Monday, February 27, 2006

Abramoff, Linder and Puerto Rico

The article I mentioned in my last post is up at Raw Story: Georgia congressman failed to declare Abramoff client trip, then supported client's efforts.

In 1998, Congressman John Linder and his wife went to Puerto Rico on an all expenses paid trip paid for by a client of convicted lobbyist Jack Abramoff, Future of Puerto Rico Inc., though you won't find that information in his campaign filings (just the financial disclosure statement with his personal income tax filing).

Why did Linder go to Puerto Rico?

Good question.

While he was an opponent of the group's key lobbying issue in 1998 - support for H.R. 856 which would provide a process leading to full self-government for Puerto Rico - Linder did vote yea on future bills that the group was paying Abramoff's team to lobby.

According to House Ethic Rules:

The Ethics Reform Act further permits ``the acceptance of travel expenses for the spouse or other family member in connection with any substantial participation event or fact-finding activity.'' (FOOTNOTE 52) The clear intent of this provision is to allow the traveling Member, officer, or employee to bring one relative (as defined in House Rule 43) at the sponsor's expense on a fact-finding or substantial participation trip.

Since Linder didn't list the trip separately with his campaign filings it's unknown how much the trip cost or why he went.

Only Linder knows what "fact-finding" he engaged in in August of 1998.


Michael Smith's blogging (what about me?)

Hat tip to my friend, Suskind, who may just be the world's biggest fan of Michael Smith, the British journalist who broke the story on the Downing Street Memo (memos) last year.

In a diary at Booman Tribune, Suskind pointed out that Smith now has a blog at

Last June I wrote a long-ass post based on Smith's work called 'Spikes of Activity' In The DSM which attracted a lot of attention, followed by two articles at Raw Story which I worked on with John Byrne: U.S. changed Iraq policy to begin airstrikes months before war and Clinton bombing of Iraq far exceeded Bush's in run-up to war; Bush 'spikes of activity' questioned.

(Apologies again for the lack of posts the last few days. I've been working a lot the last few weeks...and finally catching up on some much-needed rest for the first time in I guess I decided to take a slight break from blogging here.)

Either later today or tomorrow (hopefully soon), there may be a new Abramoff article up at Raw Story that I've been working on for the last month with John keep an eye out for that. Peace.


Friday, February 24, 2006

Separated At Hatch?

Washington Post Online chat with TV Columnist Lisa de Moraes from Friday, November 18, 2005:

Pittsburgh, Pa.: (apologies if this message is coming through multiple times. I kept getting an error message while trying to submit through Firefox, so now I'm trying I.E.)

What's with Mallard Fillmore mentioning Veronica Mars four times this week? Sally Forth mentioned it (and Rescue Me) also this week. Is this really a question for Gene Weingarten?

I love the show, but I'd almost rather NOT see a plot line on Mallard Fillmore about filling out petitions and stuff. It's just strange.

Lisa de Moraes: It can only be part of a sinister marketing campaign hatched by the shows's publicists to use cartoon ducks and chicks to manipulate their readers to watch their low-ish rated UPN series. Evil genius, I say, though I'm not sure the cartoon duck audience and the Veronica Mars audience are one in the same. They might better have Better had they placed the pitches in Zits...Zippy the Pinhead? And, by the way, Mallard is ill-informed in saying that the timeslot is killing "Mars." The show is getting better numbers this year than last -- 3.0 million viewers versus 2.7 million viewers at same point last season, thanks in part to its "America's Next Top Model" leadin.

Strips on Veronica Mars by Bruce Tinsley's Daffy Fillmore: link.


Wednesday, February 22, 2006

CBS kills stories, don't they?

David Martin, Pentagon correspondent for CBSNews, reveals at the Public Eye blog that he killed a story an hour before it was scheduled to air on national television after the Pentagon complained:

This week I killed a story about the battle against Improvised Explosive Devices after a senior military officer told me it contained information that would be helpful to the enemy. I didn’t find his argument about how it would help the enemy very persuasive, but because there’s a war on I decided to give him the benefit of the doubt. I’ve done that a number of times over the years, and each time it’s turned out that going with the story wouldn’t have caused any harm. It’s always a difficult decision, made more difficult by the fact that it always seems to happen late in the day when you’re under deadline pressure. When I killed the story on Thursday, it was 5:30 – an hour to air – and I left the Evening News broadcast without a lead story which they had been counting on all day. Not a good career move.

What was the story exactly?

The story I killed dealt with specific techniques and how well they were or weren’t working against IEDs. It wasn’t as simple as “you report this and American soldiers will die,” but I could see how it might conceivably be news the enemy could use to make their IEDs more effective.

Wonder if they were going to report something like this? Pay special attention to the last paragraph at that link.

What exactly is the news value in such a story?

Why did David Martin pursue this story in the first place?

I just don't understand why any news organization (or the Website that I linked to which is run by many ex-military personnel) would think that a story which contains information on what IEDs don't do as good a job of killing our troops as other IEDs would be of any news value interest to anyone except IED makers.

It's too bad David Martin and CBS News seem to be drawing blanks on what stories they should be covering because there's a million-and-one stories just in regards to the (haven't written this in a while) illegal, immoral invasion of Iraq that they could be writing which wouldn't specifically be providing useful knowledge to the enemy (specifically about the why and the when that we went to war in the first place which CBS News hasn't exactly led the way on).

It's sad that it took a senior military officer to get Martin to kill the story. It should have been a CBS producer who stopped it in the first place.

But Mr. Martin, though I'm not at all pissed that the world didn't get to see your piece-of, don't think you're off the hook.

David Martin and CBSNews now have a Dick Cheney problem.

I’ve done that a number of times over the years, and each time it’s turned out that going with the story wouldn’t have caused any harm.

Do you mind filling us in, David?

What other stories did you kill? Why did you kill them? Who asked you to kill them? What other stories haven't you killed that may have been asked of you to kill? Why haven't you reported on them later if you believe they "wouldn't have caused any harm"?


Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Scooter's got a Website

I have a little something at Raw Story about the Website set up to collect funds to help the defense of Cheney aide Scooter Libby, indicted last October during the Plame leak investigation: Libby legal defense Website registered last December.

Aside from revealing that the site was designed months ago, my article also notes that Barbara Comstock's name doesn't seem to appear anywhere on it.


Monday, February 20, 2006

Emptywheel on Cheney's ranch party

Forget Time and Newsweek (though both have good stuff this week), get thee to The Next Hurrah and read emptywheel's What Was Dick Really Hiding?.

(sorry...been working mad hours this weekend so i haven't been able to do much here)


Sunday, February 19, 2006

'The Perfect Piss Storm' by Flemming Rose

Unless I missed this before, the biggest revelation in an editorial written by Flemming Rose, editor for the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten, for the Washington Post, is that he didn't publish offensive cartoons to piss people off but to prove to the world that pissing on the Koran should be a universal right:

...I commissioned the cartoons in response to several incidents of self-censorship in Europe caused by widening fears and feelings of intimidation in dealing with issues related to Islam. And I still believe that this is a topic that we Europeans must confront, challenging moderate Muslims to speak out. The idea wasn't to provoke gratuitously -- and we certainly didn't intend to trigger violent demonstrations throughout the Muslim world. Our goal was simply to push back self-imposed limits on expression that seemed to be closing in tighter.

At the end of September, a Danish standup comedian said in an interview with Jyllands-Posten that he had no problem urinating on the Bible in front of a camera, but he dared not do the same thing with the Koran.

This was the culmination of a series of disturbing instances of self-censorship., go, Flemming...

We have a tradition of satire when dealing with the royal family and other public figures, and that was reflected in the cartoons. The cartoonists treated Islam the same way they treat Christianity, Buddhism, Hinduism and other religions. And by treating Muslims in Denmark as equals they made a point: We are integrating you into the Danish tradition of satire because you are part of our society, not strangers. The cartoons are including, rather than excluding, Muslims.

