions. As Bill said yesterday in an e-mail note to the staff, Judy seemed to have 'misled' the Washington bureau chief, Phil Taubman, about the extent of her involvement in the Valerie Plame leak case.

She casually revealed that she had agreed to identify her source, Scooter Libby, Dick Cheney's chief of staff, as a 'former Hill staffer' because he had once worked on Capitol Hill. The implication was that this bit of deception was a common practice for reporters. It isn't."

Keller finally apologizes for the disaster that is Judy Miller

Times Editor Expresses Regrets Over Handling of Leak Case - New York Times: "Bill Keller, executive editor of The New York Times, told the newspaper's staff yesterday that he had several regrets over his handling of Judith Miller, the Times reporter who spent 85 days in jail for refusing to testify before a grand jury in the C.I.A. leak case.

In a memorandum sent to the staff while he was traveling overseas, Mr. Keller said he wished he had 'sat her down for a thorough debriefing' after Ms. Miller had been subpoenaed as a witness in the investigation into the leaking of the name of a C.I.A. operative."

NY Times' piece on Patrick Fitzgerald

Leak Prosecutor Is Called Exacting and Apolitical - New York Times: "To seek indictments against the White House officials caught up in the inquiry would deliver a devastating blow to the Bush administration. To simply walk away after two years of investigation, which included the jailing of a reporter for 85 days for refusing to testify, would invite cries of cover-up and waste.

Yet Mr. Fitzgerald's past courtroom allies and adversaries say that consideration of political consequences will play no role in his decision."

Media Matters: Dick Morris: "I love Karl Rove"

Gag me. Dick Morris expresses his love while acknowledging Rove (and Libby, and maybe others) will be indicted: "On the October 20 edition of Fox News Channel's The O'Reilly Factor, Dick Morris -- a political analyst and former adviser to President Bill Clinton -- professed his love for White House deputy chief of staff Karl Rove. When host Bill O'Reilly asked Morris to predict the fate of Rove and vice presidential chief of staff I. Lewis 'Scooter' Libby in the grand jury investigation into the outing of CIA operative Valerie Plame, Morris said: 'I love Karl Rove. He deserves better. He's magnificent. He elected Bush. The country owes him a debt.'"

WaPo: Hughes Misreports Iraqi History

Karen Hughes continues her international whitewash: "Bush administration envoy Karen Hughes visited Indonesia on Friday as part of her campaign to repair U.S. standing with the world's Muslims and defended the invasion of Iraq by telling skeptical students that deposed president Saddam Hussein had gassed hundreds of thousands of his own people.

Her remark was an impassioned answer to familiar criticisms of U.S. policy raised by her audience at one of Indonesia's leading Islamic universities. But it was also wrong."

Friday, October 21, 2005

Andy Card cancels plans to be with W at Camp David this weekend

Joe in DC points to a piece in the Providence Journal and says: "Oh, to be a fly on the wall at Camp David this weekend. The possibilities of why Card needs to be there are endless. Who else will be there? Let's ruminate on this...."

Froomkin: Fitz has a new blog

White House Briefing  News on President George W Bush and the Bush Administration: "Special prosecutor Patrick J. Fitzgerald has just launched his own brand-new Web site.

Could it be that he's getting ready to release some new legal documents? Like, maybe, some indictments? It's certainly not the action of an office about to fold up its tents and go home."

Indictments imminent...

Cover-Up Issue Is Seen as Focus in Leak Inquiry - New York Times: "Mr. Rove and Mr. Libby have been advised that they may be in serious legal jeopardy, the lawyers said, but only this week has Mr. Fitzgerald begun to narrow the possible charges. The prosecutor has said he will not make up his mind about any charges until next week, government officials say.

With the term of the grand jury expiring in one week, though, some lawyers in the case said they were persuaded that Mr. Fitzgerald had all but made up his mind to seek indictments. None of the lawyers would speak on the record, citing the prosecutor's requests not to talk about the case."

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Colin Powell's right hand man at State finally vents

Dana Wilbank reports in the WaPo: "As Colin Powell's right-hand man at the State Department, Larry Wilkerson seethed quietly during President Bush's first term. Yesterday, Colonel Wilkerson made up for lost time.

He said the vice president and the secretary of defense created a 'Cheney-Rumsfeld cabal' that hijacked U.S. foreign policy. He said of former defense undersecretary Douglas Feith: 'Seldom in my life have I met a dumber man.' Addressing scholars, journalists and others at the New America Foundation, Wilkerson accused Bush of 'cowboyism' and said he had viewed Condoleezza Rice as 'extremely weak.' Of American diplomacy, he fretted, 'I'm not sure the State Department even exists anymore.'"

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

What really happened after the Danforth speech

I'm bringing this up from the comments section to this post from earlier this month, which was an Episcopal News Service report of a speech by John Danforth. I found this response offers some important perspective. I'm thankful that the poster shared it.
What really happened October 13.

