Monday, October 31, 2005

Bush's Endzone Dancing - Bush sets out to salvage 2nd term: "'This president doesn't dance in the end zone when things are good, doesn't throw in the towel when things are bad,' says Mark McKinnon, media director in Bush's presidential campaigns."

Bwahahah, that's really funny, McKinnon. Remember the ridiculous "mission accomplished" premature celebration that Bush did?

Bush waylaid an aircraft carrier, then waylaid a jet, was flown in the jet to the carrier where he had the seamen line up behind him for a photo op, and stood in front of a huge banner saying "Mission Accomplished."

That may be the largest "Dance in the end zone" in American political history.

And, of course, Iraq has really gone horribly since then, and Bush's reasons for invading Iraq have all proven false.

Friday, October 28, 2005

Libby's Bad Bets

Why do Libby's lies seem so stupid in retrospect?

I can guess at two reasons:

1) When he concocted his scheme he thought that Ashcroft would dispatch the Plame inquiry quickly.
2) He thought that reporters would hold firm and not reveal him as a source.

1) The Ashcroft Angle: Libby's initial lies to the FBI that led to the false statement charges were in October and November, 2003. From the press release accompanying the indictment:

The false statement charge in Count Two of the indictment alleges that Libby lied to FBI agents on October 14 and November 26, 2003, regarding the conversation with Russert on July 10, 2003. Count Three charges Libby with making false statements to FBI agents during the same FBI interviews in October and November 2003 relating to his July 12, 2003 conversation with Cooper.

Ashcroft's recusal came after those initial Libby lies, in late December 2003. I bet Libby wasn't happy when he found out that Ashcroft had recused himself.

2) The Journalist Backstop: Kevin Drum puts it well in this post. "Apparently Libby figured he'd never be caught out because the reporters would stay mum and go to jail on his behalf. He lost that bet."

So long Scooter. Let's hope "Official A" joins you soon.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Merry Fitzmas: It Speaks to All of us

Merry Fitzmas

I hate the commercialization of Fitzmas.

Years ago, Fitzmas didn't used to be about the money.

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Miller, the Opposite of a Reporter

Jay Rosen has a good quick take on the Judith Miller Lie-A-Culpa:
"Miller cannot recall where the name at the center of the case came from? Wowzer. Sure to be the center of controversy over the next week. Claiming memory loss about the most important fact in the story is weak. Very.

Miller actually subtracts from public knowledge in this part, a feat. She introduces into the narrative a new “source” who must have been around to plant the name on her, and then promptly tells us she cannot remember anything about him. So we know less if we believe her." [emph. added]
"So we know less if we believe her." That's sterling work by a faux reporter!

I'm sure Rosen's more in depth followups will be worth reading.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Some Things You Can't Take Back

Let's hope Howard Fineman is right about the Conservative Crackup.

Everyone keep your eyes peeled and your recorders running: People will definitely say things they will regret later.


Monday, October 10, 2005

Serious As A Federal Indictment

Atrios wrote:
A few people wrote in to say that a little while ago on Hardball, Tweety and the gang were suddenly taking the whole Fitzgerald investigation very seriously. Anyone see it?
I think this segment of Hardball is repeated at 7 PM eastern. Guests in the opening segment about the Plame crimes were Howard Fineman of Newsweek, Michael wolff of Vanity Fair, and one of the authors of Bush's Brain (I believe).

They were certainly taking it seriously. Matthews, even. (Tweety had his usual adoration of the republicans by going out of his way to indicate that probably no crime had been committed (huh?). Recently he asked a guest if Fitzgerald understood how hardball politics is played, indicating that any crime involving national security is ok by Matthews so long as a republican is doing it. Matthews really is a horrible creature, and none to bright or detail-oriented.)

My favorite aspect of the show were several archival footage montages of Rove in different settings (walking with Bush, talking to the camera, in an office, etc.).

These are precisely the type of montages used on live news coverage when a public figure dies. This time, let's hope, it's a political death. Of course, Republicans resuscitate criminals to be either pundits (Oliver North, Gordon Liddy, Lawrence Kudlow, et al.) or within the administration (Eliot Abrams, anyone?).

I was pleased to see Rove in these "bye-bye" montages. Let's hope he is indicted.

Update: I thought of another aspect of Hardball that made it far better than the usual Tweety-fest. Matthews and David Shuster both pointed out how the White House slapback against Wilson (which dragged in Plame) was over the lies about Iraq's nukes. Matthews essentially held that the fear-mongering about Iraq's nonexistent nuclear capability was what pushed American public opinion over to support the invasion of Iraq.

If there were no fake story about Hussein with nukes, there would have been no Iraq war. That's why they started sliming Wilson-- to ensure their war. And that's a very strong case that the war was waged on knowingly false pretenses, not just "mistaken intel."

That point should be rammed home over and over. It is the moral abcess at the center of the Bush administration. And Americans have died due to this lie.

Matthews colored in a bit of that story in his Hardball show on Monday.

Firedoglake is a great stop for Plame-crime-related writing. They pointed out to me that Crooks and Liars has some of Monday's Hardball up for viewing online.

Well worth watching.

Bad People

Look at what William Kristol is saying. Think Progress has a great catch, and caps it with a plaintive call:

"The best way to stop the criminalization of politics is to get the criminals out of politics."

I think instead one should say "If you don't want criminals in politics, tell folks in your party not to talk about CIA agent's identities to reporters."

Bill Kristol has a point, just not the one he was trying to make.

Don't out CIA agents should be a firm rule. I hope it's a firm law.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

John M. Barry, Mr Synchronicity

Radio and TV bookers have had John M. Barry on speed dial in recent weeks.

The Katrina disaster got him on many media outlets and his book Rising Tide into reprint.

I saw him tonight speaking about his book The Great Influenza with Avian flu as the appropriate peg.

When I checked a couple hours ago, both books were in the 120s in Amazon's bestsellers list. Kudos to Mr. Barry for writing historical non-fiction that speaks to our day.

Oddly enough, another book he wrote is Ambition and Power, about the fall of former House Speaker Jim Wright.

What synchronicity. Tom Delay isn't speaker, but no one could seriously say he was less powerful than Denny Hastert.

John M. Barry, you have eerie powers.

Monday, October 03, 2005

The Mind of Harriet Miers

All you need to know about Harriet Miers, just appointed by Bush to a Supreme Court seat. From staunch Conservative David Frum:
"In the White House that hero worshipped the president, Miers was distinguished by the intensity of her zeal: She once told me that the president was the most brilliant man she had ever met. She served Bush well, but she is not the person to lead the court in new directions - or to stand up under the criticism that a conservative justice must expect"

It's cronyism squared. It's like nominating your puppy to a seat.

Or it's the "Michael Brown-ing" (Brown being "Drownie" of FEMA) of the entire Federal government. Apparatchiks everywhere.

Sunday, October 02, 2005

Not the Combo He Was Going For

Bush, Cheney and Rove were not doubt looking to have Bush cast as a combination of Reagan and Teddy Roosevelt-- or something like that.

With the scandals creeping up the White House ranks, and with his so-called "malaise" speech, he's starting to look like another hybrid altogether: a combination of Nixon and Carter.

Maybe when the "declare victory and get out" of Iraq day finally comes, we can add LBJ. And, when the economy goes all to hell due to energy costs and Bush's mishandling, maybe Hoover too.

Christ, how much pain does the US have to go through for the greater glory of George W. Bush (aka Nixon + Carter)?

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