Is that beautiful or what? Perhaps now that Mr. Rose is on "holiday" from his job (though WaPo fails to mention this relevant fact), he might be able to turn this touching story into an episode of Barney. Can't you just feel the love?

The cartoons do not in any way demonize or stereotype Muslims.

Notice how he doesn't mention which cartoons in that statement. Because he can't possible be saying that a "cartoon" of a Muslim that has horns sticking out of his turban does not in any way "demonize." I'm no art critic...but I'm pretty sure that sticking horns on someone in a picture unmistakably qualifies as demonization.

One cartoon -- depicting the prophet with a bomb in his turban -- has drawn the harshest criticism. Angry voices claim the cartoon is saying that the prophet is a terrorist or that every Muslim is a terrorist. I read it differently: Some individuals have taken the religion of Islam hostage by committing terrorist acts in the name of the prophet. They are the ones who have given the religion a bad name. The cartoon also plays into the fairy tale about Aladdin and the orange that fell into his turban and made his fortune. This suggests that the bomb comes from the outside world and is not an inherent characteristic of the prophet.

I found this quote by a commenter at Media Channel:

Look, I just saw the cartoons that have been causing such an uproar. I think that if the cartoonist just let the public know that they were not depicting their profit Mohammed but instead the ever popular Jafar from Aladdin then peace would prevail.

Flemming Rose helped create "The Perfect Piss Storm." It would be nice if he spent time on his "vacation" trying to help clean it up, instead of defending the indefensible: pretending that two of the twelve cartoons that are undeniably offensive aren't.

Perhaps fable might have been better to use than "fairy tale," but it's rather obvious that Flemming Rose doesn't give a shit. Right wingers have backed him up all the way. And now it seems that The Washington Post has allowed him to pen his own fa-fable which contains not one hint of the anti-immigration views which seem to have also "inspired" the paper to provocatively publish:

The cartoons were published amid the growth of an anti-immigrant sentiment in Denmark, reflected in the rise of the far-right Danish People's Party, which holds 13 percent of the seats in the Danish parliament. The party has helped to push through the toughest anti-immigration rules on the continent, including a prohibition on Danish citizens 24 or younger bringing in spouses from outside Denmark.

Nope. Flemming Rose doesn't talk about any of that. Flemming Rose just gives the people what he wants: absolution for their racism.


Saturday, February 18, 2006

Lynx, lincs, links

Jay Rosen says Dick Cheney Did Not Make a Mistake By Not Telling the Press He Shot a Guy. Go find out why (though regular Press Think readers should probably be able to guess).

John from The Funniest Thing This Side of Rhode Island has this hysterical spoof of the Cheney hunting party shooting called The Hunting Crashers.

A few days ago, Pam Spaulding wrote a must-reader, with the most provocative of titles: Dems to homos: re-closet yourself in 2006. Mike Rogers at BlogActive, who has also been attacking the attacks against what moderate Dems call "single issues," peered into the crystal ball to see how the RNC might exploit Paul Hackett's pull-out from the Ohio Senate race.

BarbinMD explores Cheney hunting party shooting inconsistencies.

On a related note, John Pomfret at the Washington Post has this little morsel:

Cheney has said he was standing 30 yards from Whittington when he fired. But hunters and firearms experts questioned whether birdshot from a 28-gauge shotgun, known as a "gentleman's gun" because the ammunition is expensive and the firearm is light, could have passed through Whittington's clothes and entered his thoracic cavity at such a distance.

Jim Wilson, the retired sheriff of Crockett County in West Texas and the handguns editor at Shooting Times, said that he doubted Whittington was that far from Cheney.

"At 30 yards that shot pattern is going to have spread quite a bit," he said. "You could put a person's eye out, but hitting a person's body, the shot won't penetrate very far."

Calvin Woodward and Nancy Benac have lots more in an Associated Press article: "VP Accident Tale Filled With Discrepancies."

...more coming...


Thursday, February 16, 2006

Brit Hume friendly and not-so-friendly

Except for a few misteps, Fox News' Brit Hume did better than many would have expected in his exclusively exclusive interview with Vice President Dick Cheney today (transcript).

In between perhaps his two finest moments of the interview (finest in terms of asking hard, pointed questions, reacting off of what the Vice President had just said), Hume suffered one of those misteps.

This came after Cheney explained why he waited until the next day before even discussing calling the media (which is quite preposterous or at least it would be if it were a scene in any political movie, book or tv show):

Q Well, what -- you must have recognized, though, with all your experience in Washington, that this was going to be a big story.

THE VICE PRESIDENT: Well, true, it was unprecedented. I've been in the business for a long time and never seen a situation quite like this. We've had experiences where the President has been shot; we've never had a situation where the Vice President shot somebody.

Then Hume made the mistake of leading Cheney and letting him repeat almost simultameously the same words back:

Q Not since Aaron Burr.

THE VICE PRESIDENT: Not since Aaron Burr --

Q Different circumstances.

THE VICE PRESIDENT: Different circumstances.

Different circumstances, indeed (it's hard to resist).

But then Hume went for the throat:

Q Well, did it occur to you that sooner was -- I mean, the one thing that we've all kind of learned over the last several decades is that if something like this happens, as a rule sooner is better.

THE VICE PRESIDENT: Well, if it's accurate. If it's accurate. And this is a complicated story.

Q But there were some things you knew. I mean, you knew the man had been shot, you knew he was injured, you knew he was in the hospital, and you knew you'd shot him.


Q And you knew certainly by sometime that evening that the relevant members of his family had been called. I realize you didn't know the outcome, and you could argue that you don't know the outcome today, really, finally.

Washington Post reporter and media critic, Howard Kurtz, from Brit Hume, Cheney's Choice For a Straight Shooter:

Mary Matalin, a former Cheney aide and informal adviser who accompanied him to the interview in the vice president's ceremonial office, said the vice president likes Hume but that "our objective was to get the whole story out in a consecutive way. He wanted a long form. We had no desire for anything other than comprehensive and hard questions."

Matalin said Cheney considered holding a news conference, but that "would have meant a lot of grandstanding" by reporters. "Everyone asks the same questions so they can get on their networks," she said. Matalin said she didn't think "any purpose would be served" by the vice president doing further interviews because every news organization will excerpt the Fox session.

Hume, who has known Cheney since he was a House member from Wyoming, said he believes the vice president chose Fox because it is the top-rated cable network, and picked him because he hosts the only Washington-oriented hour on Fox's schedule.

From my Raw Story article:

Hume later told Fox Anchor Shepard Smith that he tried to get Cheney to admit that he made a mistake in the handling of the incident, but was unable to do so, and that the vice president was "utterly unapologetic" about that aspect. Hume wondered how Cheney felt about leaving White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan and others hung "out to dry." But the Vice President thought that the White House staff had handled the matter appropriately.

It was obvious from Hume's body, face and verbal language that he wasn't satisfied with Vice President's "utterly unapologetic" stance regarding - assumingly - every single action taken by the entire staff of the White House since he accidently shot his friend.

There were other questions Hume could have asked, but it certainly was better than I expected.

As I wrote at Raw Story:

Fox News is generally more favorable to the Bush Administration than the other major cable news channels, so there may be some additional criticism hurled at the Vice President's decision to appear in a friendlier venue, instead of holding a press conference himself, where he could answer questions from the White House press corps, many of whom are still upset about the nearly 24-hour delay in reporting the incident in the first place.

Perhaps Kurtz is a Raw reader:

Fox News is widely viewed as more sympathetic to the Bush administration than the other networks, particularly through its high-profile talk show hosts. Asked about suggestions that Cheney chose Fox to assure himself of a friendly forum, Hume said: "If they want to say that, that's fine. Let people look at the transcript of the interview."

I accidently caught Bill O'Reilly's show later in the evening, where he kept arguing with guests and rationality that this wasn't a story. While I don't think the Vice President's going to be able to get away without holding a press conference, at the very least we were spared the sight of O'Reilly holding hands with Cheney and walking him through an interview (where they could have addressed more important things like the war against Christmas, I presume).

