Wednesday, February 15, 2006

ramblins of buddy don: hip note eyesed

i caint hep but be fassinated by the story bout our vice presdint shootin one of his friends by acksident. i know i orta keer bout other thangs such as these stories:
  • Abramoff Bragged of Ties to Rove:
    WASHINGTON — When the government of Malaysia sought to repair its tarnished image in the U.S. by arranging a meeting between President Bush and its controversial prime minister in 2002, it followed the same strategy as many other well-heeled interests in Washington: It called on lobbyist Jack Abramoff for help.

    It was a tall order. The then-prime minister, Mahathir Mohamad, had been chastised by the Clinton administration for repeated anti-Semitic statements and for jailing political opponents. But it was important to the Malaysians, according to a former Abramoff associate who attended meetings with the Malaysian ambassador and the lobbyist.

    Abramoff contacted presidential advisor Karl Rove on at least four occasions to help arrange a meeting, the witness said.

    Finally, the former associate said, Rove's office called to tell Abramoff that the Malaysian leader soon would be getting an official White House invitation.

    Neither the former Abramoff associate nor any others who spoke about the Malaysian contacts wanted their names used, out of fear they might damage future business opportunities.

    In May 2002, Mahathir met with Bush in the Oval Office; his photograph with the president was beamed around the world.
  • Quick Rise for Purveyors of Propaganda in Iraq:
    Two years ago, Christian Bailey and Paige Craig were living in a half-renovated Washington group house, with a string of failed startup companies behind them.

    Mr. Bailey, a boyish-looking Briton, and Mr. Craig, a chain-smoking former Marine sergeant, then began winning multimillion-dollar contracts with the United States military to produce propaganda in Iraq.

    Now their company, Lincoln Group, works out of elegant offices along Pennsylvania Avenue and sponsors polo matches in Virginia horse country. Mr. Bailey recently bought a million-dollar Georgetown row house. Mr. Craig drives a Jaguar and shows up for interviews accompanied by his "director of security," a beefy bodyguard.

    The company's rise, though, has been built in part by exaggerated claims about its abilities and connections, according to interviews with more than a dozen current and former Lincoln Group employees and associates, and a review of company documents.
  • Senate Scrubs Hearings as Politics Trump Policy in an Election Year:
    The Senate has never been a bastion of managerial efficiency. But as the campaign season gets into full swing, lawmakers say things are clearly getting worse.

    Four cabinet secretaries, including Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, an Army general and the secretary of the Army were supposed to testify Tuesday morning at hearings on matters including Hurricane Katrina and the Bush administration's proposed budget for foreign affairs.

    But their invitations were rescinded and the hearings canceled when the Senate majority leader, Bill Frist of Tennessee, scheduled a marathon series of 16 votes on amendments to a pending tax bill — all of them, both parties agree, intended more to score political points than to make policy.
    Ultimately, most of those votes were canceled.

    They could have been held Monday night, but that did not work for Mr. Frist. He was holding a fund-raiser at his Washington home, with President Bush as the featured guest and some of his Republican colleagues on the guest list, including the Senate whip, Mitch McConnell of Kentucky. The event raised $3.5 million for Republican Senate candidates.

    So Mr. Frist put the votes off until Tuesday.
  • Afghan Suicide Bombings, Tied to Taliban, Point to Pakistan:
    Arrests and interrogations of suspects in a recent series of suicide bombings in Afghanistan show that the attacks have been orchestrated from Pakistan by members of the ousted Taliban government with little interference by the Pakistani authorities, Afghan officials say.

    In taped interviews by an Afghan interrogator, two Afghans and three Pakistanis who were among 21 people arrested in recent weeks described their roles in the attacks, which have killed at least 70 people in the last three months, most of them Afghan civilians but also international peacekeepers, a Canadian diplomat and a dozen Afghan police officers and soldiers.

    In the tape, the men described a fairly low-budget network that begins with the recruitment of young bombers in the sprawling Pakistani port city of Karachi. The bombers are moved to safe houses in the border towns of Quetta and Chaman, and then transferred into Afghanistan, where they are provided with cars and explosives and sent out to find a target.

