31 October 2005

Mr. Libby's story was not true

Vice president Dick Cheney's chief of staff lied under oath and repeatedly, according to an indictment handed down Friday from special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald.

On the surface, while it's sad news to see the first White House official in over 130 years indicted, it could have been a lot worse for the Bush administration, as Bush's Brain, Karl Rove, escaped an indictment for the present time. According to Rove's lawyer, he is still in legal jeopardy, and may have eluded the wrath of the grand jury by some eleventh hour finagling. However, the investigation remains open, though Mr. Fitzgerald did say that the "substantial" portion of the investigation is concluded. He was tight lipped about any other future developments, other than trial preparation for Mr. Libby.

OK, is the investigation finished? It's not over, but I'll tell you this: Very rarely do you bring a charge in a case that's going to be tried and would you ever end a grand jury investigation.

I can tell you, the substantial bulk of the work in this investigation is concluded.

Will I. Lewis Libby serve the kamikazi role, and go the same prison route as traversed by G. Gordon Liddy during the Watergate era? Or will he sing to Mr. Fitzgerald, and shake some more skeletons out of the White House, including his boss Dick Cheney?

Republican loyalists are sneering at the indictment, terming it a perjury technicality akin to the recent Martha Stewart prosecution for a crime that wasn't even committed . Some even enter the theater of the absurd, crying that Fitzgerald is a Democratic partisan. Personally, I find that to be puzzling, given the venom directed at President Clinton for his perjury over an affair with an intern, that had no relevance to his duties, and while the immorality of infidelity casted a cloud over his character, those in Congress pushing the charge were all guilty themselves of the same illicit behavior as are many individuals perched atop the power pinnacle in America. A far cry from perjury in the act of thwarting an investigation over leaking an CIA agent's identity that jeopardized national security.

PlameGate, or WilsonGate, or LibbyGate, or NigerGate or whatever its final moniker will be has been dragged out two years, and yet, more questions have arisen than answers revealed.

  • Why was Scooter Libby lying and twisting his story again and again? Yes, his defense will be a failing memory, but even reporters at the Fitzgerald press conference broke out in laughter after Fitzgerald reported all the obvious conflicting testimony?

  • Why was Joseph Wilson marked as a target if the Bush adminstration truly thought their intel on Iraq and WMD was accurate?

  • Is this all going to play out like a he said/she said circle jerk and Karl Rove chuckling gleefully in C. Montgomery Burns fashion at the conclusion?

  • Is Judy Miller nothing more than a neoconservative tool?

  • Will more details emerge or will the true story be buried until some future date where an enterprising investigative journalist digs it out.

Still, it is apparent that the Wilsons were targeted by Bush adminstration officials in a behind the curtain struggle between powerful entities. That happened to include fraudulent justification of an invasion of a country that posed no threat to the United States based on false and manufactured pretense. It sure looks to me like anyone that wanted to blow the whistle on the hawkish neoconservative clan would be caught in the crosshairs and dealt damage, even if it meant on a personal level, or to the destruction of the very apparatus that serves to protect the nation. Why was there a drive to impeach a president over perjury regarding marital infidelity, but not for a president whose White House has run amok, discarding the truth to fit an already predetermined policy?

One final note — there seems to be great jubilation in Democrat/Progressive enclaves for "Merry Fitzmas", but count me out of that party. As much as I detest the Bush presidency, these developments dishearten me. I wish for justice to be done, but I am not delighted what so ever that senior officials in the executive branch of our government acted in such a fashion. It's not a cause for celebration, it's a time to root out the corruption and replace the scoundrels with statesmen, displace dishonesty with honesty, and get America back on track.

Some other perspectives from around the internets:

  • Special counsel Patrick Fitzgerald has his own website, where all the pertinent court documents are being posted.

  • Larry Johnson addresses the far right talking points on Joseph Wilson and their grasping at straws and clutching with copies of the total abomination that was the Senate Intelligence Committee report from July 2004. Here's an accompaning article that throws water on the claim about British intelligence on Niger.

