Saturday, May 13


Interesting. I hadn't read any excerpts from the infamous letter until now.

"September Eleven was a horrendous incident. The killing of innocents is deplorable and appalling in any part of the world. Our government immediately declared its disgust with the perpetrators and offered its condolences to the bereaved and expressed its sympathies."

"By the way, there is not a word about this statement in Western media reports about the letter: instead, we get headlines like 'Iranian Letter Lambastes Bush,' 'Iran Letter Faults U.S., Makes No Nuclear Proposals,' and 'A Dead Letter, but Shrewdly Timed. The one major exception was the Chicago Tribune, which ran the head: 'Let's Talk, Iranians Tell Bush.'

"This underscores another section of the letter, in which the Iranian president makes his debut as a media critic, putting his critique of Western news outlets during the run-up to war with Iraq in some pretty familiar terms. After excoriating the media for ratcheting up the climate of fear that accompanied 9/11, he writes:

"In media charters, correct dissemination of information and honest reporting of a story are established tenets. I express my deep regret about the disregard shown by certain Western media for these principles. The main pretext for an attack on Iraq was the existence of WMDs. This was repeated incessantly – for the public to finally believe – and the ground set for an attack on Iraq."

Ain't it the truth. Now it's very uncomfortable and irksome having foreign hotheads hurl our faults back at us, but I agree with Raimondo: "My point is that there is clearly room for some sort of dialogue, if not rapprochement."


(For those who don't already know, the Bible in many editions highlights the word of Jesus himself in red letters.) One of the evangelical Christians who are Christ-driven, not power-seeking -- Tony Campolo.

It's hard sometimes these days to be an evangelical Christian and witness the perversion of our faith, which is at bottom one of charity and a commandment to take care of "the least of these," being morphed by power-seekers into one of a public judgment upon various segments of God's creation (homosexuals, the environment, peace-seekers, etc.). But the "hard sayings" of our lord Jesus Christ are markedly "progressive" or "liberal" by any honest reading.

A significant proportion of the evangelical community is part of the Religious Right. My purpose in writing the book was to communicate loud and clear that I felt that evangelical Christianity had been hijacked.

When did it become anti-feminist? When did evangelical Christianity become anti-gay? When did it become supportive of capital punishment? Pro-war? When did it become so negative towards other religious groups?

There are a group of evangelicals who would say, "Wait a minute. We’re evangelicals but we want to respect Islam. We don’t want to call its prophet evil. We don’t want to call the religion evil. We believe that we have got to learn to live in the same world with our Islamic brothers and sisters and we want to be friends. We do not want to be in some kind of a holy war."

We also raise some very serious questions about the support of policies that have been detrimental to the poor. When I read the voter guide of a group like the Christian Coalition, I find that they are allied with the National Rifle Association and are very anxious to protect the rights of people to buy even assault weapons. But they don’t seem to be very supportive of concerns for the poor, concerns for trade relations, for canceling Third World debts.

In short, there’s a whole group of issues that are being ignored by the Religious Right and that warrant the attention of Bible-believing Christians. Another one would be the environment.
Isn’t poverty an issue? When you pass a bill of tax reform that not only gives the upper five percent most of the benefits, leaving very little behind for the rest of us, you have to ask some very serious questions.
And we would also point out that the evangelical community has become so pro-Israel that it is forgotten that God loves Palestinians every bit as much. And that a significant proportion of the Palestinian community is Christian. We’re turning our back on our own Christian brothers and sisters in an effort to maintain a pro-Zionist mindset that I don’t think most Jewish people support.
Evangelicals need to take a good look at what their issues are. Are they really being faithful to Jesus? Are they being faithful to the Bible? Are they adhering to the kinds of teachings that Christ made clear?
I don’t know how far the grace of God does expand and I’m sure that what the 25th chapter of Matthew says is correct--that there will be a lot of surprises on Judgment Day as to who receives eternal life and who doesn’t. But in the book I try to make the case that we have to stop our exclusivistic, judgmental mentality. Let us preach Christ, let us be faithful to proclaiming the Gospel, but let’s leave judgment in the hands of God.
I think that Christianity has two emphases. One is a social emphasis to impart the values of the kingdom of God in society—to relieve the sufferings of the poor, to stand up for the oppressed, to be a voice for those who have no voice. The other emphasis is to bring people into a personal, transforming relationship with Christ, where they feel the joy and the love of God in their lives. That they manifest what the fifth chapter of Galatians calls "the fruit of the Spirit." Fundamentalism has emphasized the latter, mainline churches have emphasized the former. We cannot neglect the one for the other.