Some on the right don't want to hear it...but the admission of alcohol consumption by Cheney should fuel the fire higher.

For even if Cheney wasn't under the influence when he shot Whittington, as the Times points out:

"Shooting Safety Rules" of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department warn, "Don't drink alcohol or take drugs before or while handling firearms or bow and arrows."

Who can say what kind of state Cheney was in when he resumed hunting anywhere from one to two hours after enjoying a beer?

And Armstrong, Cheney's designated witness, has been telling different stories about alcohol all over the mainstream media.

How come US Ambassador to Switzerland Pamela Willeford isn't being called on to the carpet? She was the closest person to the accident, plus she works for the federal government.

(But don't believe that silly rumour-mongering out there, Willeford's husband was also at the ranch, so there isn't any Swiss Vice Connection)


Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Raw Story coverage of Cheney's Incident

Cheney hunting party shooting press conference day, I have two reports at RAW STORY: Vice President Cheney talks to Fox News about accidental shooting and Press conference on condition of lawyer accidently shot by Vice President.


Is Cheney's shot the new Dean 'scream'?

Richard B. Simon left a great analysis of what the media/blog/everyone frenzy is all about in regards to the Cheney hunting party shooting, on a thread at Press Think.

Here's excerpts:

I read Michelle Malkin's column about this, and was struck when she bemoaned that this event would eclipse the rest of Cheney's service to his country.

It made me think of Howard Dean, and understand what happened to him a bit better. I've never understood why the caricature of Dean was so different from what I know about his actual record as a Governor.

I never quite understood why the "Dean scream" became his defining moment.

Yesterday, I thought about -- I think it was Matt Taibbi, who I saw recounting his time on the road during campaign '04, speaking about how the Press Corps sort of has a sense of a candidate and pokes and pokes until they know whether or not their sense of that candidate is accurate. They poked and poked Dean to find out whether he was as "prickly" as the caricature -- and they found that he was.

So "the scream" became a really handy metaphor -- synechdoche really -- for this public persona as a wildman.

In the same way, I see this happening with Cheney in the press.


Taken by itself, this event is minor, and clearly an accident. But it has become a metaphor -- an instant metaphor -- and an apt metaphor for so much of how this White House does business. That's why we all knew that the night comedians would have a field day. Humor traffics in metaphor and analogy. It is Iraq and it is secrecy. It is aiming at Bin Ladin but hitting Saddam instead. And as far as the press is concerned, it is the unwillingness to engage.

Although I snagged most of his comment, the rest of it is also worth reading. Here's a link to the Jay Rosen article that it was left at (Simon's was an off-topic comment...the post is about "a new spin-off site called Blue Plate Special, written by students in [Rosen's] blogging 101 class, plus others we may drag in.").

Howard Dean later said that the scream "never happened" and that it was an example of how the mainstream media had become "Murdochized."

Dean told a crowd of broadcasters in Washington Monday morning that all the cable networks showed of the speech following his loss in Iowa was "me at a microphone carrying on. No crowd noise or crowd shot," that would have shown that the crowd was screaming and Dean was trying to make himself heard. None of the pool reporters reported the scream initially, he said. It was only the next day, when their editors saw it, with the noise-canceling mike making Dean stand out, that it became a story. "The speech as it was portrayed in cable television shows 937 times in one week "never happened," he said.

But like the line from the classic John Ford revisionist western, The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance: "When the legend becomes fact, print the legend."

But, unfortunately, for the Vice President (and especially unfortunately for Harry Whittington and his family), the facts surrounding this incident have already become legendary.

Richard B. Simon has his own blog: SCORP10N BOWL.

And I have an article at Raw Story about the MSNBC "scrubbing" of a reference to alcohol served at the Anderson Ranch, and the bloggers who spotted it: 'Beer quote' pulled from MSNBC Cheney hunting party article.


Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Were local cops guarding Cheney?

Jamie Powell, reporter for the Corpus Christi Caller-Times who got the scoop on the Cheney hunting party shooting, was interviewed on Online NewsHour yesterday:

JAIME POWELL: Katharine Armstrong, one of the ranch's owners, called my cell phone yesterday morning, and did not reach me immediately, finally got in touch with me late morning and explained the circumstances surrounding the shooting.

RAY SUAREZ: How is it that Katharine Armstrong would come to have your number and think of you first to call?

JAIME POWELL: Katharine is the daughter of Tobin and Anne Armstrong, influential ranchers, Republicans. I had a very good relationship, working relationship with her father. And the relationship has continued with the children.

Excerpts to a cache link to an earlier Powell story based on a scoop she received in January of 2004 about an earlier Cheney hunting party at the Anderson Ranch, that included George Bush Sr. (perhaps the 'relationship' led to at least two good scoops):

Vice President Dick Cheney, former president George Bush Sr. and U.S. special envoy James A. Baker III have been bird hunting this weekend at a ranch in Kenedy County, according to some area officials.

Kenedy County rancher Tobin Armstrong and his wife, Anne Armstrong, the former ambassador to Great Britain, are hosting the men. Area hunters and ranchers said quail have been especially plump and plentiful.


The high-powered guests have been sheltered from the media, but it is believed that they are at a hunting camp about 10 miles into the 50,000-acre Armstrong ranch.


Less than three weeks ago, President Bush spent a short time hunting for quail in the same area. The president reportedly spent this weekend gearing up for his State of the Union address on Tuesday.


Cheney is known to hunt birds several times a year at the Armstrong Ranch.

But it's another Powell article published on November 12, 2004 that is responsible for the title to this post:

As a self-described country boy growing up in Odem, Bee County Sheriff Robert Horn never guessed his 40-year law enforcement career would have him rubbing elbows with the president one day and chasing bank robbers the next.

Horn, 63, who is hanging up his badge after 28 years as sheriff, said he will never forget the days when Air Force One landed at Chase Field and he and his deputies played a part in protecting George Bush Sr. on his hunting trips.

"As a country boy, I was always wondering what it would be like to meet the president," Horn said.

"Bush coming here hunting and being part of the security around him will always be in the front of my mind as a memorable moment."

Bee County and Sutton County (where the Anderson Ranch is) are kind of far from each other...but if Bush Sr. had local police providing security at his hunting seems very probable that Cheney did too.

So why haven't we heard from any of them?

(Just want to add that the last part of this post is obviously speculation.)


Monday, February 13, 2006

Saturday, February 11, 2006 6:46 PM

(UPDATE - I made a huge mistake in this post, as pointed out by a commenter...regarding the time when the President was notified...more at the very bottom)

From the Texas Parks and Wildlife Website:

Legal Shooting Hours for all Game Animals and Nonmigratory Game Birds: from one-half hour before sunrise to one-half hour after sunset.

Time of sunset on Saturday, February 11, 2006 according to Old Farmer's Almanac (link): 6:15 PM.

According to the Texas Parks and Wildlife hunting accident and incident report form, Vice President Dick Cheney shot Harry Whittington at 5:30 PM on Saturday.

Oddly enough, this Associated Press article written by Nedra Pickler claims:

President Bush was told about Cheney's involvement in the accident shortly before 8 p.m. Saturday — about an hour after it occurred — but the White House did not disclose the accident until Sunday afternoon, and then only in response to press questions.

But "shortly before 8 p.m." is close to 2 1/2 half hours after the accident purportedly took place (UPDATE NOTE: I stupidly forgot about different time zones when I wrote noted at the top and the very bottom of this if indeed President Bush did find out in between 7:30 and 8 p.m. est then it would be 1 to 1 1/2 hours after the incident).

And there still is no explanation why Whittington wasn't admitted to Christus Spohn Hospital until 8:15 PM Saturday night.

If Vice President Dick Cheney shot Austin lawyer at 6:46 PM or later then he broke yet another law during his hunting party (neither Cheney nor Whittington had a required upland game bird stamp at the word on whether the third hunter, United States Ambassador to Switzerland and Liechtenstein Pamela Willeford had the required documentation).