Making its way across the Blogosphere is Senator Danforth's hesitant suggestion that the Religious Right, and the Religious Left, are equally enemies of the American polis.

October 13, 2005, at the National Cathedral in Washington, Senator Danforth preached a brief homily about "reconciliation." Christians, he said, are called to "reconciliation." He made a few jokes, and answered a few questions, and then he left.

What the Episcopalian News Service did *not* convey in their much-quoted article was the firm the rebuttal that the Senator received. As a panelist at the table that replied, and as the organizer of the conference panel to which the Senator was invited, I am appalled by the Episcopal News Service's "tweaking" of the evening's story to its own ends.

So the panelists who replied to Danforth had to answer the question: what does the Christian do about poverty? Does the Christian lobby for political reconciliation at all costs? Does the Christian tell both Christian right and Christian left to sit down?

Richard Parker of the Kennedy School for Government at Harvard spoke first. Reconciliation, he argued, has been used to tell the liberals to pipe down. The Episcopalian church, he reminded us, has already passed numerous calls for justice towards the poor: when we call upon the church to take its own resolutions seriously, and when we call upon the nation to take human life seriously, we take the merest steps towards fulfilling our duty as Christians.

David Hollinger, head of the History Department at UC Berkeley, then argued that American Protestants have always believed in reconciliation: which has caused them to take strong, liberal-leaning political stands on behalf of affirmative action, inclusion for Jews and Catholics. He reminded us that for half a century, conservative policies of exclusion of the Other have flown in the face of Christian reconciliation. Christian liberals have to act in the public realm in order to bring about those very values of "reconciliation" with those excluded from our society.

I argued that theological reconciliation -- the duty of one Christian to speak to another, much neglected in these days of polarization -- differed greatly from political reconciliation. Christ called us to stand up "right now" for what we believe, and he made clear that defense of the poor and vulnerable was an area that called for our immediate intervention. The gospel requires us to take hard stands, in order to act on the values of the Kingdom of Heaven -- values of compassion and responsibility that are abandoned everywhere by contemporary government policies.

Michael Kazin of Georgetown and Amy Sullivan of the Washington Monthly then spoke on political change, the work of Christian progressives, and the necessity for political involvement in order to effect the changes in policy and the media that we want to see.

"Reconciliation" is a funny word, and a funny thing to tell the Christian progressives who had assembled at the Cathedral to call America to further action for the poor, the disenfranchised, the outcast, and the vulnerable, whom this country has left behind. Danforth seemed uncomfortable that night. He had cut his speaking time from 90 minutes to thirty. He gave a plaintive plea for "reconciliation," and disappeared.

What had made the senator so uneasy? I think I can answer. Several weeks before the conference had sent out a press release: "Religious Leaders Condemn Bush Government for Abandonment of Duty Towards the Poor." I co-authored that press release with a monk friend. After Katrina, we argued, it'd be hard for America to still claim that it was being a Christian nation.

Such a claim made Senator Danforth understandably uneasy. He's always had an easy relationship with the Bush regime, and our political statement seemed to indicate that Danforth, by showing at the Cathedral, supported our challenge.

The Episcopal News Service has a duty towards the church to report conversations fairly. Certainly, on such a sensitive topic, it has the duty to progressive Christians who argue that the church should take a political stand on the side of poverty in accordance with Christ's message. Silencing the voice of dissent in the church is about as far from "reconciliation" as one can get.

Dowd: Naughty Harry: Lawyering Without a License

Maureen Dowd: Naughty Harry: Lawyering Without a License - New York Times: "Harriet Miers shared a little secret about herself on her application to be an associate justice: 'Earlier this year, I received notice that my dues for the District of Columbia bar were delinquent and as a result, my ability to practice law in D.C. had been suspended.'

Did that little dog on the birthday card she sent W. eat her dues?

Ms. Miers, then the White House counsel, remedied the situation after she got the letter. But weren't the Bush spinners making a case for her by reporting that she was really great at managing the paper flow when she was the president's staff secretary?

Now we discover that she could be such a scatterbrain about paperwork that a little tiny thing like being able to legally practice law slipped her mind while she was serving as the lawyer for the leader of the free world?"

Born at the Crest of the Empire: Today's Plame Gossip

Mikevotes gives us a great Plame Gossip Update.

Talking Points Memo: Bush has known all along about Rove

Talking Points Memo: by Joshua Micah Marshall: "It's slightly sugar-coated. But the New York Daily News has the scoop of the day on Plame/Fitzgerald: the president knew what Karl Rove had done from the very beginning. So all that mumbojumbo about wanting to get to the bottom of it and fire the bad actors was, to revert to the King's English, crap.

He knew all along, as was certainly clear all along."

AJC's Mike Luckovitch has a blog

He's one of the best ever political cartoonists, and now you can check out his cartoon and comments every day on the web.

Excruciating Suspense!