Hat tip to my man, Dr. Bruce Prescott.

UPDATE: Xpatriated Texan has a great related post, "Playing God."


So what?

So Karl Rove says he will be indicted, and will resign from his White House position. So what will change? He'll still be free to serve as chief political officer (CPO, if you will) of the Bush administration and its Rethuglican Congressional arm. He'll still be able to conduct his smear-and-spear campaigns against the political opposition in the '06 midterm elections.

Bush said he would fire anyone who was implicated in outing CIA operative Valerie Plame. For him to allow Rove to resign rather than be fired will be proof that he lied once again.

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I was amused yesterday driving home from the airport when I heard Sean Hannity interviewing Newt Gingrich and desperately trying to find areas of agreement with one of his heroes. Gingrich is decidedly pro-public debate on the NSA spying program, etc., while Sean is of the opinion that discussing such empowers the terrorists. Basically, the debate went thus:

HANNITY: But doesn't this inform the terrorists of our spy programs and thus hurt national security?

GINGRICH: They aren't stupid, Sean, and I'm happy to have them think, "If we pick up a cell phone or use the Internet, these guys will get us." I'd be glad to reduce them to using human couriers to relay their messages.

Gingrich then went on to declare himself a Constitutional scholar who believes and supports the rule of law no matter who the president is.

HANNITY: Well, we agree on more than I thought.

Then Sean went into a diatribe about how this program isn't nearly so invasive as the Echelon project "under Clinton" -- although he failed to note that it was initiated during the sixties for Cold War purposes, and that during Bill Clinton's administration it was submitted to and approved by the FISA court (unlike the NSA initiative under Bush).



Since so many bloggers like to note their "random Friday ten" songs they're listening to, I'm going to plug the new CD by my nephew's (he's the lead guitarist, and that's him on the left in the picture) band, Queensryche: Operation Mindcrime II. I've finally listened to it, and it's excellent.

But my favorite part, I confess, is the title. Although the first Operation Mindcrime was released about 20 years ago, I find that title incredibly timely. Isn't that a perfect description for the Bush/Cheney/Rove administration? It so beautifully characterizes their tactic of using fearmongering to produce in Americans a willingness to surrender their civil rights, the Constitution and respect for dissent all in the name of the so-called global war on terror.

Buy it just for the sake of independence.


Jerome Doolittle has the best, most succinct post on the blogger wars that I've read lately:

From today’s Thomas L. Friedman column in The New York Times (no free link):

"To this day, whenever I hear a reporter say, “I don’t do reporting — I just do opinion and analysis,” I always think of the reporting basics that Leon [Daniel] pounded into me and want to say, “I doubt that your analysis is very good, because the best analysis always comes from spotting trends that can usually only be spotted by reporting a story day in and day out,”
I like blogs, but the only bloggers that appeal to me are those who do reporting and aren’t just sitting at home in their pajamas firing off mortars."

From Warp Speed: America in the Age of Mixed Media, by Bill Kovach and Tom Rosenstiel:

"While the press may not tell people what to think, it gives them a list of things to think about."

Friedman misses the point that Kovach and Rosenstiel so economically make. The Times, to take the example at hand, provided in advance all the information necessary to realize that Bush was marching us to war up a mountain of lies. I realized it, and wrote about it at the time, and so did scores of other bloggers.

Not in hindsight, but contemporaneously, we warned that the unmanned aircraft was a phony, that the aluminum tubes were rocket parts, that Chalabi was a lying con man, that the yellowcake was based on a clumsy forgery, that the neocons were pressuring the CIA to cook the books, that Colin Powell’s presentation to the UN was a fake. It’s all there, in our archives.

And we didn’t even have to go out and report these things. The Times, God bless it, did that job for us. All we had to do was read the inside pages down to the last paragraphs — where, as careful students of the press know, the real lead is often to be found.

