Friday, October 21, 2005

weariness of buddy don: wore plum out

whut a week fer wurk. i lef a lil early yesterdy -- only 10.5 hours fer the day (whut a slacker am i!). i dream of puttin sum of these stories into a 'linkoem,' as tennessee jed lacks to call them linked up bits of doggerl -- bloggerl -- i rite ever so often. thays plenty of grist fer the mill here:
  • Aide Says FEMA Ignored Warnings; Testimony Covers Communication as Levees Breached:
    For 16 critical hours, Federal Emergency Management Agency officials, including former director Michael D. Brown, dismissed urgent eyewitness accounts by FEMA's only staffer in New Orleans that Hurricane Katrina had broken the city's levee system the morning of Aug. 29 and was causing catastrophic flooding, the staffer told the Senate yesterday.
  • A Palpable Silence at the White House; Few Ready to Face Effects of Leak Case:
    At 7:30 each morning, President Bush's senior staff gathers to discuss the important issues of the day -- Middle East peace, the Harriet Miers nomination, the latest hurricane bearing down on the coast. Everything, that is, except the issue on everyone's mind.

    With special counsel Patrick J. Fitzgerald driving his CIA leak investigation toward an apparent conclusion, the White House now confronts the looming prospect that no one in the building is eager to address: a Bush presidency without Karl Rove. In a capital consumed by scandal speculation, most White House senior officials are no more privy than outsiders to the prosecutor's intentions. But the surreal silence in the Roosevelt Room each morning belies the nervous discussions racing elsewhere around the West Wing.
  • The Cutting Cost of Spending:
    In a speech last month, Bush said he'd "work with members of Congress to identify offsets to free up money for the reconstruction efforts."

    Mike Pence (R-Ind.), a leader of a group of fiscal conservatives in the House called the Republican Study Group (RSG), has suggested that the federal government "pay for the cost of Katrina by reducing the size and scope of government."

    Democrats argued Wednesday that the real reason Republicans were trying to cut the budget was to offset some of their proposed $70 billion in new tax cuts -- including a permanent repeal of the estate tax.
  • Colonel Finally Saw Whites of Their Eyes:
    As Colin Powell's right-hand man at the State Department, Larry Wilkerson seethed quietly during President Bush's first term. Yesterday, Colonel Wilkerson made up for lost time.

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

    And how about Karen Hughes's efforts to boost the country's image abroad? "It's hard to sell [manure]," Wilkerson said, quoting an Egyptian friend.

    The man who was chief of staff at the State Department until early this year continued: "If you're unilaterally declaring Kyoto dead, if you're declaring the Geneva Conventions not operative, if you're doing a host of things that the world doesn't agree with you on and you're doing it blatantly and in their face, without grace, then you've got to pay the consequences."
  • Rove Told Jury Libby May Have Been His Source In Leak Case; Top Aides Talked Before Plame's Name Was Public:
    White House adviser Karl Rove told the grand jury in the CIA leak case that I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, Vice President Cheney's chief of staff, may have told him that CIA operative Valerie Plame worked for the intelligence agency before her identity was revealed, a source familiar with Rove's account said yesterday.

    In a talk that took place in the days before Plame's CIA employment was revealed in 2003, Rove and Libby discussed conversations they had had with reporters in which Plame and her marriage to Iraq war critic Joseph C. Wilson IV were raised, the source said. Rove told the grand jury the talk was confined to information the two men heard from reporters, the source said.

    Rove has also testified that he also heard about Plame from someone else outside the White House, but could not recall who.
  • Judy Miller, Piece of Work:
    If you've been following the twists and turns of the saga of Judith Miller -- the New York Times reporter jailed for refusing to reveal her anonymous source or sources, making her the only person imprisoned so far in the White House leaks scandal -- there are two facts that none of the stories has made clear.

    One is the identity of the person who first told Miller that Valerie Plame, or "Valerie Flame" as she wrote in her notebook, worked for the CIA. That's something only Miller knows, or once knew -- she seems to have forgotten.