No Final Report Seen in Inquiry on C.I.A. Leak - New York Times: "The special counsel in the C.I.A. leak case has told associates he has no plans to issue a final report about the results of the investigation, heightening the expectation that he intends to bring indictments, lawyers in the case and law enforcement officials said yesterday.

The prosecutor, Patrick J. Fitzgerald, is not expected to take any action in the case this week, government officials said. A spokesman for Mr. Fitzgerald, Randall Samborn, declined to comment.

A final report had long been considered an option for Mr. Fitzgerald if he decided not to accuse anyone of wrongdoing, although Justice Department officials have been dubious about his legal authority to issue such a report.

By signaling that he had no plans to issue the grand jury's findings in such detail, Mr. Fitzgerald appeared to narrow his options either to indictments or closing his investigation with no public disclosure of his findings, a choice that would set off a political firestorm."

Wilma Strengthens to Category 5 Hurricane

Oh no...Not another one...: "The National Hurricane Center upgraded Hurricane Wilma this morning to an 'extremely dangerous' Category 5 and put the Florida Keys on notice that Wilma could be heading its way over the next five days."

Tuesday, October 18, 2005 Cheney resignation rumors fly

Mikevotes from Born at the Crest of the Empire wanted to make sure I saw this: "Sparked by today's Washington Post story that suggests Vice President Cheney's office is involved in the Plame-CIA spy link investigation, government officials and advisers passed around rumors that the vice president might step aside and that President Bush would elevate Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice."

Man, this stuff is fun.

Is Fitzgerald after Cheney?

Cheney's Office Is A Focus in Leak Case: "As the investigation into the leak of a CIA agent's name hurtles to an apparent conclusion, special prosecutor Patrick J. Fitzgerald has zeroed in on the role of Vice President Cheney's office, according to lawyers familiar with the case and government officials. The prosecutor has assembled evidence that suggests Cheney's long-standing tensions with the CIA contributed to the unmasking of operative Valerie Plame.

In grand jury sessions, including with New York Times reporter Judith Miller, Fitzgerald has pressed witnesses on what Cheney may have known about the effort to push back against ex-diplomat and Iraq war critic Joseph C. Wilson IV, including the leak of his wife's position at the CIA, Miller and others said. But Fitzgerald has focused more on the role of Cheney's top aides, including Chief of Staff I. Lewis 'Scooter' Libby, lawyers involved in the case said."

Monday, October 17, 2005

MyDD : Were those Diebold machines in Iraq?

MyDD: Election Fraud in Iraq? Looks like it.

How many have you read?

The Complete List | TIME Magazine - ALL-TIME 100 Novels

Born at the Crest of the Empire: More Plame - Speculation on Cheney

mikevotes at Born at the Crest of the Empire has a helpful take on the Bloomberg story that says Cheney is still a possible suspect in the Plame outing. Check it out.

John Fund (?!) exposes assurances to Dobson on Miers

OpinionJournal - John Fund on the Trail: "Two days after President Bush announced Harriet Miers's Supreme Court nomination, James Dobson of Focus on the Family raised some eyebrows by declaring on his radio program: 'When you know some of the things that I know--that I probably shouldn't know--you will understand why I have said, with fear and trepidation, that I believe Harriet Miers will be a good justice.'

Mr. Dobson quelled the controversy by saying that Karl Rove, the White House's deputy chief of staff, had not given him assurances about how a Justice Miers would vote. 'I would have loved to have known how Harriet Miers views Roe v. Wade,' Mr. Dobson said last week. 'But even if Karl had known the answer to that--and I'm certain that he didn't because the president himself said he didn't know--Karl would not have told me that. That's the most incendiary information that's out there, and it was never part of our discussion.'

It might, however, have been part of another discussion. On Oct. 3, the day the Miers nomination was announced, Mr. Dobson and other religious conservatives held a conference call to discuss the nomination. One of the people on the call took extensive notes, which I have obtained. According to the notes, two of Ms. Miers's close friends--both sitting judges--said during the call that she would vote to overturn Roe."

AMERICAblog: The normalization of treason, thanks to the GOP

John has a bold and smack-on take: "If a senior White House staffer had intentionally outed an American spy during World War II, he'd have been shot.

We're at war, George Bush keeps reminding us. We cannot continue with business as usual. A pre-9/11 mentality is deadly. Putting the lives of our troops at risk is treason.

Then why is the White House and the Republican party engaged in a concerted campaign to make treason acceptable during a time of war? That's exactly what they're doing. On numerous news shows today, Republican surrogates, their talking points ready, issued variations of the following concerning White House chief of staff Karl Rove's outing of a covert CIA agent as part of a political vendetta:

- It's the criminalization of politics
- Is this 'minor' leak really worth all this?
- Political payback is common and should not be criminalized
- Mis-speaking or mis-remembering is not a crime

Yes, the Republicans are now making light of an intentional effort to expose an undercover CIA agent, working on weapons of mass destruction in the Middle East, no less, while we are at war in the Middle East on that very issue.

