Saturday, March 31, 2007

Run Rudy Run

Bomb’s toll deadliest in Iraq war
Exporting Gag Orders from Gitmo
by Devilstower

After five years of holding prisoners at Guantanamo Bay without charges or trial, Australian David Hicks was sentenced after confessing to multiple changes related to terrorism. That the Bush administration treats this moment of justice hugely delayed and distorted as a source of pride, tells you all you need know about the administration.

However, there's more here than just the first prisoner rolling down the conveyor belt our new, oversight-free, justice system. Rather than showing that loyal Bushies are starting to swirl a dash of integrity into their daily bowl of oppression and obsessive secrecy, the Hicks case is a reason to be worried that all our worst fears about Guantanamo may well be true. The panel that tried Hicks was convinced that he had dealings with four separate terrorist organizations, and as a result sentenced him to seven years of further confinement. However, unknown even to the trial officials, a secret deal had been worked out.

Hicks was today sentenced to seven years jail, but will serve only nine months after the rest of the sentence was suspended.

What kind of deal had Hicks made? Did he offer to provide the names of hidden terrorists in the United States? Did he reveal Osama's secret hiding place? Did he help foil one of those vaguely-defined plots Bush is always alluding to?

Just what could a man who supposedly was involved in plotting attacks against the west both with the Taliban and al Qaeda have to offer? His silence.

Mr Downer rejected suggestions the sentence, which includes a 12-month gag order, was made for the convenience of the government in an election year.

Hicks has to keep his mouth shut about the tribunal. About how he came to confess. And especially about his treatment at Guantanamo. There's an election coming up in Australia, and many people Down Under have suggested that Hicks has been ordered to keep a sock in it so as not to harm the chances of the Bush-worshipping Howard government.

Greens leader Bob Brown claimed the nine months sentence was a political farce. "This is more about saving Mr Howard's political hide than about justice for Hicks," he said in a statement.

However, convenient as Hicks' silence may be for Howard, there's a better chance the soon to be former detainee is being kept quiet not because of any events in Australia, but because of what others are saying about Guantanamo.

A prisoner held by the American military at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, said he had confessed to several terrorist attacks and plots only because he had been tortured, according to a transcript of a hearing held on March 14 and released yesterday by the Pentagon.

Abd al-Rahim al Nashiri has been tagged as the mastermind behind the bombing of the USS Cole, and he's often been used by the Bush administration as an example of the "worst of the worst" held at Guantanamo. However, al-Rahim claims that... actually, we don't know what he claimed. When asked to describe what had happened to him before a review panel, al-Rahim spoke at length on the different techniques that had been used to extract his multiple confessions.

The four-paragraph passage that followed in the transcript was redacted in six places, and the 36-page transcript, of a two-hour hearing, was redacted in many other places.

David Hicks may well be guilty of everything to which he confessed. Al-Rahid may be responsible for everything the Bush administration says and then some. But how can we ever know?

The corrosive effects of what's going on at Guantanamo Bay extend around the world. It's impossible that Americans should ever come to trust the results produced by the "heavily redacted" methods used there, or accepting of the rulings produced by the tribunals. For the rest of the world, Guantanamo is worse than a laughing stock -- it's a touchstone for America's disdain for any sense of common decency.

David Hicks may by an Australian, but what he found on the far side of the world was a kangaroo court. What possible reason could there be for sentencing him to silence if there is nothing to hide?
Emails the White House Didn’t Want You to See
The U.S Attorney firings provide more evidence of the Bush administration avoiding its own email system (and accountability, posterity, prosecution). Dan Schulman

Elizabeth Holtzman/Cynthia Cooper:Questions For Karl Rove - and President Bush
General Warned Bush Not To Publicize Tillman Death
Risks Might Pay Off in ’08 Race
by E.J. Dionne —
Candidates on both sides are playing it safe, but the signs are that voters will reward strong ideas and bold positions.

Ignore the Pundits and Bark Louder
by Joe Conason —
The Washington press elite has warned the Democrats not to pursue the U.S. attorney scandal, but lawmakers should listen to the polls, not the “cable sages” who have so frequently been wrong.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Take a deep breath, William Greider writes of Congress's historic votes to set a deadline for Iraq withdrawal: The people's call to end the war has been heard. But will the man in the White House bunker get the message?
It's like "straight talk," only different

As he makes the rounds of TV and radio shows to castigate war critics, John McCain is arguing that people who think things are going badly in Iraq are operating on old information. In a radio interview Monday, McCain said that "there are neighborhoods in Baghdad where you and I could walk through those neighborhoods, today." And in a CNN appearance Tuesday, McCain told Wolf Blitzer that he "ought to catch up on things." Even outside the Green Zone, McCain said, Iraq is safe enough that Gen. David Petraeus "goes out there almost every day in an unarmed Humvee."