Then we did our unsuccessful best to to put these poor, orphaned facts on the country’s list of things to think about. But Judith Miller, embedded with Rumsfeld’s propagandists in Iraq, was much more successful at the job than we were. And America’s list, unhappily, is drawn up by TV "newsmen" who may do little more than glance at the headlines on page one.

We guys in our pajamas typically lack the time and the money to do leg work (although Sulzberger can make me an offer if he’s looking to replace his old pal Judith). But we can always spare a few minutes from our morning coffee to help out with the editing of The Times, a job at which Howell Raines and his boss failed so shamefully in the run-up to this murderous miscarriage of a war.

Friday, May 12


I got back from a grueling three-day business trip to D.C. yesterday. Wednesday night we had dinner at a restaurant on a marina on the Potomac, and I got hooked on the idea of buying and living on a houseboat. We currently live on a lake outside Dallas, and I absolutely love the view -- for a gal who grew up a block from the bay in northwest Florida, the proximity of water is a necessity to my soul these days. Every day when I leave the city for my almost-hour commute home I look forward to that final quarter mile when the lake comes into view and I start to shed the stress of work and the city. But watching through the windows of that D.C. restaurant folks on their decks sipping margaritas and basking in the sunlight, I started wondering if it isn't time to give up the big house now that the five kiddos are grown and on their own and retreat to a houseboat of our own, forget politics and the disaster that is the Bush administration and find some peace.

Then I woke up this morning and realized we're hosting 26 preschoolers today (plus parents) for our four-year-old grandson's birthday party. The Sage (the world's greatest dad) and our oldest son took the day off from work yesterday so they could assemble our newly purchased gazebo in time for the party (they finally went to bed at two a.m. this morning), but the new patio furniture is still in wraps in our living room. Since The Sage had to go to work at six a.m., I guess it'll be my job to put up the mosquito netting and arrange the patio furniture.

We couldn't do all this on a houseboat. But maybe that's the point.

Wednesday, May 10


I was still thinking about what Bush's presidency really says about the man when I came across this outrageous story.

At a meeting at a center for the elderly here where Mr. Bush took questions from the audience, Janet Wilson, 79, asked him to extend the deadline, citing problems in the sign-up system.

"I would beg — not for myself — because there were logjams," Ms. Wilson said. "They were shuffling the phone calls directly to Medicare."

Mr. Bush replied: "Deadlines are important. Deadlines help people understand there's finality, and people need to get after it, you know?"

So deadlines are important for the elderly -- they need to "get after" their registration for the complicated, costly Medicare D prescription program -- but out of the question for Iraq. Except, of course, when it comes to showcase elections that demonstrate "progress" just in time to influence American elections.

In other words, the "decider" has decided that helping ensure that confused, elderly citizens get the medicine they need to preserve their health and lives is not as important as sticking to the schedule so that the pharmaceutical industry and insurance companies can start to enjoy the enormous profits they were promised. The pompous, heartless, arrogant imperial president has decided. So get after it, you whiny old farts.

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Congressional Republicans race to extend Bush's deep tax cuts for the uber-rich. So they can raise the deficit, reduce tax revenues, and benefit the wealthiest Americans. But hey! We can make up a tiny bit of the difference by slashing programs that benefit the working poor and middle-class.

Critics maintain that those tax cuts have overwhelmingly benefited the wealthy, while budget cuts target programs for the poor to close a deficit created largely by tax cuts totaling nearly $2 trillion since Bush took office.

Middle-income households would receive an average tax cut of $20 from the agreement, according to the joint Urban Institute-Brookings Institution Tax Policy Center, while 0.02 percent of households with incomes over $1 million would receive average tax cuts of $42,000. [emphasis mine]
Some economists say the timing of those gains was coincidental. "You might credit the cuts with providing a little bit of a jump-start. But I think the main reason the economy has done so well the last couple of years has nothing to do with tax policy, and more to do with the corporate sector starting to spend some of their record profits," said Ethan Harris, chief U.S. economist of the Lehman Brothers investment bank.

"We had very good markets in the '90s, before all these tax cuts went into effect," said former Treasury secretary Robert E. Rubin.
And measured against the size of the economy, tax revenue remains well below where it stood before Bush began cutting taxes. In 2000, federal tax receipts equaled 20.9 percent of the gross domestic product. They fell to 16.3 percent of the GDP in 2004 before recovering to a projected 17.7 percent this year.