Also according to Pickler:

Secret Service spokesman Eric Zahren said that about an hour after Cheney shot Whittington, the head of the Secret Service's local office called the Kenedy County sheriff to report the accident.

The exact time that phone call was made - if learned - may shed more light on when exactly the incident did occur, as the 5:30 PM time seems to be based on the word of those who were there at the time, and who have reason to fudge the time a bit.

But an article written by Tom Baldwin for Times Online UK suggests that the Kenedy County Sheriff's department is not being entirely helpful on the matter:

The local sheriff’s office in Kennedy County was saying as little as possible. “We have no information to release,” Sandra Guzman, the sheriff’s assistant, said. When did they know about the incident — and what did they know? “I can’t say, an investigation is going on,” Ms Guzman said. Are you investigating to see if a crime was committed? “I’m not sure,” she replied and then hung up.

Stay tuned.


I still haven't finished reading the 101 questions asked of White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan about the "Cheney Hunting Party Shooting" at today's contentious press conference but Brad Friedman from the indispensable Brad Blog noted this exchange which he writes was "tacked...on to the bottom" sometime later in the day:

Q So when did the President definitively know that the Vice President had shot somebody?

A Chief of Staff Andy Card called the President around 7:30pm EST to inform him that there was a hunting accident. He did not know the Vice President was involved at that time. Subsequent to the call, Deputy Chief of Staff Karl Rove spoke with Mrs. Armstrong. He then called the President shortly before 8:00pm EST to update him and let him know the Vice President had accidentally shot Mr. Whittington.

Associated Press has gotten so many things wrong in the past I wouldn't be surprised if they just screwed up the length of time after the incident in which the President was notified (NOTE - They didn't I did...see bottom). But if they're right - and Bush found out about an hour after the Vice President shot a man - then Cheney broke another law.


As pointed out by George Bright in my comment section - rudely, but probably deservedly for the stupid mistake I made:

If Bush was informed at 7:30 PM EST then the time in Texas was 6:30 PM CST. Assuming it took at least twenty minutes for news of the shooting to travel from Texas to Washington (a not unreasonable assumption considering the first ten minutes were probably pretty hectic) and that puts the shooting at 6:10 PM CST at the latest.

Of course, he's right that I didn't take time zones into consideration. But the 2 and 1/2 hour time delay in bringing Whittington to the hospital still smells and we've been lied to before by the White House (just the other week we were told by the press secretary that Bush only met Abramoff at holiday functions, the other year that Rove had nothing to do with outing Plame, and...uh...Iraq)...and this was a speculative piece to begin with. My intention was to theorize why the time might have mattered.

But one other thing to add (and one other thing I might have to end up retracting heh) is that another excuse for Cheney shooting Whittington is that the sun was behind him (according to Willeford). Since the sun set at 6:15 officially...that seems kind of strange. But I've never been to Texas - except for a layover at the Ft. Worth Airport - so only a Texan would know if the sun's positioning at that time of day could serve as a believable excuse.

(Click here to go to the Why Are We Back In Iraq? homepage)

New Post: Were local cops guarding Cheney?

I'm adding this from Byron York at the National Review, though I'm skeptical. Armstrong's stories don't seem to match up. There have been a few inconsistencies with her stories...and with stories from the White House.

Cheney’s Hush-Hush Hunting Accident:

According to an administration official familiar with the accident, there was no ambulance on the scene where the hunting was going on, but there was an ambulance with the vice president's detail on the 50,000-acre Armstrong ranch. Katherine Armstrong said it took about 20 or 25 minutes for the ambulance to reach Whittington. "We don't have paved roads," she said. "It's going to take a little bit of time...the distances are pretty great out here."

Whittington was first taken to a small-town hospital not far from the ranch. He was later taken by helicopter to a hospital in Corpus Christi.

But if anyone has seen another story to back up the small-town hospital visit...please leave a link.

And if this story is true...does that mean that if Vice President Cheney was the one shot, and if the wound were more grievous than Whittington's or at least in more need of immediate medical attention, that the Vice President may have died because it would have taken an ambulance 20 or 25 minutes to reach him?


Larisa, Plame, Cheney & Pataki

Forget Dick "Burr" Cheney's bad aim for a moment, there is nothing bigger than Larisa Alexandrovna's latest at Raw Story: Outed CIA officer was working on Iran, intelligence sources say.

Then again...don't forget about Cheney's bad aim.

Cause Cheney's bad aim is a factor in this revelation, as well.

Cheney played a part in outing Valerie Plame, a CIA operative, who "was part of an operation tracking distribution and acquisition of weapons of mass destruction technology to and from Iran."

Bad aim, Cheney.

In August of 2004, I wrongly predicted that New York Governor George Pataki would take over for Cheney as Vice President at the Republican National Convention, because:

The main reason to dump Cheney has nothing to do with Haliburton, Joe Wilson or the 9-11 Commission report. It's a matter of succession; there is no chance in hell or Crawford that the weak-hearted, hard-speaking Cheney can be the nominee in 2008.

Whelp. I was wrong then for two reasons: the timing and the reason.

Because if I end up being right, just off by a few years, the main reason will have to do with Joe Wilson.


Third hunter at Cheney shooting revealed

Read all about it at Raw Story.

Also check out Brad Blog for more details on the incident, along with background on some of the prominent Texan Republicans that were at the scene.


Sunday, February 12, 2006

Is Hamsher Faster Than Malkin?

February 11, 2006 4:30 PM

Firedoglake blog, Jane Hamsher on Barbara Comstock:

Suspiciously left the DoJ on October 1, 2003 -- right on the heels of the Plame case being referred by the CIA for investigation.

February 11, 2006 6:01 PM

Haloscan comment thread at Firedoglakeblog, Ron Brynaert on Jane Hamsher on Barbara Comstock:

Barbara Comstock resigned from the DoJ on September 9th, 2003 (announced it the day before).

CIA's George Tenet called for DoJ to investigate the leak on September 28th, 2003.

Four minutes later comment acknowledged by a friend (and ePluribusMedia comrade) on the same thread...who I'm assuming by the response provided the info for Hamsher's post.

Time of this post - as I write this line: 2:39 AM...close to nine hours later...and estimating from FDL's site counter: 15,000 readers since I pointed out a grievous error that remains uncorrected.

In comparison:

June 12, 2005 9:30 PM

Ron Brynaert corrects Michelle Malkin.

Sometime on June 13, 2005 before at least 8:20 PM, correction added to Malkin's post with lines crossed through most of the original entry.

This post will be the extent of my Blog rage on this, even if the Malkin deadline passes with no correction of a far more grievous error than Deborah Howell or anyone at the Washington Post ever made.

Tick tock. Tick tock.

(And nevermind the what-I-perceived-as distortion that I later pointed out or - completely unrelated - the what-I-perceive-as misogynistic title of Hamsher's post which is symbolic of that 'Blog rage' again. Let me also add...again...that I enjoy reading FDL but the theories taken as facts by readers who should know better and the frequent errors that never seem to be corrected and the increased devotion and ad infinitum linkage to the usual suspect a-list circle jerk incestuous blogs which don't need the traffic and which many times don't deserve it - but did help the former film producer/Tarantino-basher rise so fast to the top - are beginning to make me think - more than anything - that that blog is just plain dangerous.)

(Postscript: I didn't embed links in the comment I left at FDL partly because Hamsher linked to the source with the correct date of Comstock's resignation in the first place - which evidently none of her readers have noticed - and I figured "Columbo" would have enough to go on. The date regarding Tenet can be easily verified in a Google search.)