    The other is something everybody in Washington media circles knows: Judy Miller is a real piece of work.
  • Fitzgerald is no Ken Starr; The same pundits who are absurdly smearing Fitzgerald as a partisan zealot were notably silent during the Whitewater disgrace:
    Oct. 21, 2005 | With the mounting anticipation that Bush administration officials will be indicted in the CIA leak investigation, we have arrived at the stage that was always inevitable: a wave of preemptive attacks on special counsel Patrick Fitzgerald and his expected prosecutions.

    While the attackers have various motives, their arguments tend to share the same specious themes: that the special counsel has "run amok"; that he is pursuing the "criminalization of politics"; that no crimes were committed except possibly in covering up administration misbehavior, which supposedly are not crimes worth prosecuting; and that Fitzgerald is somehow comparable to Kenneth W. Starr, the Whitewater independent counsel whose gross abuse of his office led to its abolition.

    To anyone familiar with the most basic facts about Fitzgerald's prosecution, the quarreling with him and his methods simply sounds stupid. Do the Republican partisans who claim that he is running a "political" investigation realize that John Ashcroft's deputy appointed him? Do those same Republicans remember that the president endorsed his appointment and the purposes of the investigation? Do they know that the original demand for an investigation came from former CIA director George Tenet?

    Having ascertained that someone probably had committed a crime by leaking Valerie Plame Wilson's CIA identity to Robert Novak and other journalists, the agency repeatedly asked the Justice Department to investigate. Eventually the department opened a case, but after three months and under intense criticism, Attorney General Ashcroft recused himself and asked his deputy to appoint a special counsel. Fitzgerald, already an appointee of the Bush administration as the U.S. attorney for the Northern District of Illinois, accepted the job when asked.

    So whatever damage Fitzgerald may ultimately do, he is not an independent counsel unleashed by opposition forces to bring down the Bush administration. The president has endorsed his integrity and competence, and no one has uncovered a hint of a political motive or any conflict of interest.
  • Suddenly, it's a vast left-wing conspiracy:
    I'VE BEEN waiting for quite a while now for conservatives to come up with a theory to explain why large chunks of the Republican Party are, or soon will be, under indictment. The argument I've been anticipating has finally arrived, in the form of a long lead editorial in the latest edition of the influential conservative magazine the Weekly Standard.

    The editorial, written by Standard Editor William Kristol and longtime conservative activist Jeffrey Bell, begins by acknowledging the uncomfortable fact that "the most prominent promoters of the conservative agenda of the Bush administration" are facing legal troubles of one kind or another. It cites the legal imbroglios of Karl Rove, Dick Cheney, Tom DeLay and Bill Frist. It neglects to mention David Safavian, the chief of staff at the General Services Administration in the Bush administration; conservative activist/superlobbyists Jack Abramoff and Michael Scanlon; and Reps. Randy "Duke" Cunningham (R-Rancho Santa Fe) and Robert W. Ney (R-Ohio), and perhaps some others I'm forgetting.

    Anyway, one conclusion you could draw from all these examples is that the Republican Party has gotten a bit corrupt. The Standard does not, however, draw this conclusion. Another possibility is that it's all just a coincidence. The Standard doesn't conclude that, either. Instead, the editorial declares, "a comprehensive strategy of criminalization had been implemented to inflict defeat on conservatives who seek to govern as conservatives."

    The wording here is instructive. The authors have obviously chosen to use the passive voice to avoid having to spell out just who has implemented this comprehensive strategy of criminalization. That's because answering that question would expose just how silly their theory is.
i do have one thang i wood lack to know: whar are them dimcrats? whuts thar plan? is it jes to hope them publicans self-deestruck? whut wood they do ifn they wuz to git inny power back? tiz bout time they tole us on a counta we need sumbidy that kin ackshly make gummint wurk n we know them publicans dont thank it orta or kin or is innythang but a problem, witch they way they run it, thar rite.

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