Monday, October 31, 2005

Bully Boy's Week From Hell

Good evening. Hope everyone had a great weekend. Let's kick things off with three things from Democracy Now! Remember Elaine and me get together on the phone to discuss which ones to choose so check out Like Maria Said Paz for her take.

Libby Resigns After Five Count Indictment in CIA Leak Case
For the first time in 130 years, a White House staff member has been indicted for crimes committed in the office. On Friday, Lewis "Scooter" Libby was indicted on five counts of obstruction of justice, perjury to a grand jury and making false statements to FBI agents during the CIA leak investigation. If convicted, he faces up to 30 years in prison and $1.25 million in fines. Until Friday Libby was a central figure in the Bush White House holding three top positions: chief of staff to Vice President Cheney, national security adviser to the vice president and assistant to the president. Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald announced the indictment on Friday. President Bush's chief advisor Karl Rove has so far escaped indictment for his role in the outing of CIA operative Valerie Plame, the wife of Ambassador Joseph Wilson. But Rove remains under investigation. On Sunday Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid called on Bush to apologize and for Rove to resign. Bush and Cheney have both praised Libby for his service. The top candidate to replace Libby is David Addington who currently works as the vice president's legal counsel. Three years ago he wrote a memo that asserted the war on terrorism renders obsolete the Geneva Convention's limitations of questioning detainees. Ambassador Wilson accused Libby and the White House of outing his wife, Valerie Plame. He said, "Senior administration officials used the power of the White House to make our lives hell for the last 27 months. But more important, they did it as part of a clear effort to cover up the lies and disinformation used to justify the invasion of Iraq. That is the ultimate crime."

Now just hold on for the next item.

After "Week From Hell" Bush's Approval Rating Drops
New polls show that the public trust in the Bush administration has reached a new low. A new ABC News/Washington Post Poll has found Bush's approval rating to be just 39 percent - the lowest of his presidency. Meanwhile 46 percent of the country says the level of honesty and ethics in the government has declined under Bush. Only 15 percent of the country feel Bush has restored honesty and ethics to the government. This comes after what Time Magazine described as the worst week of Bush's presidency. Within a span of four days the U.S. death toll in Iraq topped 2,000, Harriet Miers withdrew her nomination to the Supreme Court and Lewis Scooter Libby was indicted and resigned. Time described it as Bush's QUOTE "Week from Hell."

Week from Hell is right and bout time, you ask me. We've lived under five years of hell, bout time Bully Boy got at least a week of it. Too bad he didn't get it sooner like before he sent us over into an illegal war that over 2,000 American troops have died and who knows how many Iraqis. It's too bad the press was too damn timid to ask him questions or to challenge him. We did an editorial at The Third Estate Sunday Review this week and this point was made:

We hope it's not over. We hope there's more to come on Rove and that information made public demonstrates this was an orchestrated smear to discredit critics. The way they've done all along. With the help of a compliant press. In Watergate, the press didn't always play along. The trashing of Jean Seberg depended upon Joyce Harber getting reassurance from her editor (who passed the smear along) that the "source" was reliable before it found its way into The LA Times. These days, the press runs with anything. Pearl Jam audience stages mass walk out. (Didn't happen, AP.) Linda Ronstadt booed from stage. (Didn't happen.) Possibly, of the overt moments, nothing will ever match Diane Sawyer's repeated attempts at public shaming the Dixie Chicks. "Aren't you ashamed?" she repeated over and over while identify the Bully Boy as the commander-in-chief. We missed the part where Diane Sawyer signed up for the military but she obviously signed up to do her part for the Bully Boy. (Don't give her credit for correcting the Howard Dean non-scream. That took lobbying behind the scenes.)