  • Libby's lawyers prepare a CRS defense.

  • Joseph Wilson says the president owes the nation both an explanation and an apology.

  • The first Jacobin falls.
    The Bush administration neoconservatives who assembled the "intelligence" knew that it was false. The neoconservatives had their own agenda. They used the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11 to turn the Bush administration to their agenda. As the leaked top secret British government Downing Street memo made clear, the agenda was to invade Iraq, and "the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy."

    There was a conspiracy among neoconservatives holding high positions in the Pentagon, the State Department, the vice president's office and the National Security Council. Lawrence B. Wilkerson, chief of staff to Secretary of State Colin Powell from 2002 to 2005, described the conspirators as "a secretive, little-known cabal … made up of a very small group of people led by Vice President Dick Cheney and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld." Wilkerson says that the secret workings of this furtive cabal took foreign policy and decisions about war out of the normal government channels.

  • President Bush rediscovers the presumption of innocence.

  • Air America radio network founder Sheldon Drobny believes Fitzgerald tossed a softball.
    Fitzgerald had to indict Libby. Libby's lies were so blatant that Fitzgerald had no choice. But Fitzgerald had a golden opportunity to do enough work to prove the underlying crimes that he was originally investigating. Those crimes involve two offenses in the U.S. Criminal Code; Conspiracy and Outing a CIA agent. Essentially Fitzgerald indicted Libby for preventing his prosecutors from proving the underlying crimes he was investigating by using a baseball metaphor in that Libby "threw sand in the umpires eyes." That part is patently absurd.

    In most conspiracy cases, one or more of the co-conspirators invariably lie to the FBI or the Grand Jury. That is something that prosecutors face all the time. The idea that Libby alone prevented Fitzgerald from proving the underlying crime is absurd. If Cheney told Libby about Valerie Plame, there obviously was a reason. The idea that Cheney, Libby, Rove and Bush did not talk to each other about the purpose of passing on this information to the press is simply not believable. And there were many ways that Fitzgerald could have proven the conspiracy in spite of Libby's lies. The fact that Libby lied would normally embolden a prosecutor to prove the underlying crime. This was not the case for Fitzgerald.

  • Laura Rozen covers the Niger forgeries and Italian involvement:
    The new information is that Nicolo Pollari, head of Italian military intelligence (SISMI), met with deputy director of the national security council, Stephen Hadley. SISMI circles, with their American acolytes on the right, are suspected of having a hand in the creation and distribution of the forgeries alleging Iraqi purchases of Niger yellowcake uranium. Such a meeting is unusual, since foreign officials usually meet their own peers. So Pollari should have been meeting with the head of the Defense Intelligence Agency, not with a high national security council staffer. If Hadley gathered intelligence from Pollari, I suspect it may even have been illicit. (See below*).

    This meeting could be important, because as I remember the story, Hadley authorized the claims in Bush's State of the Union address about Iraqi purchases of African uranium. Bush kept wanting to put the claim in, and the CIA kept making him take it back out, as the Washington Post reported in 2003. When the CIA wouldn't sign off on the Niger uranium claims, someone in Rice's national security council staff (I remember it as Hadley) suggested that it be sourced instead to "British intelligence." But I suspect "British intelligence" is actually a euphemism for "Italian military intelligence." Anyway, Tenet was forced to go along with the change as long as the CIA did not have to certify it was correct. He later apologized even for that much of a lapse. But of course Hadley should have been made to resign.

  • The New York Times still won't answer whether reporter Judy Miller, jailed for contempt during the Fitzgerald investigation, had a special security clearance, as claimed in her October 16 pseudo-mea-culpa. The paper's public editor attempted to discover the answer too, but was unable to obtain an answer either.

28 October 2005

Perhaps it is time for those who strive to be "pro-life" to have a change of heart about their strategy

Yesterday, on the Andrew Tallman program, the withdrawl of Harriet Miers Supreme Court justice nomination was discussed. A great deal of the conversation was centered on the goal of making abortion illegal, and how this should be accomplished (the host righteously argued) via the framework of the constitution as opposed to judicial fiat. That, to blindly select candidates that will overturn Roe v. Wade strictly motivated by their own personal bias is to committ a grievious error on par with that of the "judicial activism" decried by conservatives. Which is a consistency to be commended, given the current conservative political climate where it seems the the ruling philosophy is guided by "the ends justify the means".