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Tuesday, May 9


I just don't get this. So would someone "please explain it to me as if I were a five-year-old?" (Sorry, Denzel.)

In the latest New York Times/CBS poll 46% of respondents say they approve of the way Bush is handling the campaign against terrorism, but only 29% approve of the way he's handling the situation in Iraq.

What, exactly, do these people think is the difference? What has Bush accomplished in the "war on terror" other than attacking a sovereign nation that posed no threat to us and had no connection to the perpetrators of 9/11, and then ineptly handling the aftermath at a cost of thousands of American lives and hundreds of billions of taxpayer dollars. Okay, the Afghanistan venture seemed at first to be successful. But the Taliban has resurged, warlords threaten the security of that country everywhere except the capital (and that's less safe by the day), as the only justifiable action Bush has undertaken was abandoned for the unjustifiable and unconnected Iraqi venture.

Has Osama bin Laden been captured? Have the number acts of terrorism been reduced? The State Department says, no, that in fact they rose sharply in 2005. Has the Bush administration brought substantial numbers of terrorists to justice? Other than wannabe Zacarias Moussaoui, can you name ONE dangerous terrorist that has faced an American court of justice? Has the administration secured our borders, ports and transportation centers? Has it implemented the recommendations of the 9/11 Commission?

The answers are no, no, no, no and no. So what, exactly, are they giving Bush credit for? Curtailing our civil liberties? Demonizing dissent? Bankrupting the treasury?

I can only conclude that the administration talking point, "We're fighting them over there so they won't attack us here" works at some level since there has been no Al Qaeda attack within our borders since 9/11. But as that famous philosopher Donald Rumsfeld once said, "the absence of evidence is not evidence of absence." There were eight years between the World Trade Center attacks of 1993 and 2001, years in which Al Qaeda spent in careful planning so the next attack would be spectacularly successful. If the same cycle repeats, that would put the next attack in 2009, the year after Bush leaves office. Considering the ineptitude and incompetency of this administration, does anyone seriously believe terrorists won't strike again because Bush has successfully waged the war on terror?

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Mikevotes continues probing the significance of Bush's position on Iran as opposed to Iraq. As always, Mike digs deep and challenges us to do so.

Do you see it? If you believe Hersh's reporting, Bush doesn't want to leave the thing that's not a problem yet, Iran, to a weaker president, while at the same time seems more than willing to leave the thing that is a problem right now, Iraq, to a future president more than two and a half years from now.

I think there's something profound in this about the Bush presidency although I can't nail down exactly what. Maybe it says something to me about their sense of their place in history versus the very real and obvious incompetence in the present. Maybe the difference in self image and total unaccountability. I don't know.

I think it's at least partially due to Bush's basic nature. He fancies himself a man of action. Iraq is "been there, done that" to him. He's BORED with it and anxious to take on new "challenges."

The "hard job" of governing has never appealed to him. There's always another fish to catch, another score to settle, another campaign to wage (although that avenue is cut off from him now), another dramatically staged speech to deliver, another war to start. He's a very confrontational guy, impatient with the slow sure path of diplomacy. He needs ACTION to feed his self-image. He is, at bottom, an adventure junkie.

Consider his history. He was an indifferent student without focus. He tried for law school at the U. of Texas (couldn't get in). He found flying planes exciting for a while, but when he got bored he just walked away from the Texas Air National Guard. He fed his craving for excitement with fast women, hard drugs and drink, went to business school, bounced from job to job, from politics to oil wildcatting and then corporate board memberships, drank more, followed by a dramatic religious conversion to which he still gives lip service but shows no convincing signs of a sincere study of that religion. He bounced from job to job again, managing (or fronting for) a ball club, then entered politics again.

As president he was listless until the events of 9/11. Rather than giving serious thought to how to address the international issues that gave rise to the attacks, he demanded immediate action. When our attacks on Afghanistan seemed to yield results, he went looking for the next fix. Iraq.

Now he's tired of that little adventure (it's such "hard work!"), so he's manufacturing a new crisis in Iran.