It's bad enough that the press didn't bother to ask the questions that needed to be asked but it's worse that they used their power to attempt to shame and embarrass the people who showed more guts than they did. Dad was really impressed that I knew who Jean Seberg is. He asked me after he read the editorial and goes, "That was C.I., right?" and I go yeah and start telling him the story. Dad knew who she was. She was an actress who went to France and became famous and we're going to watch Breathless with Nina tonight if I can finish this and get it posted. Breathless is one of her famous movies. So she was active politically and stuff and then the press started putting out that she was pregnant by a Black Panther which was a cause she supported but the baby's father wasn't a Black Panther and they were using that to try to smear her and silence her. I didn't know any of this stuff. C.I. was filling us in because a lot of us didn't know about it. (I think Kat did and Elaine and Rebecca knew some of the story.) So this Joyce Harber is a gossip columnist for the LA Times in Los Angeles and she prints it as a blind item but it's obvious who she means. And she only printed it because her editor (who later ended up becoming editor of the paper and tried to play it like he couldn't remember any of this) passed it to her and told her it was from a reliable source. The FBI was trying to plant something like that about Jean Seberg to discredit her and make people not like her. So it appears in the paper and that's just the beginning of the story. Anyway, point is the press tries to smear sometimes and they sure did try to smear for their Bully Boy.

Rosa Parks Lies in Honor at U.S. Capitol
In Washington, over10,000 people began lining up Sunday outside the Capitol to pay homage to civil rights pioneer Rosa Parks who died last week at the age of 92. Parks' body is lying in honor at the U.S. Capitol in the Rotunda. According to Senate historian Richard Baker, Parks is the first private citizen to ever be accorded the honor. She is also the first woman and second African-American to lie in honor at the Capitol. The tribute is usually reserved for heads of state. President Reagan was the last person to lie in state at the Capitol. A memorial service will be held today at the Metropolitan AME Church in Washington. Her body will then be flown to Detroit for a funeral on Wednesday. On Sunday a memorial service was also in Montgomery Alabama. We'll have more on Rosa Parks later in the show.

Rosa Parks deserved that honor. And then some. Cedric found a great poem that he shared in The Third Estate Sunday Review news review:

Cedric: As most will know already, Rosa Parks, civil rights pioneer who refused to give up her seat on the bus when ordered to do so which led to the a city wide, bus riders strike, passed away Monday. I've thought about what to say to note the death of a leader and toyed with a biographical sketch or a timeline. But one of the books we read for this week's book discussion offered something that I felt summed up things better than I ever could. From The Dream Keeper and Other Poems, Langston Hughes' "Mother to Son:"
Well, son, I'll tell you:
Life for me ain't been no crystal stair.
It's had tacks in it,
And splinters,
And boards torn up,
And places with no carpet on the floor --
But all the time
I'se been a-climbin' on,
And reachin' landin's,
And turnin' corners,
And sometimes goin' in the dark
Where there ain't been no light.
So, boy, don't you turn back.
Don't you set down on the steps.
'Cause you finds it kinder hard.
Don't you fall now --
For I'se still goin', honey,
I'se still climbin',
And life for me ain't been no crystal stair.

I really think Cedric found the perfect poem that sums it all up. Rosa Parks was part of a movement and the movement carries on.

From the news review we did at The Third Estate Sunday Review:

C.I.: Thank you Cedric. Again, Langston Hughes' "Mother to Son." Rosa Parks passed away Monday at the age of 92. The following day the US military fatality rate for those killed in Iraq reached 2,000. For news on Iraq, we go to Elaine of Like Maria Said Paz and Mike of Mikey Likes It. We started with Mike last weekend, so Elaine, why don't you start?
Elaine: C.I., the official fatality count for American troops in Iraq stands at 2016. When the count reached 2,000 this past week, over . The official count for American troops wounded in Iraq is 15,220.
Mike: Three of the 2016 who've died in Bully Boy's war of choice are from yesterday, two from a roadside bomb in southern Baghdad and one died near Baiji.
Elaine: While the causes of death in those cases are clear, another military death is less so. The Associated Press reports that an unnamed American soldier was found dead Friday. The cause of death is under investigation. Al Jazeera reports that in Huweder, a car bomb has killed 26 Iraqis.
Mike: The AP offers 30,000 as their count for Iraqis who've died during the invasion/occupation.
Elaine: The occupation has also taken a toll on recruitment in the United States with the military having to lower expections each month. As reported by CounterRecruiter, the figures for fiscal year 2005 find the military 6,600 soldiers short of their target goals. The occupation is also effecting numbers in Great Britain. The war in Iraq is identified, by Michael Smith in London's Sunday Times, as the reason for 6,000 members of England's Territorial Army which has resulted in "a manning crisis."
Mike: Another crisis is the one described by Rahul Mahajan at Empire Notes:
After last November's demolition of Fallujah and its transformation into a prison camp, insurgents shifted their focus to Mosul and Ramadi, as well as towns along the Euphrates up toward the Syrian border. Mosul, which had seen very few incidents before, became a hotbed of violence; Ramadi, which had been quite active before, became probably the city in Iraq in which there has consistently been the most fighting between the occupying forces and the resistance.
In the last six weeks, 21 American soldiers have been killed in Ramadi, far more than in any other city in Iraq, the vast majority by roadside improvised explosive devices, detonated when troops patrolled.
There is no police force in Ramadi and the local government set up by the U.S.-initiated political process is largely unable to function (the deputy governor of Anbar province was recently assassinated).
Elaine: And the indictment of Scooter Libby is said to lead to a political crisis for the Bully Boy. England's The Independent headlines "Special report: Bush faces his Watergate." In this article, by Andrew Buncombe, it's noted that:
But the issues raised by "Plamegate" - the leaking of the identity of Valerie Plame, an undercover CIA agent - are far more significant than those involved in the "second-rate burglary" of the Democratic National Committee's offices in Washington's Watergate complex in the 1970s. They go to the heart of why America, and its faithful ally, Britain, went to war in Iraq.
Mike: A point missed by Todd S. Purdum who prefers sniffing his own dirty jock strap to reporting. From The Common Ills yesterday, storry C.I. my sister begged me to work this in:
Let's start with Todd S. Purdum ("A Prosecutor's Focus Shifted to a Cover-Up") who apparently decided that instead of washing his dirty jock, he'd turn it inside out and wear it for another six months without washing. That would explain how the fumes got to him yet again and why he feels the need to early on toss out Bill Clinton. Drawing comparisons no sane person would make (Clinton's cover up revolved around a private, consensual sex affair; Libby's cover up revolves around the outing of a CIA agent), you start to wonder if Todd's not only sniffing his own fumes but also chewing on his dirty jock? The after taste of his "news analysis" makes one wonder.
How far into the article before Todd mentions Clinton (for balance, I'm sure)? Fourth paragraph. How far before Nixon is mentioned? Fourteen. (Always check my math.)
And what are we 'assured' when Nixon finally crawls out from under the rock? "The Wilson affair is not Watergate . . ." Really?The issues involved are not a consensual sex affair either. But Todd didn't have a need to rush to assure there. They may actually go beyond the petty motives of Watergate (original motive: to spy on the Democratic Party during a presidential election) since the outing of Valerie Plame is an attempt to discredit (and silence) her husband Joseph Wilson who was explaining that there was no evidence of "yellow cakes."
C.I.: Jumping in, Todd S. Purdum of The New York Times.
Elaine: At IPS, Jim Lobe calls the administration's loss of Libby "a serious blow." Lobe offers the rundown on Scooter Libby in "A Formidable Hawk Goes Down."
Mike: Robert Parry asks "Letting the White House Walk?" at Consortium News. While Parry notes that other indictments may be forthcoming and that a trial of Scooter might allow more details to emerge, he also notes this that's not making it in other reporting on Plamegate:
In his five-count indictment of Vice President Dick Cheney's chief of staff I. Lewis Libby, prosecutor Fitzgerald leaves the false impression that it was all right for White House officials with security clearances to be discussing the identity of CIA officer Valerie Plame, a counter-proliferation official under deep cover.
Under the rules of classification, however, to see such secrets an official must not only have a top-secret clearance but also special code-word clearance that grants access to a specific compartment governed by strict need-to-know requirements.In both the Libby indictment and a hour-long press conference on Oct. 28, Fitzgerald showed no indication he understood how extraordinary it was for White House officials to be bandying about the name of a covert CIA officer based on the flimsy rationale that she was married to an ex-diplomat who had been sent on a fact-finding trip to Niger.
Fitzgerald, who is the U.S. Attorney in Chicago, appears to have bought into the notion that government officials had a right to discuss Plame's covert status among themselves as long as they didn’t pass the secret on to journalists. Then Fitzgerald didn't even seek punishment for that, limiting his criminal case to Libby's lying about how and when he learned of Plame's identity.
C.I.: That is a very important point. Thank you, Elaine and Mike. Scooter Libby indicted for a number of counts -- perjury, false testimony, etc. -- in the outing of CIA agent Valerie Plame, the wife of Ambassador Joseph Wilson who went public to expose Bully Boy's 16 word lie in the 2003 State of the Union address regarding "British intelligence has recently learned that Sadaam Hussein sought" yellow cake from Niger. Also, quickly, Eric Schmitt's "An Influential Bush Insider Who Is Used to Challenges" rightly pointed out that Scooter Libby is not just Cheney's chief of staff. Scooter was "assistant to the president, chief of staff to the vice president and Mr. Cheney's national security advisor." Now we go to Rebecca, of Sex and Politics and Screeds and Attitude, offers us a look at the news from the world of science. Rebecca?