(Post-Postscript: On a related note...check out this post which contains a running debate between Paul Lukasiak and me partly regarding an infamous comment he left at the Washington Post blog which was removed. That comment has been linked by Hamsher a few times...and at a few different's also been mentioned at countless other blogs on the internet. As you can see, Lukasiak - who I admire and respect a lot - acknowledged that there were errors in that comment that almost everyone on the left side of the blogosphere touts as the "holy truth" that the Washington Post doesn't want anyone to see. And Lukasiak has mentioned the inaccuracies at FDL and countless other blogs...but no corrections have been added anywhere. The Washington Post is evil to many because they let close to a week go by without correcting their error but the so-called, self-correcting blogosphere can't admit that sometimes they fuck up too.)


Saturday, February 11, 2006

Are Dems saying 'Heck of a job, Brownie?'


Joshua Michah Marshall at Talking Points Memo:

If you aren't watching the Michael Brown senate hearings, you just missed a real treat. Sen. Norm Coleman (R), doofus senator from Minnesota, just managed to get his butt kicked by disgraced former FEMA Director Michael Brown.


Coleman tried the standard hearings grandstanding against a disgraced or weakened witness -- a tactic pretty much written into the DNA of every senator and rep. But Brown managed to get in Coleman's face and turn the tables on him.

Crooks and Liars has a video of the exchange and John Amato says "Josh sums it up about right."

(I'd suggest watching that video first before continuing downward...because I'm not up to making a transcript of the exchange)

I guess I didn't get the memo from the DNC (or DLC or NDN or KOS) which must be saying that Brownie did a "heck of a job" during Hurricane Katrina despite being scapegoated.

From Former FEMA chief hits back by Star Tribune's Rob Hotakainen:

In an unusual twist, Democrats - including New Jersey Sen. Frank Lautenberg and Minnesota Sen. Mark Dayton - came to Brown's defense, calling him a scapegoat for the administration.

Scapegoat or not, Michael D. Brown was completely unqualified for his position, and was halfway out the door when Katrina happened (just after the hurricane hit, Brown emailed the deputy director of public affairs for FEMA, "Can I quit now? Can I come home?").

I don't care how much of a wingnut Senator Coleman is. He's completely right in attacking Brown for his pass-the-buck defense and bullshit apologies.

Coleman wanted to know why the thousands of people holed up in the Convention Center went without food and water for days, and Brown responded that he told his "operations person on the ground" to take care of it as soon as he found out, but refused to explain why he didn't follow-up to make sure the people ever got fed.

Brown claimed he gave the order on Wednesday, August 31, 2005.

Here's Brown interviewed by Ted Koppel the following day:

BROWN: Ted, you know, with all due respect to him, we have convoys, we're feeding people. The people in the convention center are being fed, the people on the bridges are being provided with water...

KOPPEL: With all due respect, sir, the people, the people in the convention center are not being fed. Our reporters ...

BROWN: I misspoke, the people in the, the people in the Superdome. I'm sorry, you're absolutely correct. We're getting the supplies to the convention center now. But the people in the Superdome have been being fed, that supply chain has been working, and that has been moving along and those evacuations have been continuous.

As you may remember, Brown tried to lie to Koppel, at first, but then backtracked. The people weren't being fed.

Brown was also interviewed on CNN that same day and said something slightly different:

Federal Emergency Management Director Michael Brown told CNN that federal officials were unaware of the crowds at the convention center until Thursday, despite the fact that city officials had been telling people for days to gather there.

"We just learned about that today, and so I have directed that we have all available resources to get to that convention center to make sure that they have the food and water, the medical care that they need," he said.

A memo taken by a Republican staffer before Brown testified before a House committee a few weeks later is also revealing:

Brown defended himself against charges that he learned from television that thousands of refugees gathered at the New Orleans convention center, where adequate food, water and other supplies were lacking and there was rampant violence.

He said that because the convention center was not a planned evacuation site, "there is no reason FEMA would have known about it beforehand," according to the memo.

This is from an article by the Times-Picayune published on Wednesday night, August 31:

New evacuees were being dropped off after being pulled from inundated eastern New Orleans and Carrollton, pooling with those who arrived on foot. Some had been at the convention center since Tuesday morning but had received no food, water or instructions. They waited both inside and outside the cavernous building.

In October, Brown told Frontline that he "mispoke":

Frontline: On Thursday, [NBC anchor] Brian Williams asks you why you're not air-dropping food and water into the Convention Center, and you say: "Brian, it's an absolutely fair question. The federal government just learned about those people today." Now, you essentially said that you had misspoken.

Brown: Right.

Frontline: But you said it again to [ABC's] Ted Koppel the same day.

Brown: And I'll take you one further. I think I actually said it to [CNN's] Soledad O'Brien, too.

Frontline: So you said it three times.

Brown: I said it three times.

Frontline: How do you misspeak three times? I don't understand.

Brown: I'm not going to make excuses for it. The facts are that we learned on Wednesday around 12:00, 12:20 in an e-mail that I received from one of my people on the ground that the spontaneous evacuation had occurred. People were now flooding into the Convention Center.

And I'm not trying to make excuses here. But you get into this cycle -- you're being asked questions. And what people don't see behind the scenes is that I'm still running a disaster. And after an [interview] take finishes, I don't sit and say: "How did I do? Did I answer it right?" I'm either signing a document, giving someone an assignment, making something happen, working on about 12 hours of sleep. And I simply misspoke three times.

And when I go back and look at those, I understand why people can now look at that tape and say: "Brown's saying he just learned about that? He really must be an idiot." I simply misspoke. I knew about it 24 hours before, and I should have said, "We just learned about it 24 hours ago, Brian."

Frontline: I just don't understand how you would misspeak three times about that situation.

Brown: Well, I'll tell what we'll do. Next time there's a really big disaster, we'll put you in charge of it. We'll not give you any sleep, and we'll put you on this side of the camera. And we'll pepper you with questions for a couple hours at a time and see how tired you are.

Perhaps Joshua Michah Marshall believes Michael Brown kicked butt on Frontline, too, because his "big moment" in the Coleman exchange was when he attacked the Senator for being an arm-chair critic in the same martyr-man manner.

(To be fair, I'm not sure if Senator Coleman was correct when he claimed that Brown's official order to send food and water to the Convention Center waited until Friday, but "under oath" or not I wouldn't believe a fucking thing that Brown says in his defense, also, Michael Chertoff, director of Homeland Security, has also done his share of lying/misspeaking with respect to the Convention Center.)

As investigative journalist Russ Baker put it in an email sent to promote a comprehensive article about Brown and his predecessor, Joe Allbaugh, "Why did senators at today’s hearing not ask Michael Brown how he had come to be FEMA director in the first place?"

Squirrel away a few hours this weekend to read Baker's incredible article, Unholy Trinity: Katrina, Allbaugh and Brown, at his Real News Project Website.

Baker's an old school type of journalist. He digs and digs and digs, and then digs some more. I've worked with Baker on a few things and it just astonishes me how much legwork he does for his articles...especially the countless interviews he conducts with players, sidekicks, and anyone else that might add to the story. And...jeez...does he have a gift when it comes to getting people to open up.

Baker cares about the truth, and though I've disagreed with the conclusions in some of the articles he's written - particularly the ones on 2004 election results in Ohio - I admire his willingness to rake the muck where ever it lies, rather than practice the kind of bullshit punditry practiced by most liberal A-list bloggers who view everything with a partisan perspective.

Brown says a few things sort-of against Bush and suddenly he's the man.

No matter what, Republicans that currently hold office can never, never, never be complimented or considered because they have to remain the "enemy."

And liberal Democrats like me who admire many things about...say...Senator John McCain are considered right wing tools by the liberal A-list bloggers even though nearly every fucking one of them is to the right of me on pretty much every social, economic or strictly political issue.

It didn't used to be like this.

Liberals used to be able to think for themselves and agree to disagree at times.

But now anyone - journalist, blogger or blog reader - that dares to call out the almighty circle jerk A-list bloggers, some of whom are tied to centrist Democrats and the usual suspect politicial consultants, as they emulate far right wingnuts and stifle the true lefty voices in the blogosphere, is attacked, ridiculed or just plain ignored.


