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A letter from Gary Hart

A letter from Gary Hart in my inbox
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Dear Sussel,

"The public trust must be earned, and speaking clearly, candidly and forcefully now about the mess in Iraq is the place to begin."

A Short Play Starring Christopher Hitchens


"Stop the taunting, and let's have a real debate about the Iraq war"
—Christopher Hitchens, Nov. 22, 2005

Lights come up on a bare stage. At stage left is the VAST MAJORITY OF HUMANITY. Stage right is CHRISTOPHER HITCHENS.

Bush in Iraq, Slouching Toward Genocide

By Robert Parry, Consortium News

Despite pretty words about democracy and freedom, George W. Bush’s “victory

An Iraq-9/11 link? A report says Bush was told no -- in 2001

By Tim Grieve for

The Aug. 6, 2001, presidential daily briefing is the stuff of legend, but we haven't heard so much about the Sept. 21, 2001, PDB. That may change soon. Reporting in the National Journal,
Murray Waas says George W. Bush was told in the Sept. 21 PDB that the
U.S. intelligence community had no evidence linking Saddam Hussein to
the attacks of 9/11.

As Richard Clarke
recounts in his book, Bush asked his aides on Sept. 12, 2001, "to go
back over everything, everything," to see if Saddam Hussein was linked
in any way to the attacks. "But, Mr. President," Clarke said, "al-Qaida
did this." Clarke says that Bush responded by saying, "I know, I know,
but ... see if Saddam was involved. Just look. I want to know any

America's tipping point

From, by Tom Engelhard:


It's finally Wizard of Oz time in America. You know -- that moment when the curtains are pulled back, the fearsome-looking wizard wreathed in all that billowing smoke turns out to be some pitiful little guy, and everybody looks around sheepishly, wondering why they acted as they did for so long. their amazement, Bush administration officials find themselves thrust through the equivalent of a Star-Trekkian wormhole into an anti-universe where everything that once worked for them seems to work against them. As always, in the face of domestic challenge, they have responded by attacking -- a tactic that was effective for years...

But instead of watching the Democrats fall silent under assault as they have for years, they unexpectedly found themselves facing a roiling oppositional hubbub threatening the unity of their own congressional party.

..Now, the war threatens to crack open the Republican base and chase the dream of a single-party Republican political future -- only recently so close -- right off the map.

Lose in Iraq later and destroy our Army, or just lose now

Excerpts from an article by Paul Krugman in the NY Times (paid subscription required and I encourage you to sign up and pay so that the NY Times knows Krugman is popular):

Not long ago wise heads offered some advice to those of us who had argued since 2003 that the Iraq war was sold on false pretenses: give it up. The 2004 election, they said, showed that we would never convince the American people. They suggested that we stop talking about how we got into Iraq and focus instead on what to do next.

It turns out that the wise heads were wrong. A solid majority of Americans now believe that we were misled into war. And it is only now, when the public has realized the truth about the past, that serious discussions about where we are and where we're going are able to get a hearing...

Everything would hinge on the meaning of the word "deploy"/deployment

Posted by: NonnyO at November 19, 2005 03:32 PM
Democracy Cell Project

(Editor's note: NonnyO simplified the vote and it's misinterpretation from yesterday's Republican ploy.)

The Republican alternative simply said: "It is the sense of the House of Representatives that the deployment of United States forces in Iraq be terminated immediately."

Everything would hinge on the meaning of the word "deploy"/deployment (American Heritage Dictionary): Deploy: "To distribute (persons or forces) systematically or strategically." "To put into use or action." Knowing the meaning of the word deployment makes all the difference, because the Repub/NeoCon wording only means the US would cease sending more military personnel to Iraq. It doesn't say a bloody thing about bringing the ones who are already there home, or withdrawing from Iraq immediately or in the future; the way it's worded it only means we would cease sending more troops. The ones already there could be stationed there indefinitely, even if no more troops are sent (and it would mean no rotation of troops).

The Green Table

November 19, 2005
The Green Table
Karen, Democracy Cell Project

In 1932, the ballet choreographer Kurt Jooss created a piece called “The Green Table.

Bush plays politics on Veterans Day

A letter to the editor in by John Schneider:

The fraud has thrown down the gauntlet.

In a thoroughly disgusting display of partisan politics, George W. Bush chose Veterans Day, which should be nothing but a solemn day of remembrance, to turn up the volume on the cacophony of lies surrounding his unnecessary, unconstitutional, illegal, immoral war of choice.