The GOP has become the party of treason.

Jay Bookman: D.C. press co-opted by war lies

Bookman in the AJC talks about the DC press lemmings: "The Washington establishment had decided that the nation had to be taken to war. That much was clear. But watching from the outside, it looked for all the world as though the leading lights in the Washington press had decided to play along with that decision.

Thus, information that advanced the argument for war was printed or broadcast without skepticism. Information that might have challenged that decision or raised doubt in the public mind was squelched. High-profile Washington journalists who had become more loyal to Washington than to journalism simply did not do their job, and the country has suffered as a result.

Today, with the invasion looking like the biggest foreign policy mistake in U.S. history, a lot of people in Washington, including members of the press, are trying to claim they had no way to know. That's baloney.

The administration's prewar claim of an alliance between Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden had been transparently, ludicrously silly. Contrary to administration assertions, experts in and out of government had warned that occupying Iraq would be terribly expensive and difficult. But nobody listened, including most of the media.

Perhaps the most egregious practitioner was Judith Miller of The New York Times. She became an eager conduit for 'scoops' leaked to her by the administration. By publishing those leaks in the most respected newspaper in the country, she turned fabrication into fact and turned herself into a star. She got 'juice.'

These days, though, Miller is being squeezed of that juice like an overripe orange. U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald is investigating charges that administration officials illegally leaked the identity of an undercover CIA operative to the press, including Miller. His grand jury probe is raising uncomfortable questions about the way information is used in Washington to reward the docile and punish the inquisitive."

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Romenesko on the Miller Scandal

Romenesko has an "Extra" today in his "daily fix of media industry news, and not a bit of it is good for Judith Miller. For instance, this letter from a CBS news correspondent: "Retired CBS News correspondent Bill Lynch says the scandal is Judith Miller's revelation that she was granted a Defense Department security clearance while embedded with the WMD search team in Iraq. 'This is as close as one can get to government licensing of journalists and the New York Times -- if it knew -- should never have allowed her to become so compromised,' he writes. 'In my opinion, Miller violated her duty to report the truth by accepting a binding obligation to withhold key facts the government deems secret, even when that information might contradict the reportable 'facts.''"

Plus comments from a variety of other journalists. Check it out.

onegoodmove: Bush-Cheney--Touching Your Life

Funny faux spot. We need to laugh. Thanks to

Time: Rove thought facing perjury charge; will resign if indicted

Via The Raw Story | Rove thought facing perjury charge; Will resign if indicted: "Karl Rove has a plan, as always. Even before testifying last week for the fourth time before a grand jury probing the leak of CIA operative Valerie Plame’s identity, Rove—who as senior adviser and deputy chief of staff runs a vast swath of the West Wing—and others at the White House had concluded he would immediately resign or possibly go on unpaid leave if indicted, several legal and Administration sources familiar with the thinking tell TIME.

The same scenario would apply to I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby, the Vice President’s chief of staff, who also faces a possible indictment. A former White House official says Rove’s break with Bush would have to be clean—no “giving advice from the sidelines”—for the sake of the Administration, TIME’s Viveca Novak and Mike Allen report in this week’s issue of TIME (on newsstands Monday, Oct. 17)."

Rich in the NYT: It's Bush-Cheney, Not Rove-Libby

Another good Rich column, mostly on the White House Iraq Group (WHIG): "'Bush's Brain' is the title of James Moore and Wayne Slater's definitive account of Mr. Rove's political career. But Mr. Rove is less his boss's brain than another alliterative organ (or organs), that which provides testosterone. As we learn in 'Bush's Brain,' bad things (usually character assassination) often happen to Bush foes, whether Ann Richards or John McCain. On such occasions, Mr. Bush stays compassionately above the fray while the ruthless Mr. Rove operates below the radar, always separated by 'a layer of operatives' from any ill behavior that might implicate him. 'There is no crime, just a victim,' Mr. Moore and Mr. Slater write of this repeated pattern.

THIS modus operandi was foolproof, shielding the president as well as Mr. Rove from culpability, as long as it was about winning an election. The attack on Mr. Wilson, by contrast, has left them and the Cheney-Libby tag team vulnerable because it's about something far bigger: protecting the lies that took the country into what the Reagan administration National Security Agency director, Lt. Gen. William Odom, recently called 'the greatest strategic disaster in United States history.'

Whether or not Mr. Fitzgerald uncovers an indictable crime, there is once again a victim, but that victim is not Mr. or Mrs. Wilson; it's the nation. It is surely a joke of history that even as the White House sells this weekend's constitutional referendum as yet another 'victory' for democracy in Iraq, we still don't know the whole story of how our own democracy was hijacked on the way to war."