    The tape appears to confirm Afghan officials' suspicions that the suicide bombings, which are largely a recent phenomenon in Afghanistan, were generated outside Afghanistan, and in particular from neighboring Pakistan. It was shown to The New York Times by an Afghan official who asked not to be identified because of the diplomatic implications of the contents.
    325,000 Names on Terrorism List; Rights Groups Say Database May Include Innocent People:
    The National Counterterrorism Center maintains a central repository of 325,000 names of international terrorism suspects or people who allegedly aid them, a number that has more than quadrupled since the fall of 2003, according to counterterrorism officials.

    The list kept by the National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC) -- created in 2004 to be the primary U.S. terrorism intelligence agency -- contains a far greater number of international terrorism suspects and associated names in a single government database than has previously been disclosed. Because the same person may appear under different spellings or aliases, the true number of people is estimated to be more than 200,000, according to NCTC officials.

    U.S. citizens make up "only a very, very small fraction" of that number, said an administration official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of his agency's policies. "The vast majority are non-U.S. persons and do not live in the U.S.," he added. An NCTC official refused to say how many on the list -- put together from reports supplied by the CIA, the FBI, the National Security Agency (NSA) and other agencies -- are U.S. citizens.

    The NSA is a key provider of information for the NCTC database, although officials refused to say how many names on the list are linked to the agency's controversial domestic eavesdropping effort. Under the program, the NSA has conducted wiretaps on an unknown number of U.S. citizens without warrants.
but heres whut gits my blood a'goin this mornin:
  • Cheney's Response A Concern In GOP; Public Statement On Shooting Urged:
    Vice President Cheney's slow and unapologetic public response to the accidental shooting of a 78-year-old Texas lawyer is turning the quail-hunting mishap into a political liability for the Bush administration and is prompting senior White House officials to press Cheney to publicly address the issue as early as today, several prominent Republicans said yesterday.

    The Republicans said Cheney should have immediately disclosed the shooting Saturday night to avoid even the suggestion of a coverup and should have offered a public apology for his role in accidentally shooting Harry Whittington, a GOP lawyer from Austin. Whittington was hospitalized Saturday night in Corpus Christi, Tex., and was moved back into the intensive-care unit after suffering an abnormal heart rhythm yesterday morning.

    "I cannot believe he does not look back and say this should have been handled differently," said Vin Weber, a former Republican congressman from Minnesota who is close to the White House. Weber said Cheney "made it a much bigger issue than it needed to be."

    Marlin Fitzwater, a former Republican White House spokesman, told Editor & Publisher magazine that Cheney "ignored his responsibility to the American people."
    The episode is turning into a defining moment for Cheney, a vice president who has operated with enormous clout to shape White House policy while avoiding public scrutiny over the past five years.
  • Congressional Probe of NSA Spying Is in Doubt:
    Congress appeared ready to launch an investigation into the Bush administration's warrantless domestic surveillance program last week, but an all-out White House lobbying campaign has dramatically slowed the effort and may kill it, key Republican and Democratic sources said yesterday.

    The Senate intelligence committee is scheduled to vote tomorrow on a Democratic-sponsored motion to start an inquiry into the recently revealed program in which the National Security Agency eavesdrops on an undisclosed number of phone calls and e-mails involving U.S. residents without obtaining warrants from a secret court. Two committee Democrats said the panel -- made up of eight Republicans and seven Democrats -- was clearly leaning in favor of the motion last week but now is closely divided and possibly inclined against it.

    They attributed the shift to last week's closed briefings given by top administration officials to the full House and Senate intelligence committees, and to private appeals to wavering GOP senators by officials, including Vice President Cheney. "It's been a full-court press," said a top Senate Republican aide who asked to speak only on background -- as did several others for this story -- because of the classified nature of the intelligence committees' work.

    Lawmakers cite senators such as Olympia J. Snowe (R-Maine) to illustrate the administration's success in cooling congressional zeal for an investigation. On Dec. 20, she was among two Republicans and two Democrats who signed a letter expressing "our profound concern about recent revelations that the United States Government may have engaged in domestic electronic surveillance without appropriate legal authority." The letter urged the Senate's intelligence and judiciary committees to "jointly undertake an inquiry into the facts and law surrounding these allegations."