I ain't ever gonna shut up about it...even though my words - ever since the blogosphere deserted the black voters of Ohio in November of 2004 - have done little but cripple my hit counts and ruin my chances of getting the golden links at A-list blogs that some of my finest work most definitely deserved.

Although I'm thrilled to be employed at Raw Story, it's really upsetting that the better I get at investigative blogging and journalism, the more my readership at this blog drops.

While I have no idea how many people read me on RSS feeds...most weeks I get less than a 1,000 hits here.

Is there really no audience for good, old-fashioned journalism?

Why does everyone in the blogosphere seem to be strictly partisan?

Although I always write with a liberal perspective, I'm not blogging and reporting just to help the Democrats win elections.

Heck...much as I admire's not like America was paradise when the Democrats were in power.

I appreciate all the love and links I get from my closest blog buddies...but I must be the only blogger around whose hits have decreased even as their stature has risen.

Nearly every fucking day...this blog contains stuff that people won't be able to find anywhere else...but since I dig dirt on all sides I guess that means there's hardly anyone that wants to read me.

(whelp...for whatever reason if you're might want to copy-and-save these last several paragraphs because when I wake up tomorrow - in hopefully better spirits - I might just end up deleting them).


Thursday, February 09, 2006

Bush Said, A.P. Said 'in October 2001'

(Update at bottom)

The Associated Press reports:

He said that Khalid Sheik Mohammed, the alleged mastermind of the September 11 attacks who was captured in 2003, had already begun planning the West Coast operation in October, just after the September 11, 2001, attacks.

What President Bush said - in specificity:

Since September the 11th, the United States and our coalition partners have disrupted a number of serious al Qaeda terrorist plots -- including plots to attack targets inside the United States. Let me give you an example. In the weeks after September the 11th, while Americans were still recovering from an unprecedented strike on our homeland, al Qaeda was already busy planning its next attack. We now know that in October 2001, Khalid Shaykh Muhammad -- the mastermind of the September the 11th attacks -- had already set in motion a plan to have terrorist operatives hijack an airplane using shoe bombs to breach the cockpit door, and fly the plane into the tallest building on the West Coast. We believe the intended target was Liberty [sic] Tower in Los Angeles, California.*

Perhaps the Associated Press knows something more than the President said because - to me - the two accounts don't match.

Bush said that "in October 2001, Khalid Shaykh Muhammad...had already set in motion a plan" while the Associated Press is reporting that Muhammad "had already begun planning the West Coast operation in October, just after the September 11, 2001, attacks."

But that's not the same thing.

It seems that President Bush just threw out the date of October, 2001 in order to link this in some way to 9/11. But if this was an actual plot then it couldn't have possibly been hatched in October of 2001. Qaeda and company were a little busy at the time, since the United States invasion of Afghanistan began on October 7, 2001.

If anything...this plot would have had to been hatched before October of 2001.

More from Bush's speech:

Rather than use Arab hijackers as he had on September the 11th, Khalid Shaykh Muhammad sought out young men from Southeast Asia -- whom he believed would not arouse as much suspicion. To help carry out this plan, he tapped a terrorist named Hambali, one of the leaders of an al Qaeda affiliated group in Southeast Asia called "J-I." JI terrorists were responsible for a series of deadly attacks in Southeast Asia, and members of the group had trained with al Qaeda. Hambali recruited several key operatives who had been training in Afghanistan. Once the operatives were recruited, they met with Osama bin Laden, and then began preparations for the West Coast attack.

If the plot were hatched in October of 2001, then this alleged meeting between Osama bin Laden and the Southeast Asian operatives would have had to have taken place after. But it seems unlikely that Southeast Asian operatives were able to journey into and out of Afghanistan or Pakistan and hook up in a cave somewhere to meet with Osama, completely undetected by the coalition troops involved in Operation Infinite Justice (I mean Operation Enduring Freedom).

If anything...this plot was hatched before October of 2001...and Osama inspected the recruits some time before that.

But lets not let common sense get in the way of President Bush or the Associated Press because what this is really about is damage control.


From today's press briefing by Scott McClellan:

Q But is it just a coincidence? You had February 6th circled on the calendar for the hearings, the NSA hearings. Is it just a pure coincidence that this comes out today?

MR. McCLELLAN: Well, you're talking about the -- let me mention, the terrorist surveillance program is a vital program, and it's been a very valuable tool. I'm not going to get into discussing any of the tools that may have been used when it comes to disrupting this plot. We provided you some additional information about this plot. But the purpose of this speech is the way I stated it. And I would discourage you from suggesting otherwise.

Unfortunately for Scotty, that wasn't the last question asked at the press briefing which suggested "otherwise."

From today's press briefing on the West Coast Terrorist Plot by Frances Fragos Townsend, Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism:

Khalid Shaykh Muhammad was the individual who led this effort. He initiated the planning for the West Coast plot after September 11th, in October of 2001. KSM, working with Hambali in Asia, recruited the members of the cell. There was a total of four members of the cell. When they -- KSM, himself, trained the leader of the cell in late 2001 or early 2002 in the shoe bomb technique. You all will recall that there was the arrest of the shoe bomber, Richard Reid, in December of 2001, and he was instructing the cell leader on the use of the same technique.

After the cell -- the additional members of the cell, in addition to the leader, were recruited, they all went -- the cell leader and the three other operatives went to Afghanistan where they met with bin Laden and swore biat -- that is an oath of loyalty to him -- before returning to Asia, where they continued to work under Hambali.


So I guess that's the story...let's see how long they stick to it.

But they can't even seem to get their facts straight about the plot:

Q Not too bad. Anyway, to start with, you said that the cell leader of the West Coast plot had been arrested. What about the other cell members? Can you give us any further details, number one? And, number two, you talked about the need and great successes of international cooperation. Can you comment in any way on recent events in Yemen, when perhaps the international cooperation fell down a little bit?

MS. TOWNSEND: Sure. I should have said it, and Mark, thank you for reminding me. All of the cell leaders were ultimately arrested and taken into custody. So there are none of the remaining -- none of the four are at large.

Cell members, cell leaders...what's the difference I guess.


Q Fran, just one other follow up. What we don't know is the time. Can you give us some more details on the timeline on this -- meaning, you know, when, exactly, was this plot scheduled for? Do we know that?

MS. TOWNSEND: We don't know exactly when the plot was scheduled for. The intelligence tells us that Khalid Shaykh Muhammad began to initiate it in October of 2001. We know that between then and when the lead operative was arrested in February of '02, between those two periods of time, they traveled through Afghanistan, they met with bin Laden, they swore biat, they came back, and the lead guy is arrested, which disrupts it in February of '02. So you see what I'm saying? It's during that short window of time, between October of 2001 and February of 2002, but we don't know when they planned -- we don't know when it was planned to actually be executed.

So everyone involved in the plot has been detained but even with waterboarding and other tactics we don't know when the date of the attack was supposed to take place?

Then - not that I'm advocating this - why haven't we gotten more Bauerish with the "humane" torture to learn the details?


Q Just a question on the timing. You said that the operatives and the leader met with bin Laden in early 2002 in Afghanistan; is that right?

MS. TOWNSEND: It's between October 2001 and February of 2002, when the leader is arrested.

Q But when did they meet with bin Laden in Afghanistan?

MS. TOWNSEND: Hold on, let me see. They're telling me the intelligence community believes it was in October.

Q Of 2001?


Q Before the U.S. invasion?

MS. TOWNSEND: Okay, hold on. I can't be that specific, because we don't know.

Q Okay. So you don't know whether or not they met with bin Laden in Afghanistan while U.S. forces were in the country?

MS. TOWNSEND: I don't know.

I have nothing to add. Just let Ms. Townsend speak (or not speak) for herself.

Q Okay, okay. And then, again, is there any other details -- you can't say where they were arrested, who they are? Can you tell us where they are?

MS. TOWNSEND: They're all in custody, but I --

Q I know --

MS. TOWNSEND: I know, but I can't tell you their names, because that would give it away, and I can't tell you the names of the countries because -- not because I care, but because our partners want to have it kept a secret.