Mitchell at E&P: Keller Must Fire Miller and Apologize to Readers

After 'NY Times' Probe: Keller Must Fire Miller, and Apologize to Readers: "It’s not enough that Judith Miller, we learned Saturday, is taking some time off and “hopes” to return to the New York Times newsroom. As the newspaper’s devastating account of her Plame games -- and her own first-person sidebar -- make clear, she should be promptly dismissed for crimes against journalism, and her own newspaper. And Bill Keller, executive editor, who let her get away with it, owes readers, at the minimum, an apology instead of merely hailing his paper’s long-delayed analysis and saying that readers can make of it what they will.

Let’s put aside for the moment Miller exhibiting the same selective memory favored by her former friends and sources in the White House, in claiming that for the life of her she cannot recall how the name of “Valerie Flame” got into the reporter’s notebook she took to her interview with Libby; how she learned about the CIA operative from other sources (whom she can’t name or even recall when it happened).

Bad enough, but let’s stick to the journalism issues. Saturday's Times article, without calling for Miller’s dismissal, or Keller’s apology, made the case for both actions in this pithy, frank, and brutal assessment: 'The Times incurred millions of dollars in legal fees in Ms. Miller's case. It limited its own ability to cover aspects of one of the biggest scandals of the day. Even as the paper asked for the public's support, it was unable to answer its questions.'

It followed that paragraph with Keller's view: 'It's too early to judge.'

Like Keller says, make of it what you will. My view: Miller did far more damage to her newspaper than did Jayson Blair, and that’s not even counting her WMD reporting, which hurt and embarrassed the paper in other ways. "

UPDATE: Arianna's take is well worth reading at HuffPo.

Saturday, October 15, 2005

NY Times Spills on the Miller Case...Whitewash?

The Miller Case: From a Name on a Pad to Jail, and Back - New York Times: "Ms. Miller spent 85 days in jail for refusing to testify and reveal her confidential source, then relented. On Sept. 30, she told the grand jury that her source was I. Lewis Libby, the vice president's chief of staff. But she said he did not reveal Ms. Plame's name.

And when the prosecutor in the case asked her to explain how 'Valerie Flame' appeared in the same notebook she used in interviewing Mr. Libby, Ms. Miller said she 'didn't think' she heard it from him. 'I said I believed the information came from another source, whom I could not recall,' she wrote on Friday, recounting her testimony for an article that appears today.

Whether Ms. Miller's testimony will prove valuable to the prosecution remains unclear, as do its ramifications for press freedom. Yet an examination of Ms. Miller's decision not to testify, and then to do so, offers fresh information about her role in the investigation and how The New York Times turned her case into a cause."


Asked what she regretted about The Times's handling of the matter, Jill Abramson, a managing editor, said: "The entire thing."

Preaching With a Vengeance: WaPo on Pat Robertson

Interesting portrait of a crazy man: "As Robertson's strange public statements have mounted in recent years, his political clout has diminished, and even fellow Christian leaders have tired of defending or explaining him, some observers say.

'Whether there are a lot of moms in Alabama or Kansas or Missouri who watch Pat [on television] every day while ironing, his own influence among the larger religious conservative movement has been on the wane for some time and is largely torpedoing,' says Michael Cromartie, director of the Evangelicals and Civic Life Project at the Ethics and Public Policy Center.

'On the conservative side politically, everybody's avoiding this guy and trying to figure out how not to make him mad and, at the same time, not make him an ally,' he said."

Friday, October 14, 2005

Digby on the Leak story

Hullabaloo: "This story is the weirdest kabuki dance I've ever seen. I thought it was absurd when the news anchors held the exit poll results but winked and nodded all day about the outcome. (That's become so bizarre after the last two elections, however, that their winks and nods will be meaningless in any close election.) But this is ridiculous. We have big time reporters in the Washington press corps who know a lot more about what is going on than they are saying. A number of them have been interviewed by the Justice department or testified. They are part of the story. And yet they pretend that they are 'objective' reporters who have no personal knowledge of events and don't even feel the need to issue a disclaimer saying that they had been interviewed or they testified and can't talk about it.

I have been hard on Judith Miller for not writing anything, but I'm beginning to really believe that she is in legal jeopardy. (That doen't excuse the NY Times, of course, for their failures.) For the life of me, I can't understand any journalistic ethics that would hold that it is ok for Chris matthews and Andrea Mitchell to discuss the ins and outs of a highly detailed story, speculate about the prosecutor and who he's talking to, without having to say that they are personally involved in the case. But then I'm just an amoral, psuedonymous blogger from nowhere who can't be trusted. "

Street Prophets: America Has A Leadership Problem

Chuck Currie at Street Prophets: "The House Majority Leader has been indicted.

The Senate Majority Leader has been subpoenaed.

The White House is under investigation for playing politics with national security.

Who can the Republicans turn to in their hour of need?"

Check it out.