    In an interview yesterday, Snowe said, "I'm not sure it's going to be essential or necessary" to conduct an inquiry "if we can address the legislative standpoint" that would provide oversight of the surveillance program. "We're learning a lot and we're going to learn more," she said.
  • Orange Morning Gives Way to a Darker Afternoon:
    White House press secretary Scott McClellan was in fine fettle yesterday morning when he strode smiling into the briefing room and made a joke about Vice President Cheney's hunting accident.
    President Bush, he announced, would be on the South Lawn to honor the national champion University of Texas Longhorns, whose football jerseys are burnt orange and white. "The orange they're wearing is not because they are concerned that the vice president will be there," the spokesman deadpanned.

    The reporters, who had tormented a stone-faced McClellan about the episode on Monday, guffawed at his newfound levity. "Although," McClellan continued, pointing to his orange tie and eyeing the loaded-for-bear reporters, "that's why I'm wearing it."

    But the stand-up routine ended abruptly when McClellan returned two hours later for the afternoon briefing. The joking spokesman had been replaced by flack in full scandal mode, informing the questioners that he would indulge the silliness no more and was, instead, pressing on with the people's business.

    "If you all want to continue focus on this, you all can spend your time on it," he said icily. "We're going to keep focusing on the pressing priorities of the American people. . . . You're welcome to continue to focus on these issues. I'm moving on." Nine times the press secretary announced to the cameras that he was going ahead with the people's "priorities," regardless of what the feckless journalists were asking about.

    Why the quick switch in tone? Unbeknownst to the reporters -- but well beknownst to McClellan -- the White House had been informed before the second briefing that the shooting victim, Harry Whittington, had suffered a heart attack and had undergone a cardiac procedure because a pellet from the vice presidential shotgun was in his heart. Suddenly, the White House had more than an embarrassment on its hands.
  • Loose Cannon:
    Who's calling the shots at the White House? Dick Cheney, of course.

    There are lots of lessons to be learned from Vice President Cheney's accidental shooting of a hunting buddy on Saturday, and the ensuing press blackout.

    But the evidence suggests that Cheney isn't interested in learning any of them. Instead, the public is getting an opportunity to learn some lessons about Cheney.

    And lesson number one is that Cheney gets his way.
  • An Arrogance of Power:
    There is a temptation that seeps into the souls of even the most righteous politicians and leads them to bend the rules, and eventually the truth, to suit the political needs of the moment. That arrogance of power is on display with the Bush administration.

    The most vivid example is the long delay in informing the country that Vice President Cheney had accidentally shot a man last Saturday while hunting in Texas. For a White House that informs us about the smallest bumps and scrapes suffered by the president and vice president, the lag is inexplicable. But let us assume the obvious: It was an attempt to delay and perhaps suppress embarrassing news. We will never know whether the vice president's office would have announced the incident at all if the host of the hunting party, Katharine Armstrong, hadn't made her own decision Sunday morning to inform her local paper.

    Nobody died at Armstrong Ranch, but this incident reminds me a bit of Sen. Edward Kennedy's delay in informing Massachusetts authorities about his role in the fatal automobile accident at Chappaquiddick in 1969. That story, and dozens of others about the Kennedy family, illustrates how wealthy, powerful people can behave as if they are above the law. For my generation, the fall of Richard Nixon is the ultimate allegory about how power can corrupt and destroy. It begins not with venality but with a sense of God-given mission.

    I would be inclined to leave Cheney to the mercy of Jon Stewart and Jay Leno if it weren't for other signs that this administration has jumped the tracks. What worries me most is the administration's misuse of intelligence information to advance its political agenda. For a country at war, this is truly dangerous.
  • Fellow Hunter Shot by Cheney Suffers Setback:
    The 78-year-old lawyer shot by Vice President Dick Cheney in a hunting accident over the weekend suffered a minor heart attack early Tuesday caused by birdshot lodged in his heart, hospital officials in Texas said.