But all of the political discussion on abortion, from the perspective of a "pro-life" voter, is predicated on the hypothesis that rendering abortion an illegal act will promote a "culture of life". Is this a true assertion, or is the issue bit more complex, with other unconsidered variables weighing heavier?

James M. Wall, senior editor for Christian Century offered some poignant insights in a recent editorial.

Wall points out that around the globe, the presence or absence of legal restrictions seems to have little to do with whether women decide to have an abortion. For instance, in Belgium and the Netherlands, abortion is legal and covered by national health insurance. These countries report an abortion rate of about seven per 1000 women. In countries such as Peru, Brazil, Chile and Colombia, where abortion is restricted by law, the abortion rate is about 50 per 1000 women. In the United States, the rate is presently about 22 abortions per 1000 women.

Wall asserts in his commentary that a culture of life is flourishing more in Western Europe than in Latin America for several reasons. For one thing, the Belgian and Dutch have access to government-supported health care, child care and parental leave. All of this, Wall notes, "means raising a child is a more sustainable prospect."

Wall points to other studies that seem to indicate that when economic and other social factors are favorable, the rate of abortions drop significantly. He writes, "They will choose against abortion if they have some confidence that the community around them will help them with medical care and child care."

The United States, in terms of abortion rates, is positioned between Western Europe, where abortion is legal and subsidized and Latin America, where it is illegal. Yet, the U.S. rate is three times that of Western Europe, but less than half of that in Latin America. If the preservation of life is the ultimate goal, a more holistic solution is needed.

I would wholeheartedly support an amendment to ban abortion (except for cases or incest or rape, which I realize to some pro-lifers, is rankling), if government-supported health care, child care and parental leave were also enacted.

22 October 2005

Future attacks on urban areas will likely include aspects of fear vector management

John Robb examines terrorist attack crowd location anticipation as part of attack tactics.
Last August, in a Shiite neighborhood in eastern Baghdad, a suicide car bomb went off near a police station across the street from an open air bus station. Ten minutes later, as people crowded in the station to watch the rescue across the street, another suicide bomber drove his car into the station itself. The carnage was widespread but far from over. Twenty minutes later, as the victims of the first two blasts were removed to Kindi hospital only 200 yards away from the terminal, a third suicide car bomb went off at the hospital's side entrance.

What's interesting to me in this incident is the effort spent by the attackers anticipating where crowds would form. This is clearly a substantial tactical advance over earlier efforts (and like most developments from the proving ground in Iraq, something we are likely to see later). The attackers weren't thinking in terms of a single event but rather a series of events where they controlled the outcome. This series had a synergistic effect that far exceeded the impact of the bombs as single random events. The effectiveness of this attack was seen in how the bus terminal bombing set the expectations (shaped the battlefield) for this later event:

Flash forward 13 days to a bridge over the Tigris packed with Shiite pilgrims marching to a shrine for a religious festival. A rumor that there is a suicide bomber in the crowd created a panic that generated a stampede. 965 people die (in the crush or drowned in the river).

What's disturbing (at least to me) is how this type of "fear management" could be scaled. One area of potential application is the planned disruption of crowds fleeing a city. As we saw in the evacuations from Katrina and Rita, our ability to manage mass evacuations are far from adequate even in a benign environment. In an evacuation due to a dirty bomb or even minor biotoxin release, the outcome could be much worse. In either case, if we had a thinking enemy that has planned a series of events that leverage a rudimentary knowledge of crowd dynamics (as exhibited in the bus terminal incident) to disrupt the evacuation, we would likely have a catastrophe. In this situation (as with most system disruption) the crowd would be used to do damage to itself.

The interstates and highways leading out of many American urban metropolitan centers become jammed during holidays or even summer weekends. I can't imagine the chaos in a cascading crisis similar to those occuring in Iraq presently.