Q Are they in the United States? Are they in Gitmo? I mean, can you give us any sense of --

MS. TOWNSEND: I can't.

"[N]ot because I care."

Weird. Who cares what Ms. Townsend cares about?

"[B]ecause that would give it away."

You got that right, Ms. Townsend.

Provide any more details and more people will realize how full of shit this whole "plot" is.

If there are terrorists that plotted to attack America that aren't being detained or prosecuted by the Bush Administration then I believe the American public deserves to know the reason why.

Why haven't we demanded custody of these terrorist plotters?

What country in the world would be unwilling to turn over terrorists who plotted against America to us?

This whole scenario is ludicrous.


Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Harry Siegel: Protector of the Free Press


Such a courageous stand by such a principled newspaper man.

From The Politicker blog at the New York Observer:

The editorial staff of the alternative weekly New York Press walked out today, en masse, after the paper's publishers backed down from printing the Danish cartoons that have become the center of a global free-speech fight.

Editor-in-Chief Harry Siegel emails, on behalf of the editorial staff:

New York Press, like so many other publications, has suborned its own professed principles. For all the talk of freedom of speech, only the New York Sun locally and two other papers nationally have mustered the minimal courage needed to print simple and not especially offensive editorial cartoons that have been used as a pretext for great and greatly menacing violence directed against journalists, cartoonists, humanitarian aid workers, diplomats and others who represent the basic values and obligations of Western civilization. Having been ordered at the 11th hour to pull the now-infamous Danish cartoons from an issue dedicated to them, the editorial group—consisting of myself, managing editor Tim Marchman, arts editorJonathan Leaf and one-man city hall bureau Azi Paybarah, chose instead to resign our positions.

What a brave and principled stand by Harry Siegel: Protector of the free press!

More from Harry:

We have no illusions about the power of the Press (NY Press, we mean), but even on the far margins of the world-historical stage, we are not willing to side with the enemies of the values we hold dear, a free press not least among them.

Courageous Harry resigned because his paper wouldn't publish cartoons that millions and millions of people have already memorized the last few weeks since they've been linked by about a million different blogs on the Internet.

Harry also believes that a cartoon which depicts Mohammed with a bomb in his turban is "minimally offensive."

But does Harry Seigel really believe in a free press?

Maybe. Just as long as the free press is in America and not in Iraq.

This is Harry Siegel in March of 2004 at the blog, Oh, That Liberal Media, which he contributes to:

We know newspapers like to look out for each other, but the New York Times has carried this principle too far. Perhaps its ambivalence about America's military success is once again showing.

Today's lead editorial takes the American-run Iraqi interim administration's decision to shut down for 60 days Al Hawsa, an Iraqi newspaper that (among other such incitements) called on Iraqis to murder "all spies and those who cooperate with the U.S." But Times's ignores such inflammatory rhetoric, instead offering this strawman for the Bremmer administration's reasons for closing down the paper: "One of the dispatches that led to the closing of Al Hawza was a February report claiming that an American missile, not a terrorist car bomb, had caused an explosion that killed more than 50 Iraqi police recruits," and proposes that "it is possible to condemn such malicious rumor-mongering without endorsing the paper's shutdown" without any suggestion as to how this would be done.


Harry Siegel is perfectly okay with a newspaper being shut down by the government for printing "inflammatory rhetoric" but damns those infidels who prevent the press from printing their "mildly offensive" cartoons - cartoons which have no news value since they've been circulated wider than a year's worth of Doonesbury.


Does It Take A 'Flawed Messenger' To Know One?

Sheryl Gay Stolberg and Adam Nagourney share discredit on the latest New York Times hit piece on Dems: Some Democrats Are Sensing Missed Opportunities.

But among more establishment Democrats, there is concern that many of the party's most visible leaders — among them, Howard Dean, the Democratic chairman; Senator John Kerry, the party's 2004 presidential candidate; Mr. Kennedy; Representative Nancy Pelosi, the House minority leader; and Al Gore, who has assumed a higher profile as the party heads toward the 2008 presidential primaries — may be flawed messengers.

In this view, the most visible Democrats are vulnerable to Republican attacks portraying them as out of the mainstream on issues including security and budget-cutting.

Dear Sheryl, Adam, and New York Times editors,

Is it too much to ask for one fucking example of how exactly former Vice President Al Gore is a "flawed messenger" and who regards him of such?

Gore's name only appears once in the article. It seems to me this is a case in which AdNags and Sheryl "I don't care that Talon News plagiarized me" Gay Stolberg should put up or shut up.


Tuesday, February 07, 2006



Another day...another leftward plunge into wingnuttery.

Media Matters, and all the bloggers linking to them on this, are attacking Time Magazine for "deceiving readers about Rove's role in Plamegate."

How did Time Magazine deceive it's readers?

By quoting the White House Press Secretary who called the accusations against Rove ridiculous.

Yeah. Those evil bastards at Time.

Let's ignore the fact that - before anyone else - Time reported about A War on Wilson in July of 2003 which strangely isn't even fucking linked to in the Media Matters article.


As in all recent left-leaning blogosphere battles (errr...well only the ones that "matter" that are approved by Media Matters or Media Matters affilliated blogs), there are certainly legitimate arguments to be made but this whole the-Media-is-always-lying-and-shilling-for-Bushie meme is nothing but mirrored wingnuttery and it's a black eye on all free-thinking liberals.

Also from the Media Matters article by J.F.:

They participated in the publication of that article, which, in reporting that "Rove was initially accused by Wilson of being the man behind the leak," implied that Rove was no longer under suspicion -- even though they all knew that Rove was, in fact, Cooper's source.




The reason why Time used the word "initially" was because Joe Wilson "initially" singled out Karl Rove but then backed away from his accusations.

If Media Matters doesn't know this...then what the fuck is the excuse of the Plame "experts" who linked to this overbaked pile of shit.


Dana Milbank's Washington Caricature

Here's Dana Milbank "Washington sketching" for the Washington Post about Attorney General Alberto Gonzales testifying at the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee:

The attorney general entered the hearing room flanked by bodyguards and trailed by a phalanx of lawyers carrying thick briefing books. Gonzales, in an opening statement that mentioned "enemy" 10 times and "al Qaeda" 20 times, suggested that those who questioned the legality of the program were aiding the terrorists.

"Our enemy is listening, and I cannot help but wonder if they aren't shaking their heads in amazement at the thought that anyone would imperil such a sensitive program," he said. "How can anyone conclude that it is not necessary and appropriate to intercept al Qaeda phone calls?"

Nobody had concluded that, except perhaps for the demonstrator who shouted "You're a fascist!" at Gonzales.

Does Milbank laugh at his own stupid jokes?

While the demonstrator, Kevin Griffey - in my opinion - went overboard with the "f" term, and by disrupting the hearing probably did more harm than good, it's wrong for Milbank to jest that this American citizen "perhaps" believes that al Qaeda operatives should be allowed to go about their business, planning future terror attacks.

Note to demonstrators: Instead of making an ass out of your self by saying something stupid or over the top how about emulating these students who silently turned their backs to Gonzales at a recent speech he gave:

Milbank knows nothing about Kevin Griffey, but in his "Washington sketching" he thinks it's okay to theorize with no proof or quotes to back up his doggerel.

More "Washington sketching":

Democrats, worried about being branded terrorist-huggers, merely complained that they hadn't been consulted. "We make the laws," Leahy pleaded. "If you believe you need new laws, then come and tell us." Gonzales nodded, his lips pinched tightly.


By writing that Democrats "worried" so "merely complained," Milbank is implying that they probably had concluded that something else.

Again with no proof or quotes to back that up.

While there was a pretend-controversy at the Washington Post regarding whether or not the title of Dan Froomkin's White House Briefing column was "confusing" to readers, I strongly urge the editors of the Washington Post to reconsider the title of Dana Milbank's column.

Milbank doesn't sketch.