Straight talk? You decide.

As Think Progress notes, CNN's John Roberts has checked with Petraeus' staff and learned that the general "never goes out in anything less than an up-armored Humvee." As for the neighborhoods where "you and I" could take a walk? As Roberts explained to McCain this morning, retired Gen. Barry McCaffrey has just returned from Iraq and says in a report that "no Iraqi government official, coalition soldier, diplomat, reporter, foreign NGO, nor contractor can walk the streets of Baghdad, nor Mosul, nor Kirkuk, nor Basra, nor Tikrit, nor Najaf, nor Ramadi -- without heavily armed protection."

So what does McCain have to say for himself now? "Well," he said when Roberts pressed him this morning, "I'm not saying that they could go without protection. The president goes around America with protection. So, certainly I didn't say that. The fact is that the neighborhoods are safer and every indicator of that, the number of bodies found, the number of deaths, the fact is we're making progress. It's still dangerous, it's still a long way to go, but the fact is that things have improved and much of that you do not get to the American people and that's just a fact."

-- Tim Grieve
Pentagon Cowers Behind Wordplay

by Robert Scheer

The military covered its ass on Monday, with a report on the investigation into the exploitation of Pat Tillman that stank of non-denial denials. After three years of lies and obfuscation, his family deserves better.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Inside the secretive plan to gut the Endangered Species Act
Proposed regulatory changes, obtained by Salon, would destroy the "safety net for animals and plants on the brink of extinction," say environmentalists
By Rebecca Clarren

Grab Your Rifle: It's Open Season on Grizzlies in Yellowstone

As I noted last week, the Department of the Interior just issued an opinion on how the Endangered Species Act should be interpreted. And already we're seeing the results: Yellowstone's grizzly bear population just got kicked off the endangered species list.

The grizzly will still continue to be classified as "endangered" in four other geographical areas. The Department of Interior declares that the delisting of Yellowstone's 500 grizzlies is a success. Hunters would agree: In February, Montana approved a bill that would allow grizzlies to be hunted (along with wolves) once they were delisted. Hunting permits are available by lottery and cost $19 for wolves, $50 for grizzlies.

Are 500 animals enough to ensure the genetic diversity and continued growth of an entire species? (Remember there were 100,000 of the creatures roaming the land when Lewis and Clark came through.) Nature thinks no, but apparently our government thinks yes. Happy hunting.

—Jen Phillips
An Antiwar Tide on The Rise
by E.J. Dionne

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Seeing Presidential Privilege Through a Partisan Lens
E.J. Dionne —
The looming showdown over subpoenas and presidential privilege is as insincere as it is distracting. How quickly politicians forget their rock-hard principles when applying them to another administration. The politicization of the justice system is a real scandal—one that demands an open inquiry.
Gonzales: I "Was Not Involved In Any Discussions" Of Firings...New Docs Show AG Discussed And Approved Plan

John Dean:New Developments in the U.S. Attorney Controversy

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Saddam Has the Last Laugh
Robert Scheer —
The man who once famously took a sledgehammer to Saddam Hussein’s statue now says “the Americans are worse than the dictatorship.” That’s a growing sentiment in George W. Bush’s Iraq, where a majority of people view attacks on coalition forces as acceptable.
One Person's Dumpster Is Another's Diner
A subculture of people make a statement by living off the waste of millions. For three days, a reporter gave it a dumpster-diving go in the "freegan" paradise of Manhattan.

What Bush is hiding
In the U.S. attorney scandal, Alberto Gonzales gave orders, but he also took them -- from Karl Rove, who plotted to turn the federal criminal justice system into the Republican Holy Office of the Inquisition
By Sidney Blumenthal

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Marty Kaplan: How to Pleasure the President
To: Administration Political Appointees
From: Karl Rove
In light of the recent unpleasantness in the media, a number of you 3,000 political appointees have contacted my office. Your message is that you understand full well that you serve at the pleasure of the President, but -- based on the examples of the Eight Who Shall Not Be Named -- you're just not sure exactly HOW to pleasure the President. So what's a political appointee to do?
U.S. attorneys were used to spread voter-fraud fears
By Salon staff
House Panel Authorizes Subpoenas…

Top Republican: “We All Know How It Is Going To End”

Sunday, March 18, 2007


McCain and the "tar baby"

Responding to a question about the rights of divorced fathers during a town hall meeting in Cedar Falls, Iowa, today, John McCain said that he wouldn't want to interfere in the decisions of divorce courts because doing so would be "getting into a tar baby of enormous proportions."