21 October 2005

Conservative folklore

Here is a conversation similar to those I've been engaged in over the past years, on the subject of FDR and the Great Depression.
Can't remember now whether it was in high school or sometime in my first couple years of college when I first heard the argument that the New Deal didn't end the Depression.

It was a long time ago, whenever it was, but that first time I heard it was far from the last. It was dismaying then that so many years after FDR there were people who could seriously argue the point and it's even more dismaying now that they're still arguing the point.

But then there are people who still argue that slavery wasn't so bad.

And anyway the South wasn't fighting to protect slavery, it was fighting for States' Rights.

Which rights?

Well, um, the right to permit slavery...

The the New Deal didn't work argument went---goes---Since at some unspecificed point a few years into FDR's first or second term the United States hadn't returned to the level of prosperity it supposedly enjoyed in 1928, nothing Roosevelt did had any real effect.

This comes out of an idea that has been a fundamental of conservative thought forever: Since there is no heaven on earth and no human endeavor is perfect and therefore Utopia is impossible, we might as well not bother trying to solve any problems, particularly if trying means having to spend my tax dollars.

At any rate, whenever I'd make the case that the point from which to begin measuring Roosevelt's success or failure should be 1931 or so, and if you do that you see that things are an awful lot better, on the whole, by 1938.

Yes, would come the insistent rebuttal, but he didn't end the Depression.

The problem I had and anyone with a real knowledge of history has with this argument is that it's true. Roosevelt didn't end the Depression. We don't believe that he did. He saved us from the worst of it, turned the economy around, and set us on a road that led to the great prosperity and stability of the 1950s. It took years for the country to recover. But what you're faced with here is the grade school text book version of history---the Happy Days Are Here Again three paragraph summation of the 1930s and 40s. Roosevelt ended the Depression and won World War II.

If the New Deal didn't end the Depression, what did?

Always, always, the person I was arguing with came back with: World War II.

World War II?

World War II.

Not the New Deal?


So all the massive government spending programs and job programs didn't work?


But World War II did?



By revitalizing American industries and putting everybody back to work!

Uh huh. And what was it, specifically, that revitalized those industries?

Orders for guns and planes and tanks and battleships, of course. There was a war on, duh!

I see. And who was the main customer for all the guns and planes and tanks and battleships?

Um, the Government.

And where did all those people go to work?

Um, the military.

Which means who paid their salaries?

The Government.

So massive Goverment spending and job programs didn't work but then a massive government spending and jobs program did?

Well, yeah. But it was different!

How so?

It just was!

Give me one way.

Well, we needed all that stuff during the war.

The guns and tanks and planes and battleships?


And we didn't need the roads and the schools and new post offices and dams and electrification programs?

Sputter. Sputter.

Here I would helpfully provide my opponent with the point that the good thing about planes, tanks, and battleships is that they get shot down, blown up, and sunk and have to be constantly replaced. You build a school and 30, 40, and even 50 years can by before you have to build another one.

In 1933, when Roosevelt took office, unemployment was at 25%. By 1941, the start of Roosevelt's third term, it shrunk to under 10%. Employment increased from 38 million in 1932, to 44 million in 1936, and in 1941 rose to over 50 million. While not all of FDR's New Deal initiatives were successful, his administration ushered in an era where the size of the middle class mushroomed, and an America where most all willing to work could provide for a family on one income.

Sadly, many blindly swallow the conservative revisionist reassessments, that go completely against the truth of the empirical economic numbers.

18 October 2005

Every mainstream consumer doing typical tasks should consider the Mac

In a Wall Street Journal preview of the upcoming new Windows Vista operating system upgrade, is this morsel on Mac superiority.
You also won't have to worry about Vista if you buy one of Apple Computer's Macintosh computers, which don't run Windows. Every mainstream consumer doing typical tasks should consider the Mac. Its operating system, called Tiger, is better and much more secure than Windows XP, and already contains most of the key features promised for Vista.

Things just work better on a Mac.