Born at the Crest... has fascinating Pew Poll numbers

Born at the Crest of the Empire: Pew poll shows people are ready for something different than Bush, by a wide margin.: "This country needs new ideas and new leadership. Not because of the crimes and past actions of this administration, although I think they should go for that, but more importantly for the future well-being of the country. People no longer believe that this group of leaders will make things better."

Danforth on the religious left

Danforth holds mirror to religious-political right, left
By Dana Wilkie (Episcopal News Service)

[WASHINGTON] While underscoring the importance of keeping the Episcopal Church an “inclusive” body of believers, former Sen. John Danforth on Thursday cautioned National Cathedral conference-goers against becoming a “mirror image” of the Religious Right.

Danforth, an ordained minister, a former United Nations ambassador and a Republican, spoke at the opening plenary session of the “Values, Vision and the Via Media” conference, a three-day event designed to explore how moderate and progressive people of faith can make their voices heard in a national values debate that many believe has been usurped by conservative Christian groups.

“While the real problem has come from the Religious Right… it’s not impossible that the Religious Left becomes the mirror image of the Religious Right,” said Danforth, who addressed an audience of about 150 in the cathedral Nave. “It’s possible that people on the left can become as equally sure of themselves as people on the right.”

The conference, which is being held Oct. 13-15, explores how Anglicans have historically articulated the progressive Christian values held by moderate Americans.

Conferees include theologians, activists, journalists and lay people, and the agenda features case studies, panel discussions and plenary sessions to explore how people can make a difference in the areas of economic justice, the environment, family values, peacemaking, racism and social oppression.

Saying the Episcopal Church has long been a beacon of inclusiveness, Danforth said it must map a bolder strategy for addressing conservatives in the political arena who claim to know God’s mind -- to the exclusion of other believers. The church, he said, must model the ability to marry honest, vigorous debate with inclusiveness.

“The thrust of what the (Old Testament) prophets were talking about was to rail against idolatry… against the false gods, against Baal, against the worship of something other than the holy… God,” said Danforth. “And when we create a political system that we represent as being ‘God’s’ political system, we are Baal worshipers.”

Several times, Danforth’s audience interrupted his comments with applause, and conference goers gave him a standing ovation after his 30-minute remarks.

The Rev. Howard Anderson, director of Cathedral College, introduced Danforth by noting that “you never know quite what to call him.”

“Is it ambassador?” Anderson joked. “Is it senator?”

With that, Anderson introduced Danforth as “Senator, Father, Ambassador John Danforth.”

The idea for the conference took root after last year’s presidential election, when progressive Christians organized to protest attempts by the Religious Right to co-opt the name of the church in America. Exit polls indicated that voters associated “moral values” with narrow and divisive issues -- such as abortion and gay marriage -- instead of a broader Christian agenda. This, experts agree, focused public attention on the church as guardian of personal morality rather than the church as defender against racism, poverty and war.

Conservative groups have countered that liberal Christians do have a voice in the values debate, but that more Americans support conservative Christians on many values.

Danforth cautioned, however, that “you have to be a little… humble about claiming to know what’s God’s will.”

“When people believe that they’re fighting a religious battle, nothing is more energizing then ‘I’m on God’s side,’ ” he said. “But there’s also nothing more divisive than that. Because once you believe that you’re on God’s side, therefore people who disagree with you are not on God’s side, or are even enemies of God. Then there’s no room for the… stuff of politics. And there’s a lot of room for real hatred and animosity and bitterness.”

Recapturing the values debate from the Religious Right was among the subjects conference goers discussed during Thursday seminars, and it continued to be a popular topic of conversation among those seated in the cathedral as they waited for Danforth to speak.

Cindy Marcillas, who was visiting from San Francisco to attend the conference, said she hoped Danforth’s remarks would encourage conference-goers to “take back the values debate” from the Religious Right.

“It’s appalling how far right this administration has gone,” said Marcillas. “It’s downright frightening.”

Danforth, however, urged his listeners to recognize the worth of arguments being made by those who identify with the Religious Right.

“One of the points they have to make is what they believe is the loss of our moral compass as a country, and they’re right,” Danforth said. “They’re concerned about the coarsening of America, and all you have to do is turn on the TV or go to the movies.

“They’re concerned with respect to the institutions of marriage and the family -- that we have lost our bearings. And when you look at the divorce rate and the out-of-wedlock births, they’ve got a point.

“You may disagree with everything they say and every position they take and every candidate they support, but they are our brothers and sisters in Christ, and they too read the Bible, and they too try to be faithful.”

The question of whether religion in politics should be divisive, Danforth said, is itself debatable. He noted that some people use Scripture to support the notion that religious beliefs should divide, while others use the Bible to support the view that it shouldn’t.

“I believe that the heart of the New Testament is the message of reconciliation and inclusiveness,” said Danforth, who represented Missouri in the U.S. Senate for 18 years before retiring in 1994. He is ordained to the clergy of the Episcopal Church and serves as honorary associate at St. Alban’s.