Random House notes that "tar baby" is "used occasionally as a derogatory term for black people" and that "some people suggest avoiding the use of the term in any context." At a press conference after today's town hall event, McCain said: "I don't think I should have used that word. And I was wrong to do so."

The Arizona senator isn't the first Republican presidential candidate to use -- and then apologize for using -- the term. Mitt Romney was forced to apologize last summer after using it to describe a troubled highway project. Tony Snow also used the term in his very first White House press conference. Later, he said that he'd take "tar baby" out of his "toolchest of rhetorical devices" even though he thought people who consider the term racist just don't understand "a hundred and fifty years of American culture."

-- Michael Scherer

Saturday, March 17, 2007

March 18, 2003

Barbara Bush tells Diane Sawyer on ABC’s “Good Morning America” that she will not watch televised coverage of the war: “Why should we hear about body bags and deaths, and how many, what day it’s going to happen, and how many this or what do you suppose? Or, I mean, it’s, it’s not relevant. So, why should I waste my beautiful mind on something like that?”

Friday, March 16, 2007

House Overturns Bush Order To Widen Presidential Papers Access
Halliburton's Dubious Motives for its Dubai Move
by Charlie Cray
Dubai is a "comfort zone," Yusef Ibrahim explained, because what many people here, for example, in the United States would consider "corruption" is not necessarily considered a vice in a place like Dubai.

Blame Bill, says GOP. Clinton fired U.S. attorneys too!
By Joe Conason

Thursday, March 15, 2007

All roads lead to Rove
The White House political director was clearly at the center of the partisan plot to fire U.S. attorneys, despite the administration's clumsy attempts to pretend otherwise
By Sidney Blumenthal

60 years of faulty logic

> By James Carroll | March 12, 2007
> SIXTY YEARS AGO today, Harry Truman went before a joint session of
> Congress
> to announce what became known as the Truman Doctrine. "At the present
> moment
> in world history, nearly every nation must choose between alternative ways
> of life." With that, an era of bipolarity was inaugurated, dividing the
> world between forces of good and evil.
> The speech amounted, as one of Truman's advisers characterized it, to a
> declaration of religious war. In the transcendent struggle between Moscow
> and Washington, "nonalignment" was not an option. Truman declared that the
> United States would actively support "free" people anywhere who were
> resisting either internal or external threats to that freedom. The "free
> world" was born, but so, eventually, were disastrous wars in Korea and
> Vietnam.
> The occasion of Truman's pronouncement was his decision to militarily
> support one side in the civil war in Greece, and with that, the deadly
> precedent of American intervention in foreign civil wars was set. Fear of
> communism became a driving force of politics and a justification for vast
> military expenditures.
> Nine days after announcing the Truman Doctrine, the president issued an
> executive order mandating loyalty oaths and security checks for federal
> employees, the start of the domestic red scare. The "paranoid style" of
> American life, in Richard Hofstadter's phrase, was set.
> That style lives. Democrats are lining up to attack the Bush
> administration's catastrophe in Iraq -- not because that war was wrong to
> start with, but because it has turned out so badly. The administration,
> meanwhile, has repudiated its go-it-alone militarism in favor of nascent
> diplomatic initiatives with North Korea, Syria, and Iran -- not because
> the
> virtues of diplomacy are suddenly so evident, but because everything else
> it
> tried led to disaster. Bush's failures are prompting important shifts,
> both
> by his critics and advisers. But no one is asking basic questions about
> the
> assumptions on which US policies have been based for 60 years.
> More than adjustments in tactics and strategy are needed. What must be
> criticized, and even dismantled, is nothing less than the national
> security
> state that Truman inaugurated on this date in 1947. The habits of mind
> that
> defined American attitudes during the Cold War still provide consoling and
> profitable structures of meaning, even as dread of communism has been
> replaced by fear of terrorism. Thus, Truman's "every nation must choose "
> became Bush's "You are with us or against us." America's political
> paranoia
> still projects its worst fears onto the enemy, paradoxically strengthening
> its most paranoid elements. The monstrous dynamic feeds itself.
> The United States has obviously, and accidentally, been reinforcing the
> most
> belligerent elements in Iran and North Korea, but it is also doing so in
> Russia and China. Last week, for example, alarms went off in Washington
> with
> the news that China is increasing its military spending by nearly 18
> percent
> this year, bringing its officially acknowledged military budget to $45
> billion. Yet who was raising questions about massive American military
> sales
> (including missiles) to Taiwan, whose defense build up stimulates
> Beijing's?
> Speaking of budgets, who questions the recently unveiled Pentagon total
> for
> 2008 of more than $620 billion? (Under Bill Clinton, the defense budget
> went
> from $260 billion to about $300 billion.) Even allowing for Iraq and
> Afghanistan, how can such an astronomical figure be justified?
> When the United States announces plans to station elements of its missile
> defense system in Poland and the Czech Republic, why are Russian
> complaints
> dismissed as evidence of Vladimir Putin's megalomania? On this date in
> 1999,
> Poland, Hungary, and the Czech Republic were admitted to NATO, in
> violation
> of American assurances to Moscow that NATO would not move east from the
> unified Germany. Now NATO looks further east still, toward Georgia and
> Ukraine. And Putin is the paranoid?
> Last week, the Bush administration announced plans for the first new
> nuclear
> weapon in more than 20 years, a program of ultimately replacing all
> American
> warheads. So much for the nuclear elimination toward which the United
> States
> is legally bound to work by the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty.
> Washington
> simultaneously assured Russia and China that this renewal of the nuclear
> arsenal was no cause for them to feel threatened. Hello? Russia and China
> have no choice but to follow the US lead, inevitably gearing up another
> arms
> race. It is 1947 all over again. A precious opportunity to turn the world
> away from nuclear weapons, and away from war, is once more being
> squandered
> -- by America. And what candidate running for president makes anything of
> this?
> James Carroll's column appears regularly in the Globe.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Two years ago, the then-White House counsel suggested to DoJ that all 93 U.S. Attorneys be fired. Action was only taken to fire eight of them after Bush complained to AG Alberto Gonzales.