How apropos for such a clueless corporate puppet.

"The stakes in the global war on terror are too high, and the national interest is too important, for politicians to throw out false charges," Bush said.

European style terror alert levels

The British are feeling the pinch in relation to recent bombings and have raised their security level from "Miffed" to "Peeved." Soon though, security levels may be raised yet again to "Irritated" or even "A Bit Cross." Londoners have not been "A Bit Cross" since the blitz in 1940 when tea supplies all but ran out. Terrorists have been re-categorised from "Tiresome" to a "Bloody Nuisance." The last time the British issued a "Bloody Nuisance" warning level was during the great fire of 1666.

Also, the French government announced yesterday that it has raised its terror alert level from "Run" to "Hide". The only two higher levels in France are "Surrender" and "Collaborate." The rise was precipitated by a recent fire that destroyed France's white flag factory, effectively paralysing the country's military capability.

An Open Letter To Special Counsel Patrick Fitzgerald

An Open Letter To Special Counsel Patrick Fitzgerald From Former White House Counsel John W. Dean
Friday, Nov. 18, 2005

November 18, 2005
The Honorable Patrick J. Fitzgerald
Special Counsel
Bond Federal Building
1400 New York Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20530

Dear Special Counsel Fitzgerald:

Excuse my being so presumptuous as to send you this open letter, but the latest revelation of the testimony, before the grand jury, by Washington Post reporter Bob Woodward has raised some fundamental questions for me.

In your post as Special Counsel, you now have nothing less than authority of the Attorney General of the United States, for purposes of the investigation and prosecution of "the alleged unauthorized disclosure of a CIA employee's identity." (The employee, of course, is Valerie Plame Wilson, a CIA employee with classified status, and the wife of former Ambassador Joseph Wilson.) On December 30, 2003, you received a letter from the Deputy Attorney General regarding your powers. On February 6, 2004 you received a letter of further clarification, stating without reservation, that in this matter your powers are "plenary." In effect, then, you act with the power of the Attorney General of the United States.

Bush and Nixon Battle It Out


With the latest CBS poll putting Bush's approval rating at 35%, he's genuinely entered into Nixon territory. Since polling began, Nixon is the only two-term president with lower approval ratings at a comparable point in his presidency:

Johnson 66% (Oct. 1965)
Reagan 63% (Oct. 1985)
Clinton 57% (Oct. 1997)
Eisenhower 57% (Oct. 1957)
Truman 49% (Oct. 1949)
Bush 39% (Oct. 2005)
Nixon 29% (Oct. 1973)

So, I've helpfully graphed both Bush's approval rating and disapproval rating against Nixon's. Note Bush still has about a year to go before he gets to the point in Nixon's presidency when Nixon resigned.

Wash Post Political Cartoon on Karl Rove

Click on the image to see the full size version:

What It's Like

What It's Like
By Paul Begala
From: TPMCafe Special Guests
Tom Petty was wrong. The waiting is not the hardest part.
Sure, all of what Eric Alterman dubbed "the punditocracy" has a severe case of indictus interruptus, but for President Bush and his White House staff, the worst is yet to come. To be sure, waiting on a decision to indict is an exquisite form of torture. But what lies ahead is worse. If special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald does choose to indict one or more senior Bush White House officials, they will be the first top White House aides to be indicted in a decade and a half.

New Information: First the Website, Now the New Office Space

October 26, 2005
New Information: First the Website, Now the New Office Space
-- Steve Clemons

Patrick Fitzgerald's intermediaries denied that there was any significance to the establishment of a new website, minimalist as it is, for the Office of the Special Counsel which is investigating the "outing" of Valerie Plame Wilson's covert CIA responsibilities to the media.

Fitzgerald's people said that the investigation coming to a close and the website going up was just coincidence.

Well, news has just reached TWN that Patrick Fitzgerald is expanding not only into a new website -- but also into more office space.

The Iraqi death toll

The Iraqi death toll
by Chris in Paris - 10/26/2005 03:24:00 AM

So is Bush also laughing about the thousands of Iraqis who have died as well? Estimates vary but a reasonable starting point seems to be around 30,000 Iraqi deaths since the beginning of the US/UK invasion of Iraq. With the faux constitution that does not address any of the serious issues (once again put off for another day) there is no reason to think that the Iraqi deaths will decrease. The numbers are pretty bad:

One U.S. military spokesman said it is possible the figure for the entire war could be 30,000 Iraqis...