Danforth referred to the presidential-election controversy that erupted last year when the Catholic archbishop of St. Louis – Danforth’s hometown – said that politicians who profess to be Catholic but don’t adhere to Catholic teachings should not take Holy Communion.

Many believed the remarks by Archbishop Raymond Burke were aimed at Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry of Massachusetts because of his stands on abortion, stem-cell research and gay marriage.

“How do we respond?” Danforth asked. “We should do a much better job of making it clear that communion (in the Episcopal Church) is open… and then let God sort it out.”

President opposes women's rights

Born at the Crest of the Empire reveals how some things never change.

Dobson spiritual empire wields political clout - The Boston Globe

Interesting piece on the Antichrist in the Boston Globe: "Dobson stands in the vanguard of a crusade by evangelical Christians to place their agenda at the forefront of public debate over presidential and congressional elections, judicial appointments, gay marriage, and the ''life issues' of abortion, euthanasia, and embryonic stem-cell research. Dobson, 69, is arguably the dominant ideologist of the movement.

His influence is so considerable among conservatives that, before President Bush nominated Harriet E. Miers for the Supreme Court, White House adviser Karl Rove reportedly called Dobson with private assurances about Miers's judicial philosophy."

NYTimes: Krugman on Bush's image implosion

Questions of Character - New York Times: "George W. Bush, I once wrote, 'values loyalty above expertise' and may have 'a preference for advisers whose personal fortunes are almost entirely bound up with his own.' And he likes to surround himself with 'obsequious courtiers.'

Lots of people are saying things like that these days. But those quotes are from a column published on Nov. 19, 2000.

I don't believe that I'm any better than the average person at judging other people's character. I got it right because I said those things in the context of a discussion of Mr. Bush's choice of economic advisers, a subject in which I do have some expertise.

But many people in the news media do claim, at least implicitly, to be experts at discerning character - and their judgments play a large, sometimes decisive role in our political life. The 2000 election would have ended in a chad-proof victory for Al Gore if many reporters hadn't taken a dislike to Mr. Gore, while portraying Mr. Bush as an honest, likable guy. The 2004 election was largely decided by the image of Mr. Bush as a strong, effective leader.

So it's important to ask why those judgments are often so wrong.

Right now, with the Bush administration in meltdown on multiple issues, we're hearing a lot about President Bush's personal failings. But what happened to the commanding figure of yore, the heroic leader in the war on terror? The answer, of course, is that the commanding figure never existed: Mr. Bush is the same man he always was. All the character flaws that are now fodder for late-night humor were fully visible, for those willing to see them, during the 2000 campaign.

And President Bush the great leader is far from the only fictional character, bearing no resemblance to the real man, created by media images."

Worth reading the whole column. Sorry if you aren't a subscriber!

Media Matters: What conservative Christians really believe about homosexuality

Lou Sheldon suggested exorcism is necessary to ... [Media Matters]: "WILDMON: And let me just say one other thing, and we'll go on to our next caller. And I'm not a psychologist, or a psychiatrist, or a social scientist, or anything like that. But I have heard from people who know and understand these things that two of the most difficult sins or bondage to break out of are alcoholism and homosexuality.

SHELDON: Oh definitely, because the groove is built, and I've talked to many psychotherapists who are Christian, and they say once you enter into that lifestyle -- Now, you may have gender identity conflict -- that's the medical-scientific name for homosexuality -- where you're attracted to the same-sex person, but once you enter into the culture, into the music, into the gay bars, into the gay literature, into the gay theater, and all of that kind of -- and gay travel -- once you immerse yourself into that, you have really put yourself into a groove that only a sort of an exorcism can release you from.


Thursday, October 13, 2005

White House caught in another lie

AMERICAblog: "CNN just showed video of the 'rehearsal' where the soldiers asked Bush the questions in advance so Bush could practice his responses. The White House initially said this was an unscripted event. And now they got caught lying, again, to the media and the public regarding the war.

Mission Accomplished."

Here's the video from Crooks and Liars.

UPDATE: Mike at Born at the Crest of the Empire (one of my favorite blogs now) has a thorough review of the situation here.

The Raw Story: Cheney's office opposed Miers nomination to court

The Raw Story has WSJ's John Fund's story about the imploding White House: "Veteran conservative columnist and pundit John Fund asserts in the Wall Street Journal today that the offices of Vice President Dick Cheney and Attorney General Alberto Gonzales tried to block the nomination of Harriet Miers to the Supreme Court, RAW STORY has learned.

'A last minute effort was made to block the choice of Ms. Miers, including the offices of Vice President Cheney and Attorney General Alberto Gonzales,' Fund claims. 'It fell on deaf ears.'

'Indeed, even internal advice was shunned,' Fund adds. White House Chief of Staff Andrew 'Card is said to have shouted down objections to Ms. Miers at staff meetings. A senator attending the White House swearing-in of John Roberts four days before the Miers selection was announced was struck by how depressed White House staffers were during discussion of the next nominee. He says their reaction to him could have been characterized as, 'Oh brother, you have no idea what's coming.'"