Other good news for Apple:

"Through August, Apple's share of the U.S. retail market for computers, excluding online sales, grew to 6.6% from 4.3% in the same period last year, according to market researcher NPD Group," Wolverton reports. "And even without taking into account sales of the newly introduced iPod nano, Apple's share of the U.S. retail market for digital-music players edged upward in recent months to 74%."

16 October 2005

I believed the information came from another source, whom I could not recall

My New York Times Judy Miller with a pseudo-mea-culpa feature piece on her testimony to special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald and the enpaneled federal grand jury.
At that breakfast meeting, our conversation also turned to Mr. Wilson's wife. My notes contain a phrase inside parentheses: "Wife works at Winpac." Mr. Fitzgerald asked what that meant. Winpac stood for Weapons Intelligence, Non-Proliferation, and Arms Control, the name of a unit within the C.I.A. that, among other things, analyzes the spread of unconventional weapons.

I said I couldn't be certain whether I had known Ms. Plame's identity before this meeting, and I had no clear memory of the context of our conversation that resulted in this notation. But I told the grand jury that I believed that this was the first time I had heard that Mr. Wilson's wife worked for Winpac. In fact, I told the grand jury that when Mr. Libby indicated that Ms. Plame worked for Winpac, I assumed that she worked as an analyst, not as an undercover operative.

Mr. Fitzgerald asked me whether Mr. Libby had mentioned nepotism. I said no. And as I told the grand jury, I did not recall - and my interview notes do not show - that Mr. Libby suggested that Ms. Plame had helped arrange her husband's trip to Niger. My notes do suggest that our conversation about Ms. Plame was brief.

Mr. Fitzgerald asked me about another entry in my notebook, where I had written the words "Valerie Flame," clearly a reference to Ms. Plame. Mr. Fitzgerald wanted to know whether the entry was based on my conversations with Mr. Libby. I said I didn't think so. I said I believed the information came from another source, whom I could not recall.

Mr. Fitzgerald asked if I could recall discussing the Wilson-Plame connection with other sources. I said I had, though I could not recall any by name or when those conversations occurred.

Let me get this straight — despite a ledger of detailed notetaking, an award winning reporter who's boasted of her stenographic approach to journalism cannot remember who revealed the identity of Valerie Plame and worse, willingly shuffled off to a jail cell to protect a phantom source? Despite the fact that this feature story broke at the ebb of the news cycle, I expect a massive pile on of journalists across America with any shred of integrity.

Furthermore, it's a confirmation that Ms. Miller has been nothing more than a neconservative tool, a propaganda organ all too eager to play in any key her Bush administration masters want her to strike. Before the illegal, immoral Iraq invasion, she zealously served as a government generated disinformation transmitter, purposefully putting into print fabrications and prevarications orchestrated by the cabal of hawkish administration officials, and her employer never did offer a valid explanation for the faulty WMD reporting.

Some initial takes by Jay Rosen and Arianna Huffington that contend, also, that this "story" indeed raises more questions than answers.

15 October 2005

Format changes could be in the offing for KXXT

James Crystal Enterprises sells three radio stations for a sum of $20 million. One of those stations, KXXT 1010 AM is presently the Phoenix area Air America network affiliate.

Since the buyer, Communicom Broadcasting, purchased another Phoenix radio station that features religous programming, it's a complete guess to what a potential format change has in store.

Communicom Broadcasting executive VP Carl DiMaria confirms for Billboard Radio Monitor that his group, owned by Rich Kylberg, has bought three AM stations from James Crystal Enterprises for $20 million.

Format changes could be in the offing for KXXT. DiMaria wouldn’t offer any suggestions other than to say “We’re not sure what we’re going to do there.”

While other Valley radio stations have abandoned local talkers in favor of syndicated crapola, KXXT 1010 AM features the best of local talk show host talent, including Mike Newcomb and Charles Goyette. That is, if you arn't guzzling the neoconservative "Archie Bunker" Kool-Aid poured out further down the dial. Even though a preponderance of Air America programming is comprised of Democratic shill-dom, it's refreshing to have a balanced over-the-air palette of political pundits, and it will be a disappointing development if the public interest becomes further ill served.