Faith Leaders Seek Immigration Reform Event discusses the moral imperative for comprehensive immigration reform moving religious communities to action.
Pentagon Whistle-Blower on the Coming War With Iran

Lt. Col. Karen Kwiatkowski (ret.), a veteran of the Pentagon with firsthand experience of the administration’s cherry-picking of intelligence, reveals why Bush thinks he can win a war with Iran, why few politicians are serious about withdrawal and why “when they call Iraq a success, they mean it.” Update: Full transcript added

Sunday, March 11, 2007

The Failed Attorney General
New York Times Editorial

During the hearing on his nomination as attorney general, Alberto Gonzales said he understood the difference between the job he held — President Bush’s in-house lawyer — and the job he wanted, which was to represent all Americans as their chief law enforcement officer and a key defender of the Constitution. Two years later, it is obvious Mr. Gonzales does not have a clue about the difference.

He has never stopped being consigliere to Mr. Bush’s imperial presidency. If anyone, outside Mr. Bush’s rapidly shrinking circle of enablers, still had doubts about that, the events of last week should have erased them.

First, there was Mr. Gonzales’s lame op-ed article in USA Today trying to defend the obviously politically motivated firing of eight United States attorneys, which he dismissed as an “overblown personnel matter.” Then his inspector general exposed the way the Federal Bureau of Investigation has been abusing yet another unnecessary new power that Mr. Gonzales helped wring out of the Republican-dominated Congress in the name of fighting terrorism.

The F.B.I. has been using powers it obtained under the Patriot Act to get financial, business and telephone records of Americans by issuing tens of thousands of “national security letters,” a euphemism for warrants that are issued without any judicial review or avenue of appeal. The administration said that, as with many powers it has arrogated since the 9/11 attacks, this radical change was essential to fast and nimble antiterrorism efforts, and it promised to police the use of the letters carefully.

But like so many of the administration’s promises, this one evaporated before the ink on those letters could dry. The F.B.I. director, Robert Mueller, admitted Friday that his agency had used the new powers improperly.

Mr. Gonzales does not directly run the F.B.I., but it is part of his department and has clearly gotten the message that promises (and civil rights) are meant to be broken.

It was Mr. Gonzales, after all, who repeatedly defended Mr. Bush’s decision to authorize warrantless eavesdropping on Americans’ international calls and e-mail. He was an eager public champion of the absurd notion that as commander in chief during a time of war, Mr. Bush can ignore laws that he thinks get in his way. Mr. Gonzales was disdainful of any attempt by Congress to examine the spying program, let alone control it.

The attorney general helped formulate and later defended the policies that repudiated the Geneva Conventions in the war against terror, and that sanctioned the use of kidnapping, secret detentions, abuse and torture. He has been central to the administration’s assault on the courts, which he recently said had no right to judge national security policies, and on the constitutional separation of powers.

His Justice Department has abandoned its duties as guardian of election integrity and voting rights. It approved a Georgia photo-ID law that a federal judge later likened to a poll tax, a case in which Mr. Gonzales’s political team overrode the objections of the department’s professional staff.

The Justice Department has been shamefully indifferent to complaints of voter suppression aimed at minority voters. But it has managed to find the time to sue a group of black political leaders in Mississippi for discriminating against white voters.