Has Richard Cohen lost his mind?

Thanks to John in DC on AmericaBlog for writing exactly what I was thinking when I read Cohen this morning:
"I used to love this guy. He was one of the best op ed writers in the country. Now, I don't know what he is. His op ed in Thursday's Washington Post about how Patrick Fitzgerald should just quit and go home... What, did karl Rove kidnap Cohen's cat?

To wit:

This is rarely considered a crime. In the Plame case, it might technically be one, but it was not the intent of anyone to out a CIA agent and have her assassinated (which happened once) but to assassinate the character of her husband. This is an entirely different thing. She got hit by a ricochet.

Ok, that's just stupid. No one would write such a thing unless they truly had no idea what it means to work with classified information or the intelligence community or in the entire field of foreign affairs. ANYONE who has dealt with highly classified information and CIA agents, and I have from my time on the Hill and during a summer job at State, is acutely aware that outing the identity of an undercover CIA agent - let alone one who works on weapons of mass destruction issues in the Middle East - is an extremely dangerous venture. I mean, it's hard to even explain what an obvious self-explanatory point this is.

To suggest that their intent wasn't to kill her is like suggesting that when your husbands shoots a gun at your head his intent was only to scare you because he was pissed off. Well, maybe it was. But he was also quite aware that the end result was going to be your death."

Go keep reading.

Olbermann reveals a very interesting set of coincidences

The Nexus of politics and terror - Bloggermann - "Last Thursday on Countdown, I referred to the latest terror threat - the reported bomb plot against the New York City subway system - in terms of its timing. President Bush’s speech about the war on terror had come earlier the same day, as had the breaking news of the possible indictment of Karl Rove in the CIA leak investigation.

I suggested that in the last three years there had been about 13 similar coincidences - a political downturn for the administration, followed by a “terror event” - a change in alert status, an arrest, a warning.

We figured we’d better put that list of coincidences on the public record. We did so this evening on the television program, with ten of these examples. The other three are listed at the end of the main list, out of chronological order. The contraction was made purely for the sake of television timing considerations, and permitted us to get the live reaction of the former Undersecretary of Homeland Security, Asa Hutchinson."

SEC Issues Subpoena To Frist, Sources Say

WaPo reports the SEC is after Frist, and the good news keeps on comin': "Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.) has been subpoenaed to turn over personal records and documents as federal authorities step up a probe of his July sales of HCA Inc. stock, according to sources familiar with the investigation.

The Securities and Exchange Commission issued the subpoena within the past two weeks, after initial reports that Frist, the Senate's top Republican official, was under scrutiny by the agency and the Justice Department for possible violations of insider trading laws."

The religious litmus test

Washington Post reports on the role of religion in the Meirs nomination: "Liberals jumped on Dobson's comments to accuse the White House of imposing a religious litmus test, or of invoking faith to signal to conservatives that Miers would rule as they wish on such questions as restricting abortion rights. Ralph G. Neas, president of People for the American Way, noted that conservatives complained when anyone questioned the influence of faith during the recent confirmation of Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr.

'It's hypocrisy doubled and quadrupled,' Neas said. 'What's wrong for John Roberts can't be right for Harriet Miers. . . . The president and his people are using repeated assurances about Miers's religion to send not-so-subtle messages about how she might rule on the court on issues important to the president's political supporters.'

Sen. Patrick J. Leahy (Vt.), the Judiciary Committee's ranking Democrat, signaled his party may have more questions about the Rove-Dobson communications. 'The rest of America, including the Senate, deserves to know what he and the White House know,' Leahy said of Dobson in a statement. 'We don't confirm justices of the Supreme Court on a wink and a nod. And a litmus test is no less a litmus test by using whispers and signals.'"

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Civilization continues to crumble

Recalibrating DC Heroes for a Grittier Century - New York Times: "If there was ever a job for Superman, this is it.

DC Comics is in the midst of a major effort to revitalize the company's fabled superheroes for the 21st century and better connect with today's readers. The undertaking, which began in 2002, has involved a critical look at DC's characters - from Aquaman and Batman to Zatanna - and developing story lines that sometimes have heroes engage in decidedly unheroic deeds.

One of the goals, DC executives say, is to hold on to a more sophisticated readership.

'Our characters were created in the 1940's and 50's and 60's,' Dan DiDio, the DC Comics vice president for editorial, said. 'There's a lot of elements where we've had a disconnect with the reader base of today.'

Readers now, Mr. DiDio said, 'are more savvy, and they're looking for more complexity and more depth for them to be following the stories on a monthly basis.' A crucial phase of the campaign starts today with the release of 'Infinite Crisis,' the first of a seven-part monthly series that will bring together all the story threads - and the superheroes - that have been evolving in separate series over the past three years."