14 October 2005

Don't screw with the librarian

The hero of the day, in a tale of unsolicited facsimile transmissions. Reading it will bring a smile to your face.

Update (10/14 22:07): it appears that the author has removed the contents of his missive, as a result of additional negotiations. However, I have reproduced a cache of said post here…
» read more

13 October 2005

Google Reader

Google has been relentless in developing internet applications, and the latest to enter the realm of public beta is Google Reader. Google Reader is an online newsfeed aggregator, that allows one to turbocharge their web browsing experience. It's Google's foray into a crowded market of RSS or Atom readers.

What the heck is RSS or Atom and why should I care? I wish not to get technical here, but when you point your web browser at an internet site, underneath the seams, it fetches a slew of source code in HTML format that your browser program then takes and renders a suitable display presentation for you. Many sites, including most news sites and blogs also offer a sitefeed, that is arranged in a much simpler format. Typically, it's a short list of less than a dozen items, with a title, link, and descriptive summary (or full article text) — an RSS/Atom aggregator then takes this universal formatted sitefeed and allows one to skim through reams of web sources, with the option to fire the browser at the full page sitting behind the summary feed item. What are the advantages of this method of grokking the world wide web?

  • One can hit all of the internet sites they frequent in a quicker and much more efficient fashion. And it's plain which items are newly added and which are those already read.

  • Access and content display is much faster, since all the garbage is culled off, and you're only left with the "meat" of what you want. Some feeds only offer a headline, some only lead paragraph(s) of an article, but others (including most of the popular blogging software offerings) include the entire contents of an article. No waiting for 212 images to load in your browser, or for a giant table to render properly.

  • If an item is of interest, your newsreader allows you to simply click to the source immediately, moving your browser to that particular web page. Sort of the equivalent of speed reading, it's speed surfing.

  • Some aggregators permit you to view newsfeeds for all of the sites you subscribe to in chronological order, offering a hotlist of all the new items added to the sites you're most interested in.

Now, back to Google Reader. I've been using RSS feeds for a while now, and even here on the home page, you'll note Yahoo! headlines and local Arizona headlines that are just RSS newsfeeds. I've written server side processes to cull headlines from notable sites and used client programs on my Powerbook. But I've long wished for the available time to develop my own internet, server located newsreader. Google reader is the best reader I've used to date, at least in terms of conceptual useability, acknowledging that is a beta product in dire need of refinement and added enhancements.
» read more

11 October 2005

The damage terrorists can inflict pales in comparison to the loss of the civil liberties that protect us from the arbitrary power of law used as a weapon

Paul Craig Roberts believes the police state is closer than you think.
Habeas corpus is the greatest protection Americans have against a police state. Habeas corpus ensures that Americans can only be detained by law. They must be charged with offenses, given access to attorneys, and brought to trial. Habeas corpus prevents the despotic practice of picking up a person and holding him indefinitely.

President Bush claims the power to set aside habeas corpus and to dispense with warrants for arrest and with procedures that guarantee court appearance and trial without undue delay. Today in the US, the executive branch claims the power to arrest a citizen on its own initiative and hold the citizen indefinitely. Thus, Americans are no longer protected from arbitrary arrest and indefinite detention.

These new "seize and hold" powers strip the accused of the protective aspects of law and give reign to selectivity and arbitrariness. No warrant is required for arrest, no charges have to be presented before a judge, and no case has to be put before a jury. As the police are unaccountable, whoever is selected for arrest is at the mercy of arbitrariness.

8 October 2005

This Bong Water tastes good

A look at the burgeoning energy drink market, where Americans are pouring all this electrified Kool-Aid down their throats.
What is emerging is a fascinating sociological mosaic of micro-marketed energy drinks, an array so comprehensive it's like putting all of American pop culture in a convenience store cooler. Among my favorites: Kabbalah Energy Drink (also available in mystic sugar-free); Crunk!!!; Pimpjuice; Happy Bunny Spaz Juice (for the hard-to-reach sorority girl demo); Jones Whoop Ass Energy Drink; Orange County Choppers; Club America (directed at Latino soccer fans); Firefighter Brand EMS Strong; and Raw Dawg, which contains horny goat weed, an "herb" that's an alleged aphrodisiac.