Milbank caricatures.

And his crappy caricatures look nothing like the models that he's supposed to be sketching.


Sunday, February 05, 2006

George Deutsch, GOP NASA Dude

Excerpts from Buddy statue is not suitable for a presidential library by George Deutsch, GOP dude for NASA:

President Harry Truman said, "If you want a friend in Washington, get a dog." But one look at the new Clinton Presidential Library exhibit on display in Little Rock, Ark., will have people thinking, " Get a life." The misguided nucleus of the still forming library will be a life size bronze statue in memory of the former first dog, Buddy. Buddy was mowed down by an SUV as he fled the Clinton's New York mansion earlier this month. The nation is understandably in shock.

The Clinton legacy, which is already shamefully and heavily tarnished, is only further degraded by this spectacle. The people behind this project have felt a legitimate need to build a shrine to a dead animal, and in a presidential library no less. This is nothing short of heresy.


What have presidential dogs contributed to this country? Except for an occasional urine stain on the Washington rug or feces by the Lincoln bedroom set, absolutely nothing. Dogs do not make important decisions.

But it gets worse. Not only does this animal have his own statue, which many great presidents do not even have, he also has his own Website: Buddy's Buddies. At the exhibit, several bouquets of roses adorn the Labrador's likeness, and a nearby table touts Buddy fan mail. Yes, some people send mail to dogs. Where is anthrax when it is needed?

From NASA Chief Backs Agency Openness by Andrew C. Revkin in today's New York Times:

In October, for example, George Deutsch, a presidential appointee in NASA headquarters, told a Web designer working for the agency to add the word "theory" after every mention of the Big Bang, according to an e-mail message from Mr. Deutsch that another NASA employee forwarded to The Times.

More George Deutsch, GOP dude for NASA and former journalism student at Texas A&M, where he wrote for The Battalion.

Excerpts from Commission findings don't contradict Bush (subtitled "Bush administration never asserted an Iraq-al-Qaida link to Sept. 11 attacks"):

Many of those following the 9-11 Commission hearings in the media have come away woefully misinformed. Newspaper headlines and published reports have misled some into thinking that the commission has found no link between Saddam Hussein's Iraqi regime and al-Qaida.


But, in reality, Saddam and al-Qaida were linked, and have been since the early 1990s. Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney and the members of the 9-11 Commission all agree on this point. So, what gives? Why has the liberal media - which Cheney has repeatedly labeled "irresponsible" in it's reporting on commission findings - denied Iraq-al-Qaida ties?

The unfortunate but not-at-all-surprising answer is partisan politics.

Many of the left-leaning pillars of the media, such as the Post and the Times, would sooner paint Bush as a liar and the commission's findings as contradicting the Bush administration than concede any justification for war.

The ties between al-Qaida and Iraq are clear. So clear, in fact, that there is so much circumstantial evidence linking Iraq and al-Qaida that it would be hard for an informed person not to at least suspect Saddam's regime of having a hand in the attacks.

(If you missed it, I've addressed this right wing looneyness before about Iraq/Qaeda ties: 'Conversations' Between Iraq & Al Qaeda)

But don't be hard on George Deutsch, GOP NASA dude.

My man's a fan of Ludacris (Gigs):

Rumors ran rampant all week about the possible "special guests" hinted at in the advertisements for the show, but the guest performers concertgoers were treated to were far less than special. That's right: no Chingy, no Li'l John and no other high-profile performers. Fans were lucky Ludacris even showed up.


But the concert had its high points, too. Female rapper Shawna, of Ludacris' Disturbing The Peace clique, stole the show, rapping dirty enough to make Li'l Kim blush and fast enough to make Twista sit down.

I-20, another member of DTP, also had some hard-edged rhymes laden with violence and drug use. He even sported a T-shirt proclaiming "MEET THE DEALER."

Unfortunately, George Deutsch didn't mention whether or not he sang along with Ludacris' smash hit "I've got hoes in Area Codes" so we'll just have to use our imagination.

Heckuva job, Deutschie.


Saturday, February 04, 2006

Michelle Malkin Reifenstahl

Heard of Triumph of the Will?

This is Triumph of the Swill.

It's absolutely disgusting the way so many folks on the right have been gleefully and provocatively covering the raging controversy over the Danish cartoons that mock Mohammed and Muslims.

I don't really remember newspapers printing the Mapplethorpe photographs or Andres Serrano's "Piss Christ" that conservative Christians demonstrated against in the late eighties so these folks are full of shit when they say they are doing this for the sake of free speech.

Malkin and folks are eggin' terrorists to "bring it on."

That's not patriotism.

That's hate.


Where Did I Go?

Some serious Blogger difficulties yesterday. I wasn't able to post or even see my blog for most of the evening.

I wanted to link to emptywheel's analysis of the 8 unredacted pages from Judge Tatel's opinion on Special Counsel Fitzgerald's maneuvers against Judith Miller and Matt Cooper in the Plame investigation: Those eight pages.

Good stuff there.


Friday, February 03, 2006

Thanks, Blogger

I haven't been able to access my blog for the last three hours.

I think it's still here.


Thursday, February 02, 2006

Sweet Jules Siegel

I guess you take your good reviews where you can get them.

Kos at Daily Kos:

AlterNet gives us a good review of Crashing the Gate: Netroots, Grassroots, and the Rise of People-Powered Politics. Sweet.

Here's AlterNet reviewer Jules Siegel responding to a critic of his critique:

I personally believe that NOW-style feminists and the radical feminists are just as much an American Taliban as the religious right. Some of these people are utter assholes.



Libby & Icky

While the usual suspects in the blogosphere (fdl, jom, tnh to name a few) already picked the latest Fitzgerald documents pretty clean, I have an article at Raw Story written with John Byrne - and intrepid R.S. researcher Muriel Kane - called Court filings shed more light on CIA leak investigation.

That's the Libby part of this post.

The latter part refers to this breathtakingly brilliant post by Atrios: Is abortion icky?.

That's the absolute best thing I read at Eschaton in quite some time. Aside from the fact that I obviously and absolutely agree with Atrios, it really reads like a lot more thought, passion and poetry went into it than most of the recent threadbare offerings.

But...hell...he might've polished it off in a few minutes. Sometimes the words just flow (not often enough or early enough to ever suit me).


Part of my point is that, along with politicians, pundits and political consultants, part of the audience Atrios is attempting to preach to happen to be BlogPAC peers.

Hence, the tone. Instead of attacking, Atrios just passionately states his case.

I really believe that's the best way to get people to listen.

Finally, not Libby or Icky but recommended all the same, mediabistro chats with Jay Rosen, and new wonkette playfully mocks the photo spread (heh...I'd have preferred to see a shot of Jay tearing into the Times with his teeth, and one with him spitting chunks out right at the camera or a picture with the professor attired as a surgeon attempting to perform surgery on a flatlining newspaper patient that obstinately and stupidly refuses to let him operate, preferring to rest its fate on the power of time and memory...but that's just crazy old me).


Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Fitial's West Wing

Latest at Raw Story: Multimillion dollar Abramoff client gave $50,000 to GOP after meeting with Bush, DeLay, Hastert and Lott.

Included is a better picture of Beningo Fitial, the current governor of the Northern Marianas Islands (and Speaker of the House back then), meeting with President Bush, and other photos with Senator Conrad Burns and then-Majority Whip Tom DeLay.

From the article by John Byrne (and me):

Fitial—who became Speaker of the Marianas House after a coup organized by Abramoff’s associates and former aides of House Majority Leader Tom DeLay—was treated like a king.

In January 2001, Fitial enjoyed the inauguration of President George W. Bush.

Three months later, in April, Fitial met Bush a second time. He also met Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott (R-MS). Then he stopped in for visit with Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert (R-IL).

Fitial with Tom DeLay and Conrad BurnsIn other words—Abramoff seems to have arranged for a non-head of state for a tiny island in the Pacific to meet with the three most powerful men in the United States of America

More at Raw Story.


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