The man is clearly incapable of giving his sustained attention to or interest in anything. But his ego demands accomplishments, real or not, to give basis for the sense of entitlement that was nurtured in him from birth. Tax cuts, he thinks, will make him a hero to those who count, his "base" (I'm convinced he looks upon those folks as his acolytes), so he keeps coming back to them. Yes, his legacy is important to him. It will establish him as the rightfully superior being he has always fancied himself.

In addition to everything else, he's consumed with an Oedipal complex that drives him to try to best his own father. He demands that those around him worship at his altar, and his Messianic utterances demonstrate a severely disturbed id.

American Heritage Dictionary defines "id" as "In Freudian theory, the division of the psyche that is totally unconscious and serves as the source of instinctual impulses and demands for immediate satisfaction of primitive needs." Sound familiar?

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Says he could stand down next summer.

During the Clinton years Tony Blair was widely viewed as a progressive leader for Great Britain. What a fool he was to hitch his wagon to George W.'s falling star.

Although he refused to set a timetable for his departure, saying that it would paralyse government, he anointed Gordon Brown as his successor and promised to give him sufficient time to establish himself before the next election.

Tony Blair was in no mood for compromise yesterday
As the Labour Party stood on the brink of civil war over the timing of the succession, the Prime Minister acknowledged that he could not go on to the end of his third term, which could last until 2009 or even 2010. He appealed to the party to calm down and trust him to "honour" his commitment to ensure a stable and orderly transition, "with the time plainly needed for my successor to establish himself".

At a packed meeting of Labour MPs at Westminster, Mr Blair spoke of allowing his successor "ample" time, saying that he wanted his legacy to be a "fourth term for Labour".



Mikevotes gives voice to one of my private fears:

At some point, these low poll numbers are going to begin to strike some fear in me. A president in the low 30's acts within limitations because he believes the numbers can be turned around, but at some point, if they're low enough and considered unsalvageable, attention may be turned out of the present and towards the legacy. And if there is no concern about polls, no limiting factor of contemporary public opinion, an action towards the legacy, no matter how unpopular, could become more attractive after the 2006 midterms. And the possibilities of that scare me a little.

It's not like this administration hasn't pushed the envelope before, and then, they were concerned about the politics.



What is it with pundits and columnists that they can't take criticism or disagreement with their positions? Richard Cohen is the latest to whine about the mean old lefty blogs, which he labels a "digital lynch mob."

I think it's mostly a matter of ego. After all, they're being paid big bucks for their opinions, so until the "internets" provided an easy platform for readers to respond, they assumed their opinions were more important than those of the hoi polloi. Getting thousands of critical e-mails hurts their tender feelings, so they fire back by declaring the responses first "epistolary spitballs" (oh, that's a clever term!) and then likening them to rocks thrown by anti-war protestors at demonstrations. Cohen goes on to warn that such people will lose the election for Democrats in the same way that the anti-war movement "elected" Richard Nixon in '72 and thus prolonged the Vietnam War. Cohen's real stretch, though, is his prediction that we "haters" will be responsible for prolonging the Iraq War:

Institution after institution failed America -- the presidency, Congress and the press. They all endorsed a war to rid Iraq of what it did not have. Now, though, that gullibility is being matched by war critics who are so hyped on their own sanctimony that they will obliterate distinctions, punishing their friends for apostasy and, by so doing, aiding their enemies. If that's going to be the case, then Iraq is a war its critics will lose twice -- once because they couldn't stop it and once more at the polls.

Right. We have a right to be angry, but not at HIM. He's a "friend" and by criticizing him we aid the enemy.

That's the language and sentiment of Bush and the DLC, that's what lost us the '04 presidential election, and that's a "distinction" Cohen and his ilk "obliterate" themselves. The Rethuglicans would call it "appeasement" -- and we're not going to take it anymore.

I actually agreed with Cohen on one point: that Stephen Colbert's attack on Bush at the White House correspondents dinner wasn't funny. Of course I didn't set myself up, as Cohen did, as an expert on comedy; I merely said that though brilliant, and warranted, and much appreciated by me, the subject matter was so serious that it hurt too much to laugh. If Cohen had said something like that, he wouldn't have gotten all the "vituperative" responses he decries. He didn't.