Speaking of herb, coming soon is an "energized soft drink" called Bong Water. This will, of course, lead to the most unlikely sentences ever uttered in English, such as: "This Bong Water tastes good," or "Don't bogart the Bong Water."

Toby McBride, CEO of Bad Boy Beverage Co., wants to assure the public that, "We don't endorse drugs and alcohol." Good to know.

From here there are many directions to go, and considering the frog-on-a-hotplate condition of my brain, I want to go in all of them. What are the metabolic effects of compounds such as taurine, glucuronolactone, L-carnitine and yohimbe extract? According to John Craven, editor of, a beverage industry information resource, nobody really knows, and your government, for the most part, doesn't want to know. "The industry is largely unregulated," Craven says. "As far as soft drinks are concerned, there's no process for getting them tested and approved."

Loads of caffeine, sugar, plus intentional awful taste… …blah.

And the first time I saw that poster hawking Pimpjuice I thought it was some kind of Photoshop prank.

Yes, blame it all on the light bulb.

7 October 2005

Rove's lawyer believes his client is defintely going to be indicted

Lawrence O'Donnell, who's displayed a penchant for PlameGate progression prognostication predicts at least three high level Bush administration officials are going to be indicted as a result of the Patrick Fitzgerald investigation.

And, according to O'Donnell, it's the reason why Rove is voluntarily headed back for 11th hour grand jury testimony.

So, Luskin is sending Rove back into the grand jury to try to get around the prosecutor and sell his innocence directly to the grand jurors. Legal defense work doesn't get more desperate than this. The prosecutor is happy to let Rove go under oath again--without his lawyer in the room--and try to wiggle out of the case. The prosecutor has every right to expect that Rove's final under-oath grilling will either add a count or two to the indictment or force Rove to flip and testify against someone else.

According to some legal experts, it's a risky move for Rove. Murray Waas believes the 4th Rove grand jury appearance will be centered on his slippery words and conflicting statements.

Rove will appear voluntarily, but during tomorrow's session, Rove will be pressed about issues as to why his accounts to the FBI and grand jury have changed, or evolved, over time. He will also be questioned regarding contacts with other senior administration officials, such as then-deputy National Security advisor Stephen J. Hadley and I. Lewis Libby, the chief of staff to Vice President Dick Cheney in the critical week before the publication of columnist Robert Novak's column on July 14, 2003, which outed Plame as a covert CIA operative.

Rove is also likely to be asked more detailed questions about his conversation with Time magazine Matthew Cooper on July 11, 2003, in which Cooper himself has testified to the grand jury that Rove had told him that Valerie Plame was employed by the CIA, and had played a role in having her husband, ambassador Joseph C. Wilson IV, selected to go on his controversial fact-finding mission on behalf of the CIA. Rove's previous grand jury appearances had occurred prior to Cooper's own testimony to the grand jury.

5 October 2005

The Republican spin machine will be spreading lies and it is critical that the citizens of this country have clear facts to judge the truth of the matter

Larry Johnson reiterates that it doesn't matter if indictments arn't handed down in the PlameGate conspiracy, that it still is an outrageous betrayal and that elected officials entrusted with the responsibility to protect national security secrets chose to break this trust for petty political reasons.

Johnson, a former CIA analyst, lays out the facts of the case.

FACT 1--Vice President Cheney asked the CIA on 13 February 2002 to find out the truth about intel reports that Iraq was trying to acquire uranium from Niger.

FACT 2--Valerie Wilson did not hire her husband to go on the mission.

FACT 3--Ambassador Wilson arrived in Niger on 26 February and determined during the course of his visit that there was no substance to the allegation that Iraq was trying to procure uranium in Niger.