We opposed Mr. Gonzales’s nomination as attorney general. His résumé was weak, centered around producing legal briefs for Mr. Bush that assured him that the law said what he wanted it to say. More than anyone in the administration, except perhaps Vice President Dick Cheney, Mr. Gonzales symbolizes Mr. Bush’s disdain for the separation of powers, civil liberties and the rule of law.

On Thursday, Senator Arlen Specter, the senior Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee, hinted very obliquely that perhaps Mr. Gonzales’s time was up. We’re not going to be oblique. Mr. Bush should dismiss Mr. Gonzales and finally appoint an attorney general who will use the job to enforce the law and defend the Constitution.
A Plan for Iraq
by Sen. Harry Reid

Democrats believe, as do an overwhelming majority of the American people, that President Bush needs to change course in Iraq. We can't stay in Iraq forever. The question becomes whether we'll continue to follow the president's failed strategy or whether we work to change course.

Will the Senate sit silent, or will we bring stability to Iraq and bring our troops home from a protracted civil war?

Democrats have always been unified on these principles.

The mission in Iraq has changed and, therefore, so must U.S. policy change. Troops should not be policing a civil war. The current conflict in Iraq requires a political solution.

Listen to what General Petraeus said today from Iraq: "The war cannot be won militarily. It can only be won politically."

We further believe that Iraq must take responsibility for its own future, and our troops should begin to come home.

That's why, yesterday, I introduced a joint resolution calling for the president to change course and bring stability to Iraq by beginning a phased redeployment of U.S. forces from Iraq in 120 days, with the goal of redeploying combat forces from Iraq by the end of March of next year.

A limited number of troops would remain for the purposes of force protection, training and equipping the Iraqi troops, and counterterrorism activities.

Truly changing course in Iraq will require Republican cooperation and support. So far, Republicans have chosen to greenlight the escalation.

Hopefully, Senate Republicans will join the American people in opposing the president's flawed policies in Iraq. They must put doing the right thing above protecting the president.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Years of Hyperpartisanship
by E.J. Dionne —
The Bush administration has created a poisonous atmosphere that principled conservatives should deplore.
The Libby Verdict and the U.S. Attorneys Scandal: Two Symptoms of the Same Disease
by Arianna Huffington
Make no mistake, the U.S. attorney story is going to become a major scandal -- if only for the way it reveals how extensively the Bush rot has spread throughout the Republican Party.
Invasion Of Privacy, Intimidation...
FBI used Patriot Act to invade privacy, intimidate businesses.

Democrats Dump Fox: Obama Comments "Went Too Far"
FBI's lawbreaking is tied directly to Bush
by Glenn Greenwald
When a country is ruled by an individual who repeatedly and openly arrogates unto himself the power to violate the law, and specifically proclaims that he is under no obligation to account to Congress or anyone else concerning the exercise of radical new surveillance powers such as NSLs, it should come as absolutely no surprise that agencies under his control freely break the law. The culture of lawlessness which the President has deliberately and continuously embraced virtually ensures, by design, that any Congressional limits on the use of executive power will be violated.

Photojournalist Nina Berman discusses her award-winning portrait of severely wounded Iraq vet Ty Ziegel and his fiancée, Renee, on their wedding day -- and what was really going on behind the lens.

By Lindsay Beyerstein

Tacoma Peace Activists Stage Blockade of Stryker Vehicles Headed for Iraq


Democracy Now! Friday, March 9th, 2007'sid=07/03/09/1444200#transcript

Peace activists in Tacoma, Washington have launched a campaign to prevent
the military from shipping 300 Stryker armored vehicles to Iraq. The
protests are expected to intensify this weekend as activists are planning to
engage in acts of civil disobedience to prevent the Stryker vehicles from
leaving the port. [includes rush transcript] We end the show in Tacoma
Washington where peace activists have launched a campaign to prevent the
military from shipping 300 Stryker armored vehicles to Iraq. On Sunday night
four activists were arrested at the Port of Tacoma. The protests are
expected to intensify this weekend as activists are planning to engage in
acts of civil disobedience to prevent the Stryker vehicles from leaving the
port. Last year dozens of people were arrested at the Port of Olympia in
similar actions. Following those protests, the military decided to stop
using the Port of Olympia.

Wally Cuddeford. Navy veteran who was arrested and tasered on Sunday at a
protest at the Port of Tacoma.

AMY GOODMAN: We move now to end our broadcast in Tacoma, Washington.

JUAN GONZALEZ: Yes, in Tacoma, Washington, where peace activists have
launched a campaign to prevent the military from shipping 300 Stryker
armored vehicles to Iraq. On Sunday night, four activists were arrested at
the Port of Tacoma. The protests are expected to intensify this weekend, as
activists are planning to engage in acts of civil disobedience to prevent
the Stryker vehicles from leaving the port.