Top Ten Things We Will Soon Learn From The Drudge Report About Patrick Fitzgerald


1. He Murdered Vincent Foster

2. Is Son Of A Liberal Elitist Doorman

3. Claims He Spent Christmas, 1983 In Cambridge; Actually Was In Somerville

4. Casey Sheehan Would Be Ashamed Of Him

5. Charles Krauthammer Thinks He's Crazy, And Krauthammer Is A Psychiatrist

6. Fathered John McCain's Illegitimate Black Child

7. Let's Not Forget That The Vatican—The Center Of His Religion—Is The Great Whore Of Revelation 17

8. Is Irish, Not That We're Implying Anything About Him And The Booze

9. A Friend Of Mine Knows The Cousin Of The Neighbor Of Someone Who Worked With Him In 1986 Who Says the Coffee Machine In The Office Cost 50 Cents But Sometimes You Would Put In A Quarter And It Would Start Working Which Meant it Had Eaten The Quarter Of The Person Ahead of You And Once They Saw Fitzgerald Get Coffee Like This Which Meant He Essentially Stole A Quarter From Someone In The Office, Which Really Brings Up The Character Issue

10. Michael Moore Is Fat

How many Bush Administration officials does it take to screw in a light bulb?

Vote for (or write-in) your favorite answer to "How many Bush Administration officials does it take to screw in a light bulb?" (You must be logged in to vote). The current most popular answer is:

130,000. First you have to mass the troops, then, after breaking the first twenty bulbs because you didn't have enough staffing who could read Arabic, you can protect the perimeter and secure the oil wells that supply the power to light the bulb. What, you didn't think oil was involved?

How many Bush Administration officials does it take to screw in a light bulb?

* None. There is nothing wrong with the light bulb; its conditions are improving every day. Any reports of its lack of incandescence are a delusional spin from the liberal media. That light bulb has served honorably, and anything you say undermines the lighting effect. Why do you hate freedom?\n* 130,000. First you have to mass the troops, then, after breaking the first twenty bulbs because you didn't have enough staffing who could read Arabic, you can protect the perimeter and secure the oil wells that supply the power to light the bulb. What, you didn't think oil was involved?\n* We don't know how to replace it. But it's not our fault. Clinton was the one who broke it.\n* You read by the bulb you have, not the one you would like to have.\n* One to arrange a photograph of Bush, dressed as a janitor, standing on a stepladder under the banner: Light Bulb Change Accomplished;\n* One administration insider to resign and write a book documenting in detail how Bush was literally in the dark.\n* One to confuse Americans about the difference between screwing a light bulb and screwing the country\n* \n* \n* \n* \n




It looks more and more like Karl Rove and his GOP associates made a huge mistake when they decided to disclose the identity of Valerie Plame in retaliation for statements by Ambassador Joe Wilson about the implausibility of President Bush's statements about Iraq's nuclear capabilities. By going after Wilson and his wife, they committed serious crimes which, apparently, they then compounded by obstructing justice and committing and suborning perjury. As a result, they have virtually ensured that, if convicted, they could receive a sentence up to life in federal prison under the United States Sentencing Guidelines, which are used to compute sentences based on severity offense levels. The higher the level, the greater the sentence, and federal courts routinely follow the Guidelines in the vast majority of cases.

Plame B.S. debunked

Plame B.S. debunked

Posted by Evan Derkacz at 6:10 AM on October 14, 2005.

But Valerie Plame worked in an office?

When it first became clear that someone fairly high up in the leak of Valerie Plame's identity may actually get caught, a number of disingenuous arguments were deployed in the off chance that they may actually work.

One of these was that Valerie Plame, while technically being an undercover officer, actually worked at a desk job (with whatever subtle misogynistic undertones you want to take from that...), so her outing wasn't a terribly harmful move.

Put aside the fact that it ONLY MAKES SENSE as a retaliatory measure if it is somehow threatening and welcome the facts. Larry Johnson, a former CIA officer himself, pulls no punches in his critique of yesterday's Richard Cohen column in the Washington Post contending that no crime could have been committed because Plame "worked at a desk job" and therefore prosecutor Fitzgerald ought to just close up shop and slink away.

Al-Qaeda denial

Al-Qaeda denial

Posted by Evan Derkacz at 6:57 AM on October 14, 2005.

That's totally not my handwriting (Reuters photo)

Al Qaeda is not in the business of being demure. When they kill, they claim it. When they have a goal, they state it. I'm not saying they're standup folks, just that their goal is to telegraph power, not hide it.