FACT 4--During early March 2002, Vice President Cheney asks his CIA briefer for an update on the Niger issue.

FACT 5--In the fall of 2002, CIA officials repeatedly warned Administration and Congressional officials not to accept as fact the claim that Iraq was trying to acquire uranium.

FACT 6--In his State of the Union Address in January 28, 2003, the President included information the CIA previously had refused to clear.

FACT 7--Instigated by Vice President Cheney, the White House pressed the the CIA for information about a claim in a NY Times column that the Vice President had instigated Wilson's trip.

FACT 8--Sometime in June 2003 the White House, with the participation of Karl Rove and Lewis Libby, conceived and executed a plan to discredit Joe Wilson.

FACT 9--Rober Novak, citing two Administration sources, identified Valerie Plame by name as a CIA officier on July 13, 2003.

FACT 10--Valerie Plame was still undercover when Bob Novak published her name.

Ike Was Right

So says CBS curmudgeon Andy Rooney who highlights the former president's parting warning on the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex.
I'm not really clear how much a billion dollars is but the United States — our United States — is spending $5.6 billion a month fighting this war in Iraq that we never should have gotten into.

No other Country spends the kind of money we spend on our military. Last year Japan spent $42 billion. Italy spent $28 billion, Russia spent only $19 billion. The United States spent $455 billion.

We have 8,000 tanks for example. One Abrams tank costs 150 times as much as a Ford station wagon.

We're spending $200 million a year on bullets alone. That's a lot of target practice. We have 1,155,000 enlisted men and women and 225,000 officers. One officer to tell every five enlisted soldier what to do. We have 40,000 colonels alone and 870 generals.

4 October 2005

The power of federal prosecutors approaches the powers of the central leadership of the old communist and Nazi regimes

And President Bush again displays his preference for a pro-corporate presidential supremacist. Moreover, the Miers nomination is awash in cronyism, as the career rise of Harriet Miers is inextricably linked to her absolute devotion to George W. Bush.

In fact, she helped to bury the story of young Bush and his troublesome National Guard service. She's been a loyal servant to Bush, even briefing the President on August 6, 2001, which happened to be the same day on which President Bush received another briefing titled, Bin Laden determined to strike in U.S..

Also, there's questionable details about her experiences as head of Locke, Liddell & Sapp; a sleazy corporate law firm based in Dallas.

All of this amidst a chorus of charges that she is totally unqualified for a Supreme Court justice seat. Many of the Bush faithful are expressing thier disappointment with the selection of Miers. Opponents have even responded by circulating push polls to label Miers as a gay rights advocate.

There are some critical law decisions on the horizon that will address and deal with the emerging digital realms and advances in biology and technology in general. It sure seems that one-sided judges that defer to absolute presidential powers and exceedingly kowtow to corporate interests. And it appears that we're powerless to stop the erosion of justice for all.

Gerrymandering is not only about one party trying to squeeze a few more representatives for its party’s congressional delegation

David Brin, in the midst of a ten part series on the evils of gerrymandering.
There are other purposes and goals that go much farther and have more debilitating effects upon democracy.

One of these has been the aim of creating as many safe districts as possible. Not only for the majority party in a state, but also for members of the minority party! In effect, the practice creates job security for professional politicians, at the expense of competitive elections all across the United States.

Out of 435 seats in the US House of Representatives, only a couple of dozen are considered “open” or truly competitive in Campaign 2006, with both Democrat and Republican starting even, ready to be judged primarily on the basis of policies, politics and personality.

Here is a partial index of the articles written by Dr. Brin thus far.

  1. The worst insult to 21st century liberty: ... the Gerrymander Gambit
  2. Gerrymandering at the surface: ...the “harmless” way it’s generally portrayed
  3. Hidden Goals of Gerrymandering: ...protect politicians from fickle voters

Many argue for the implementation of term limits to address the ills of lifetime politicians who remain detached from the public interest, but this issue of redistricting and carving up safe districts (and the minority party equally eager to accept "for sure" slots at the expense of sacrificing chance to gain a majority of seats for their party) disenfranchises the average American voter.