AMY GOODMAN: Last year, dozens of people were arrested at the Port of
Olympia in similar actions. Following those protests, the military decided
to stop using the Port of Olympia.

Navy veteran Wally Cuddeford joins us on the phone. He was arrested Sunday
and was tasered by the police. Why were you arrested? What happened exactly,

WALLY CUDDEFORD: I was standing in the crowd of protesters -oh, thank you
for having me on the show, Amy. I was standing in the crowd of protesters,
and the police grabbed me and threw me down on the gravel, rubbed my face in
the gravel, causing wounds I still have on my face. While being under a pile
of about four police officers, they began applying their taser to me in my
back ordering me to put my arms behind my back. My arms were pinned under my
own body. I could not move them. They tasered me three times while I was
down on the ground and then dragged me across the pavement and charged me
with third-degree assault.

During this time, they also assaulted another port militarization resistance
organizer, Caitlin Esworthy, and later on that evening shot another
organizer, Jeff Berryhill, in the leg with a rubber bullet. And we were all
three charged with third-degree assault. The county has since dropped those

AMY GOODMAN: Why are you protesting?

WALLY CUDDEFORD: Oh, our goal is to stop military shipments from Fort Lewis
going to Iraq. We were successful in stopping those shipments through the
Port of Olympia, and now we are helping our friends in Tacoma stop the
shipments there. The shipments are Stryker vehicles. They are speedy combat
transports, armed transports. They are the backbone of the occupation. Half
of these Stryker divisions are out of Fort Lewis. If we are able to cut off
Fort Lewis's supply of Stryker vehicles to Iraq, we could easily end this

JUAN GONZALEZ: And what kind of coverage have you gotten in the local press
there or attention that's been given to the protest locally?

WALLY CUDDEFORD: We've been given lots of coverage, especially after I was
assaulted. Some of the coverage has been strange. I was ejected -actually I
was ejected from the Tacoma city council meeting and arrested the following
night for trying to tell them what had happened to me, and they didn't seem
to care. And a lot of the news coverage has been like "Unidentified
protester arrested at Tacoma city council meeting," even though I gave my
name five times.

AMY GOODMAN: Wally Cuddeford, I want to thank you for being with us. We'll
continue to follow this protest through the weekend. Navy veteran arrested
on Sunday at a protest at Port of Tacoma in Washington.

Friday, March 09, 2007

by Eric Alterman

Let’s not forget that it was Robert Novak who played into the White House’s hand by revealing Valerie Plame’s identity in the first place.

Hearings Set on CIA Leak Case
John Nichols reports now that the verdict is in on Libby, Rep. Henry Waxman is taking a look at the role Dick Cheney and Karl Rove played in the scandal.

The Last Great Race On Earth

It’s unlike any other event in the world. A race over 1,150 miles of the most extreme and beautiful terrain known to man: across mountain ranges, frozen rivers, dense forests, desolate tundra and windswept coastline. Learn More …

Depends on what the word "hypocrite" means

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich Acknowledges Having Affair During Clinton Impeachment

Thursday , March 08, 2007


Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich was having an extramarital affair even as he led the charge against President Clinton over the Monica Lewinsky affair, he acknowledged in an interview with a conservative Christian group.

"The honest answer is yes," Gingrich, a potential 2008 Republican presidential candidate, said in an interview with Focus on the Family founder James Dobson to be aired Friday, according to a transcript provided to The Associated Press. "There are times that I have fallen short of my own standards. There's certainly times when I've fallen short of God's standards."

Gingrich argued in the interview, however, that he should not be viewed as a hypocrite for pursuing Clinton's infidelity.

"The president of the United States got in trouble for committing a felony in front of a sitting federal judge," the former Georgia congressman said of Clinton's 1998 House impeachment on perjury and obstruction of justice charges. "I drew a line in my mind that said, 'Even though I run the risk of being deeply embarrassed, and even though at a purely personal level I am not rendering judgment on another human being, as a leader of the government trying to uphold the rule of law, I have no choice except to move forward and say that you cannot accept ... perjury in your highest officials."

Widely considered a mastermind of the Republican revolution that swept Congress in the 1994 elections, Gingrich remains wildly popular among many conservatives. He has repeatedly placed near the top of Republican presidential polls recently, even though he has not formed a campaign.

Gingrich has said he is waiting to see how the Republican field shapes up before deciding in the fall whether to run.

Reports of extramarital affairs have dogged him for years as a result of two messy divorces, but he has refused to discuss them publicly.

Gingrich, who frequently campaigned on family values issues, divorced his second wife, Marianne, in 2000 after his attorneys acknowledged Gingrich's relationship with his current wife, Callista Bisek, a former congressional aide more than 20 years younger than he is.