    The lawyer, Harry M. Whittington, was moved back into the intensive care unit at Christus Spohn Hospital in Corpus Christi, Tex., to be monitored for up to a week in case the birdshot shifted or additional pellets in his body moved into other organs, the officials said at a televised news conference. Dr. David Blanchard, the emergency room chief, estimated that Mr. Whittington had more than 5 but "probably less than 150 to 200" pellets lodged in his body.
  • Account of Doctors Raises Questions on Heart Injury:
    The account given yesterday by doctors caring for the Texas lawyer accidentally shot by Vice President Dick Cheney last weekend raises serious questions about how and when a pellet entered his heart and what tests were done to establish where the pellet was lodged, doctors not connected with his case said.

    Although the public was told for the first time yesterday that a shotgun pellet from a hunting accident had lodged in the lawyer's heart, one of his doctors said that "we knew that he had some birdshot very close to the heart from the get-go," but not its precise location.

    Such evidence would have come from standard chest X-rays and a CT scan if one was performed shortly after his admission to a hospital in Corpus Christi, Tex.

    Earlier accounts described as minor the pellet wounds that the lawyer, Harry M. Whittington, suffered in the face, neck, chest and ribs.
  • Shooter Slips on a Silencer:
    Who did this old guy think he was, coming between Dick Cheney and his helpless prey?

    The luckless 78-year-old Texas lawyer, Harry Whittington, is in intensive care after a heart attack, with up to 200 pellets riddling his face and body — one stuck in his heart — from Dick Cheney's designer Perazzi Brescia shotgun. And still his friend, the vice president, is Swift-BB-ing him.

    Private citizens have been enlisted to blame the victim. Maybe poor Mr. Whittington put himself in the wrong place at the wrong time. But he was, after all, behind Vice, not in front of him. And the hunter pulling the trigger is supposed to make sure he has a clear shot. Wouldn't it be, well, classy for Shooter to express just a bit of contrition and humility?

    Instead, the usual sliming has begun, with the Cheney camp trying to protect the vice president by casting a veteran hunter as Elmer Dud.

    Scott McClellan told the White House press corps that Katharine Armstrong, a lobbyist with government ties who owns the Texas ranch (and whose mother, Anne, was on the Halliburton board that hired Mr. Cheney as C.E.O.), "pointed out that the protocol was not followed by Mr. Whittington when it came to notifying the others that he was there."

    As the story of the weekend's bizarre hunting accident is wrenched out of the White House, the picture isn't pretty: With American soldiers dying in Iraq, Five-Deferment Dick "I Had Other Priorities in the 60's Than Military Service" Cheney gets his macho kicks gunning down little birds and the occasional old man while W. rides his bike, blissfully oblivious to any collateral damage. Shouldn't these guys work on weekends until we figure out how to fix Iraq, New Orleans, Medicare and gas prices?
  • Prosecutor: Cheney could face grand jury investigation if victim dies:
    The heart troubles facing Harry Whittington are said not to be life-threatening, but what if they are? If the 78-year-old lawyer dies of the wounds he suffered when he was shot by Dick Cheney, the vice president would likely face a greater degree of legal scrutiny than that to which he has been subjected so far, the New York Times is reporting.

    Kleberg County District Attorney Carlos Valdez tells the Times that the death of Cheney's victim would prompt a new report from the local sheriff and, probably, a grand jury investigation. "The victim probably told the sheriff's department it was an accident," Valdez says. "Now, if the worst happens and the man happens to die, we would take an additional step."

    As the Times explains, "even an accidental hunting fatality" can lead to criminal charges if prosecutors or a grand jury believed that Cheney acted negligently in turning to shoot at a bird in flight without noticing first that Whittington was in his line of fire.
ifn ye wonta make a comment, click on link n ye will see how ye kin.

1 comment:

Tennessee Jed said...

I has my eyes and ears too! Thanks for the links to other news. This would be a good time for the President to pull another trick with this diversion afoot. Say pardon a few like minded crooks real quick while we are watching the NRA links or dismiss the whole wiretap issue somehow. I hate to always expect underhanded crap from this White House, but "I have been learned" over the past few years.

One point I want to make is that I know what happens in every part of our country when someone arrives at the Hospital with a gunshot, police start asking questions right away...lots of questions. I wonder why it was not public record right away.