Come on, Richard, grow up. "Stick and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me." What a wienie.

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Monday, May 8


Digby says it.


Suddenly there's a rash of speculation as to whether Al Gore might be readying a run for the presidency in '08 (also see here and here). I hope that is so, not because he was elected president in 2000 and robbed of the office but because I believe he is electable and is the right man for the job.

Gore has not only established himself as a man of continuing public service but as a man who will speak the truth. Almost alone among Democratic politicians (Howard Dean is another), he has been early, openly and vociferously critical of this administration and its disastrous policies, making himself "the conscience of the Democratic Party." When other Dems crumbled before the Bush juggernaut in the post-9/11 period, Gore opposed the invasion of Iraq and the Patriot Act. In recent years he has lost that policy-wonk stiffness and learned to speak simply and passionately. He has no potential scandals to plague his candidacy. He has the advantage of being associated with the successful Clinton administration in which he presided over the "better government" initiative where he improved government efficiencies, without actually being a polarizing Clinton (i.e., Hillary).

He served honorably in the military. He is a family-friendly candidate, a man of faith who doesn't use his faith for political purposes. The media did its worst on him in 2000, and I think he's prepared now to fight back. He can motivate the left and reassure the center. He's an idealist with a practical streak, and best of all, he's the man who won the popular vote in 2000 -- and two thirds of American voters now seem to regret that we got Bush instead.

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Veteran CIA analyst Ray McGovern just told Kitty Pilgrim of Lou Dobbs that DCI nominee Gen. Michael Hayden enjoyed popularity at the NSA because he DIDN'T violate the "11th commandment" of intelligence, which is that you don't spy on Americans. Come 9/11, he said, when Bush came to him and said, let's institute a domestic surveillance program, Hayden went along. As a military officer, Ray opined, Hayden should have known better than to follow instructions which he knew would violate the law. But, McGovern concluded, Hayden is a man who will "do what he's told."

And that's what makes him dangerous as head of CIA.

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Coincidentally, I'm flying there tomorrow and will be in Fairfax and D.C. until I return to Dallas on Friday. Posting may be light on those days.

Several people, including police officers, were wounded in a shooting Monday at a police station in Fairfax County, Virginia, according to a police spokeswoman.

Several people were airlifted to the hospital after the shooting at Sully District Station, in the western part of the county, Fairfax police spokeswoman Mary Ann Jennings said.

The U.S. Park Police said one of its helicopters was involved in a search after the incident.


Down to 31%.

Bush's fall is being fueled by erosion among support from conservatives and Republicans. In the poll, 52% of conservatives and 68% of Republicans approved of the job he is doing. Both are record lows among those groups.

Moderates gave him an approval rating of 28%, liberals of 7%.

"You hear people say he has a hard core that will never desert him, and that has been the case for most of the administration," says Charles Franklin, a political scientist at the University of Wisconsin who studies presidential approval ratings. "But for the last few months, we started to see that hard core seriously erode in support."

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Link to my post here.


I had missed the implications of this until I heard Rachel Maddowes talk about it this morning on Air America in relation to the Porter Goss resignation.

But her last job at the CIA was in the office of Inspector General John L. Helgerson, who has a unique status at the agency.

After revelations in the 1980s about questionable CIA activities, the inspector general's appointment was subjected to Senate approval for the first time, to confer a measure of independence. Moreover, as the person singularly responsible for sensitive internal investigations of alleged wrongdoing at the agency, the inspector general is routinely granted extraordinary access to secrets ordinarily not shared with others inside the CIA.

Like others, I thought at the time that McCarthy might have been fired from the CIA because in her position she might have been involved in the investigation of secret prisons, the use of torture and rendition, and thus suspected as the source of Dana Priest's articles on the issue. But put together with the reported CIA IG investigation into "Dusty" Foggo's connection to the Duke Cunningham scandal, it makes one wonder if the suddenness of Goss's resignation wasn't due to the desire of the Bush administration to get ahead of a breaking scandal. As Rachel said, it's less of a front-page story to have an ex-DCI linked to a scandal as opposed to a standing CIA director.

The inspector general of the Central Intelligence Agency, the agency says, is conducting an inquiry into Kyle Foggo, its executive director, who said this week that he attended some of the parties over the years.