If I wasn't so lazy, I'd put up the whole thing cause I'm real proud of the hard work that goes into this. C.I. tried to pass off to Dona or Jim the anchor duties but they were saying, "You're the anchor." As soon as C.I. did the thanks and we're done we all hear something on the phone. Kat's like, "What was that?" And Elaine goes, "I think someone just threw up." It was C.I.

C.I. kept apologizing because we were running behind all night. That's not because C.I. was putting the phone down to go throw up. That's cause, like Dona said, we wasted time. There were also the usual posting problems but it was also because we wasted time. C.I. and Ava did their TV review in 15 minutes. I know I defocused and I'll take my part of the blame for wasting time. It's important to have fun and we always do but I was reading The Common Ills today and if I'd known how sick C.I. was feeling, I would have focused and done my part to get us all done at an early hour. If someone reading this goes, "Well C.I. was throwing up . . ." Yeah, but C.I. gets a lot of 24 bugs or throws up when there's been no sleep so it's not that unusual. For it to send C.I. to bed is unusual.

We all tend to think that anything's not unusal, like C.I. could show up with a hand hanging by a blood vein and ready to work and we'd go, "Okay, let's get started." That's what Jess pointed out on the phone today. I know when I'm sick, I don't want to be around anybody, I want to talk to anybody, I just want to grab the covers, pull them over my head and be left alone until I feel better.

One e-mail tonight. Brett e-mailed wondering why I apologized in the news review (see above) for bringing up C.I.'s entry at The Common Ills? C.I. doesn't like when we do that. C.I. sees it as looking like a plug and just prefers that we don't do it. I did it for my sister and C.I. knows my sister loved that (I mentioned it here Saturday morning) so it was okay but C.I. was surprised.
If my sister hadn't asked (or my Ma or my Dad), I wouldn't have. Also, my Ma is Trina, which is her nickname in her family since she was a little girl and she said it was okay to mention that. She sends stuff to C.I. a lot and you'll see "Trina e-mails to note . . ." But she sent in something Sunday and she signed it "Trina, Mike's mother" and C.I. wasn't sure if she wanted to be noted that way. C.I. went with "Mike's mother" since Ma had made a point to put that in and also probably because it got me a link. :D
But she said it's cool. My sister does not want her name mentioned at all. Here or anywhere!