His first marriage, to his former high school geometry teacher, Jackie Battley, ended in divorce in 1981. Although Gingrich has said he doesn't remember it, Battley has said Gingrich discussed divorce terms with her while she was recuperating in the hospital from cancer surgery.

Gingrich married Marianne months after the divorce.

"There were times when I was praying and when I felt I was doing things that were wrong. But I was still doing them," he said in the interview. "I look back on those as periods of weakness and periods that I'm ... not proud of."

Gingrich's congressional career ended in 1998 when he abruptly resigned from Congress after poor showings from Republicans in elections and after being reprimanded by the House ethics panel over charges that he used tax-exempt funding to advance his political goals.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Lift the Curtain

The New York Times

March 8, 2007
Op-Ed Columnist


Neglect, incompetence, indifference, lies.

Why in the world is anyone surprised that the Bush administration has not been taking good care of wounded and disabled American troops?

Real-life human needs have never been a priority of this administration. The evidence is everywhere — from the mind-bending encounter with the apocalypse in Baghdad, to the ruined residential neighborhoods in New Orleans, to the anxious families in homes across America who are offering tearful goodbyes to loved ones heading off to yet another pointless tour in Iraq.

The trial and conviction of Scooter Libby opened the window wide on the twisted values and priorities of the hawkish operation in the vice president’s office. No worry about the troops there.

And President Bush has always given the impression that he is more interested in riding his bicycle at the ranch in Texas than in taking care of his life and death responsibilities around the world.

That whistling sound you hear is the wind blowing across the emptiness of the administration’s moral landscape.

U.S. troops have been treated like trash since the beginning of Mr. Bush’s catastrophic adventure in Iraq. Have we already forgotten that soldier from the Tennessee National Guard who dared to ask Donald Rumsfeld why the troops had to go scrounging in landfills for “hillbilly armor” — scrap metal — to protect their vehicles from roadside bombs?

Fellow soldiers cheered when the question was raised, and others asked why they were being sent into combat with antiquated equipment. The defense secretary was not amused. “You go to war with the Army you have,” he callously replied, “not the Army you might want or wish to have at a later time.”

Have we forgotten that while most Americans have sacrificed zilch for this war, the mostly uncomplaining soldiers and marines are being sent into the combat zones for two, three and four tours? Multiple combat tours are an unconscionable form of Russian roulette that heightens the chances of a warrior being killed or maimed.

In the old days, these troops would have been referred to as cannon fodder. However you want to characterize them now, their casually unfair treatment is an expression of the belief that they are expendable.

The Washington Post has performed an important public service by shining a spotlight on the contemptible treatment that some soldiers received as outpatients at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center.

The series has already prompted Congressional hearings, and the president climbed off his bicycle long enough to appoint the requisite commission. The question is whether Congress and the public can be roused to take action on behalf of the troops.

It’s not just the indifference and incompetence of the administration that are causing the troops so much unnecessary suffering. The simple truth is that the Bush crowd, busy trying to hide the costs of the president’s $2 trillion tragedy in Iraq, can’t find the money to pay for all the care that’s needed by the legions of wounded and mentally disabled troops who are coming home. The outpatient fiasco at Walter Reed is just one aspect of a vast superstructure of suffering.

The military is overextended and falling apart. Equipment worn out or destroyed by the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan has to be replaced. The perennial, all-consuming appetite of the military-industrial complex has to be satisfied. And now, here comes that endless line of wounded men and women, some of them disabled for life.

How is all of this to be paid for?

The administration has tried its best to keep the reality of the war away from the public at large, to keep as much of the carnage as possible behind the scenes. No pictures of the coffins coming home. Limited media access to Walter Reed.

That protective curtain needs to be stripped away, exposing the enormity of this catastrophe for all to see.

I remember walking the quiet, manicured grounds of Walter Reed on an unauthorized visit and seeing the young men and women moving about in wheelchairs or on crutches. Some were missing two and three limbs. All had suffered grievously.

There is something profoundly evil about a country encouraging young men and women to go off and fight its wars and then shortchanging them on medical care and other forms of assistance when they come back with wounds that will haunt them forever.