Mr. Foggo, the C.I.A.'s third-ranking official, is a longtime friend of Brent R. Wilkes, one of the military contractors whose role is described in the indictment against Mr. Cunningham. Mr. Wilkes has not been charged, and his lawyer did not return calls on Friday.
A C.I.A. spokesman said Saturday that Mr. Foggo has said he did not violate agency rules in the awarding of contracts and that the poker games were nothing more than a gathering of friends. Mr. Foggo was promoted to his job at the C.I.A. by Porter J. Goss, who abruptly resigned Friday as director of the agency. There has been no suggestion by officials involved in these investigations that Mr. Goss did anything wrong or was under investigation.

I certainy don't believe the story that the administration suddenly decided, on a day when Democratic Congressman Patrick Kennedy's troubles were dominating the airwaves, to announce Goss's resignation because they couldn't wait to settle an intelligence "turf war" between Goss and his fraternity brother and classmate John Negroponte. There's more to this story, and we're likely to hear something very soon, or there wouldn't have been such a desperate rush to disclaim Goss, who has been carrying the administration's water in trying to root out Democrats from the ranks of the CIA, stifle reporters and prosecute leaks.

And now I'm suspicious that the rush to get Mary McCarthy out the door was because she knew something, from her position in the IG's office, about the whole burgeoning scandal/investigation, that made them desperate to shut her down and discredit her.

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Sunday, May 7


Oh, it's sweet. And so very well deserved.


I was talking on the phone last night to my fabulous almost-85-year-old mother (a Republican) and she told me that she's "fallen through the cracks" of the Medicare prescription bill. She's lucky, though, since she's the widow of a career Air Force officer and still receives those benefits, so her out-of-pocket prescription costs are just shy of $100 per month. She talked about how many of her friends are being forced to pay $200-400 per month for their medicine, but because she enjoys relatively good health for a woman her age (she's had pernicious anemia for almost 40 years, but otherwise she's a dynamo) her meds aren't too expensive. Her friends, also, are fortunate in that they are fairly well-to-do widows who can easily afford their own medicine.

But how do you think a poor widow surviving on a Social Security stipend of around $800-900 per month can afford to spend that kind of money for necessary medicine (and that's apart from their doctor visits)?



As the mother of five kids (three of whom are girls), I'm not at all surprised by this report.


Howard Dean eviscerated Tom DeLay, whom he followed on This Week. DeLay reeled off a list of Democratic pols whom he declared had been found guilty of corruption, including Nancy Pelosi. (Excuse me? Did I miss something? When did THAT happen?) Howard followed with a crack about him not needing to respond to a man who's on the way out because he's already been censured by Congress and is under indictment himself, then reminded George that we know now that The Hammer knew exactly who was paying for his Abramoff-financed luxury excursions.

It would have been nice if George S. had fact-checked DeLay's assertions about Nancy et al (excluding William Jefferson). But at least we had Howard detailing the leaking of CIA operative Valerie Plame from Bush (Rove) to Cheney (Libby). And when asked by George S. if Jefferson should resign if he is indicted, Howard unhesitatingly said, "Yes." He made DeLay look like just what he is, a corrupt scumbag who continues to get a major media platform to spin his outrageous lies.

And just in a physical sense, Dean appeared the serious man with a plan to address the nation's problems, while smiling Tom looked like your standard Rethuglican spinmeister.

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We'll have to see how this plays out, but one thing is for sure -- this administration has demonstrated its "disarray" (as George Will characterized it on This Week) once more. In the midst of war, Bush is once again shaking up our most important human intel agency. The culture of cronyism, partisan purity and antagonistic rhetoric Bush has fostered has not improved the performance of any of the fully functioning agencies and institutions that Bill Clinton left behind, but nearly destroyed them. Replacing one administration toady with another isn't fooling anybody anymore.