So when Al Qaeda denies the legitimacy of a letter urging leaders in Iraq to prepare for an Islamic government upon US withdrawal -- a PR gift to an administration facing soaring opposition to the war at home -- you gotta wonder.

Keep your chins up, Karl

Keep your chins up, Karl
Posted by Evan Derkacz at 12:12 PM on October 14, 2005.

Odds of Rove leaving the White House are up... is Bush excited?

As Rove wrapped up a comfortable fourth do-si-do with the Grand Jury and sped off in a Toyota, Jane Hamsher notes that the odds that Bush's Brain will not have to leave have gone from 1-6 to 3-2. Which, of course, ain't good news.

Unless... unless, as Jane writes, Bush is ready to cut him loose.

"There is another camp of people who think Bush is only too ready to cut Turd Blossom loose. People from the Beltway in-crowd who have seen the delight Bush takes in personally taunting and humiliating Rove (which he does publicly and frequently by all accounts) think that this is the inevitable result of the single most damaging blow to Rove's career -- when the meme 'Bush's brain' entered the popular lexicon."

The Normalization of Treason, the Republicans' gift to America

The Normalization of Treason, the Republicans' gift to America
by John in DC - 10/16/2005 06:52:00 PM

If a senior White House staffer had intentionally outed a CIA agent during World War II, he'd be shot.

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

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

Who told Judy about Valerie PLAME?

Who told Judy about Valerie PLAME?
by katerina [Subscribe]
Sun Oct 16, 2005 at 02:43:08 AM PDT
After reading the two NYT articles about Judy Miller's involvement in the Plame Leak investigation, I came away with one significant question:

Who was Judith Miller's real source as to the identity of Valerie Plame as an undercover CIA operative?

Miller's putative source was Scooter Libby, but Miller claims Libby didn't provide her with Valerie Plame's name or undercover status. If Judy's telling the truth about that (and while the article in the NYT indicates that wagering on Judy's truthfulness may be a sucker bet), then who did?

Did Judy Meet Cheney?

Did Judy Meet Cheney?
by georgia10 [Subscribe]
Sun Oct 16, 2005 at 07:03:02 AM PDT
Of all the analyzing of Judith Miller's account of her interactions with the Bush administration, one aspect of her piece has received little attention: her explanation of Libby's letter.

As she admits, Fitzgerald asked whether the letter was meant to shape her testimony. Miller said no, instead offering up this explanation:

When I was last before the grand jury, Mr. Fitzgerald posed a series of questions about a letter I received in jail last month from Mr. Libby. The letter, two pages long, encouraged me to testify. "Your reporting, and you, are missed," it begins.

Aspens Turning, Leads to Cheney?

Aspens Turning, Leads to Cheney?
by teresahill [Subscribe]
Sat Oct 15, 2005 at 10:49:00 PM PDT
Finally, Judith Miller gives us her take on the creepy "Aspens turning" line in Scooter Libby's letter to her, telling her it was okay to testify.
This from her account in Sunday's NYT :

"Out West, where you vacation, the aspens will already be turning," Mr. Libby wrote. "They turn in clusters, because their roots connect them."

How did I interpret that? Mr. Fitzgerald asked.

In answer, I told the grand jury about my last encounter with Mr. Libby. It came in August 2003, shortly after I attended a conference on national security issues held in Aspen, Colo. After the conference, I traveled to Jackson Hole, Wyo. At a rodeo one afternoon, a man in jeans, a cowboy hat and sunglasses approached me. He asked me how the Aspen conference had gone. I had no idea who he was.

Let's Get Ready with some AMMO

Let's Get Ready with some AMMO
by NYBri [Subscribe]
Sat Oct 15, 2005 at 12:10:55 PM PDT
Next week, or shortly thereafter, Patrick Fitzgerald will very likely pass out some indictments. Among the charges included in those party invitations may be perjury, conspiracy, obstruction of justice, espionage...just to name a few.

Basically, all these charges have one very important thing in common: they are violations of federal law. Let me repeat: VIOLATIONS OF THE LAW.

Remember how important that single fact was for the wingnuts during the Clinton impeachment trial? As I recall, they had plenty to say about lying and perjury and how it wasn't about sex but about respect for the law. MAJOR talking point that they all repeated ad nausium.

Perils of Nation Building by... The Heritage Foundation?

Al Kamen of the Washington Post, in his In The Loop column, writes about an email he received from the arch-conservative Heritage Foundation warning of, get this, the perils of "top down" nation building:

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