That’s something most Americans never thought their country would do.
Libby and the White House book club
By Sidney Blumenthal

Is the Bush surge already failing?
By Juan Cole

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Top GOP aide implicated in attorney firing probe

John Nichols writes that the Libby trial revealed stunning details about Dick Cheney's aggressive efforts to attack his enemies and cherry-pick pre-war intelligence. Will Congress now conduct hearings to call the Vice President to account?
Why the Libby Verdict Is So Damning
by Arianna Huffington

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Suicide Blasts Kill More Than 100 In Iraq

Nine US Soldiers Die In Separate Bombings
Harry Reid: Bush Must Not Pardon Libby
By Greg Sargent

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid on the Libby verdict:

“I welcome the jury’s verdict. It’s about time someone in the Bush Administration has been held accountable for the campaign to manipulate intelligence and discredit war critics. Lewis Libby has been convicted of perjury, but his trial revealed deeper truths about Vice President Cheney’s role in this sordid affair. Now President Bush must pledge not to pardon Libby for his criminal conduct.”

Note that he, like Nancy Pelosi, cast the verdict as a broader indictment of the Bush administration, but did her one better by demanding that the White House pledge now not to pardon Libby.

Meanwhile, White House spokesperson Dana Perino is declining to comment on Reid's call for a no-pardon pledge.

Monday, March 05, 2007

Hey Ann Coulter:

Is Rudy a faggot?
Coalition Airstrike Hits Afghan House

Afghan Opium Poppy Cultivation Could Rise

Faggot Feud

by Richard Kim

Ann Coulter's gaydar is off, way off. But what else is new? And what's in a word anyway?

Newt Blames The Victims of Katrina

By: Nicole Belle

Newt Gingrich, speaking at CPAC blamed the residents of New Orleans' 9th Ward for a "failure of citizenship," by being "so uneducated and so unprepared, they literally couldn't get out of the way of a hurricane."

And he called for a "deep investigation" into this "failure of citizenship."

Here's the full quote:

How can you have the mess we have in New Orleans, and not have had deep investigations of the federal government, the state government, the city government, and the failure of citizenship in the Ninth Ward, where 22,000 people were so uneducated and so unprepared, they literally couldn't get out of the way of a hurricane. (emphasis original)

To listen to the audio, click here.

I tell you, this CPAC convention really highlights the humanity of these conservatives. And the worst part? It's not the first time Newt's put this in one of his speeches. Jeffrey Feldman has more…
The best-ever one-sentence explanation of Bush domestic policy

From today's Wall Street Journal: "President Bush said he intends to nominate Michael Baroody, a lobbyist for the National Association of Manufacturers, to be chairman of the Consumer Product Safety Commission."

-- Walter Shapiro

By continuing to hawk "The Secret," a mishmash of offensive self-help cliches, Oprah Winfrey is squandering her goodwill and influence, and preaching to the world that mammon is queen.

By Peter Birkenhead

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Last Throes of Cheney’s Credibility

by Joe Conason

While Americans grow increasingly frustrated with the Democrats for failing to end the Iraq fiasco (after a whopping two months), the vice president, one of the war’s chief architects, spent the week doing away with the last shred of a possibility that he either knows what he’s talking about or is telling the truth.
Freak speech

Nobody should be surprised that Ann Coulter would refer to John Edwards as a "faggot"; it wasn't long ago that she called Al Gore "a total fag," and said that Bill Clinton had "the whiff of the bathhouse" about him. It's a pretty desperate schoolyard stunt from a celebrity sideshow rapidly running out of gas. (And a weirdly self-defeating one at that: Most of the only people we know who have ever gotten a kick out of Coulter are gay men who manage to enjoy her as bitch-queen theatrical performance art.) She was speaking at a top conservative conference, where all the major 2008 party candidates showed up except for McCain (smart move).

Deep thoughts for those who take life too seriously:

1. Save the whales. Collect the whole set.

2. A day without sunshine is like . . . night.

3. On the other hand, you have different fingers.

4. 42.7 percent of all statistics are made up on the spot.

5. 99 percent of lawyers give the rest a bad name.

6. Remember, half the people you know are below average.

7. He who laughs last thinks slowest.

9. The early bird may get the worm, but the second mouse gets the cheese in the trap.

10. Support bacteria. They're the only culture some people have.

11. A clear conscience is usually the sign of a bad memory.

12. Change is inevitable, except from vending machines.

13. If you think nobody cares, try missing a couple of payments.

14. How many of you believe in psychokinesis? Raise my hand.

15. Okay . . . so what's the speed of dark?

16. When everything is coming your way, you're in the wrong lane.

17. Hard work pays off in the future. Laziness pays off now.

18. Every one has a photographic memory. Some just don't have film.

19. How much deeper would the ocean be without sponges?

20. Eagles may soar, but weasels don't get sucked into jet engines.

21. What happens if you get scared half to death.........twice?

22. I couldn't repair your brakes, so I made your horn louder.

23. Why do psychics have to ask you for your name?

24. Inside every older person is a younger person wondering what happened?

25. Just remember - if the world didn't suck, we would all fall off.

26. Light travels faster than sound. That is why some people appear bright until you hear them speak.

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