CIA Director Porter Goss abruptly resigned yesterday amid allegations that he and a top aide may have attended Watergate poker parties where bribes and prostitutes were provided to a corrupt congressman.
Intelligence and law enforcement sources said solid evidence had yet to emerge that Goss also went to the parties, but Goss and Foggo share a fondness for poker and expensive cigars, and the FBI investigation was continuing.
Goss' inability to handle the allegations swirling around Foggo prompted John Negroponte, the director of National Intelligence, who oversees all of the nation's spy agencies, to press for the CIA chief's ouster, the senior official said. The official said Goss is not an FBI target but "there is an impending indictment" of Foggo for steering defense contracts to his poker buddies.
Negroponte "apparently had no confidence" in Goss, and Bush's Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board was also "very alarmed by problems at the CIA," said a congressional source involved in oversight of U.S. spy agencies.

"Supposedly the \[Cunningham\] scandal was the last straw," the source said. "This administration may be on the verge of a major scandal."

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The general considered the Bush administration's likely choice to become CIA director would be the "wrong person at the wrong place at the wrong time," the Republican head of the U.S. House of Representatives Intelligence Committee said on Sunday.

Gen. Michael Hayden, former director of the National Security Agency, has been widely cited in the media as the President George W. Bush's expected pick to lead the CIA following the ouster of CIA director Porter Goss.

"We should not have a military person leading a civilian agency at this time," Rep. Pete Hoekstra of Michigan, told "Fox News Sunday."

He said the Department of Defense, which has its own intelligence agencies, had been the biggest opponent to intelligence reform and that there were continuing tensions between the CIA and the Defense Department.

"I think putting a general in charge, regardless of how good Mike is, putting a general charge is going to send the wrong signal to the agency here in Washington but also to our agents in the field around the world," Hoekstra said.

"The bottom line: I do believe he is the wrong person at the wrong place at the wrong time," he said.

He said the perception would be that the CIA was under the sway of Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld.

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Tim Russert is trying to trip up Nancy Pelosi by replaying remarks of hers indicating opposition to U.S. withdrawal of troops from Iraq. Only problem is, they're more than a year and a half old. He also played one of Steny Hoyer opposing withdrawal -- a statement made eight months ago. Pelosi, not the most gifted speaker, nevertheless is holding her own by pointing out that TODAY all Democrats are united in demanding a significant redeployment by the end of the year. She keeps insisting that Bush has yet to give us a plan for disengagement, and that military experts (Rep. John Murtha and the revolting generals) have said that our current course is ill-serving our fighting men and women.

She wouldn't say, though, that Democrats would roll back the Bush tax cuts. (WHY NOT????) She said we should send our energy dollars to the MidWest instead of the Middle East. Nice phrase.

Interruption. Missed the rest

The outline for a Democratic House agenda is here. Dems are "increasingly confident" that they will win a majority of House seats in the mid-term elections.

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They speak with forked tongues.

The New York Times blisters Rumsfeld and the Bush administration for its lies about Iraq in the leadup to the invasion. But for my money, more than the threat of WMD, the crucial issue that brought Americans around to supporting the war was:

In Atlanta, Mr. Rumsfeld denied ever saying flatly that there were dangerous weapons in Iraq. Actually, he did, many times, even as late as March 30, 2003. On Sept. 27, 2002, Mr. Rumsfeld said there was "bulletproof" evidence of ties between Al Qaeda and Iraq, including that Iraq had trained Qaeda agents in chemical and biological warfare, and he repeated that myth in response to Mr. McGovern.

Americans are notorious for being reluctant to enter into foreign wars, even IF they involve dictators who are slaughtering their own people. It was not until we were attacked at Pearl Harbor that we entered a war that already engaged most of Europe and much of Asia. We were slow to do anything about the genocide in Serbia-Croatia and have done virtually nothing about Sudan. What sold so many on the Iraq war was that if Saddam had WMD AND ties to Al Qaeda, then the specter of him giving deadly weapons to terrorists to use against Americans was too frightening for them to ignore. It also lent credence to the Bushies' subtle suggestions that Saddam himself might have been involved with 9/11, and that raised anger against his regime to a fever pitch.

Saddam's greatest crimes against "his own people" occurred many years before and they didn't seem to bother Rumsfeld, Cheney, Bush 41 or the Republican hero Ronald Reagan enough to stir them to action then, or to stop them from supplying him with some of those very weapons they later used as a pretext for the 2003 invasion.

The NYT piece goes on to castigate Sen. Pat Roberts (R-KS), chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, for failing to fulfill his promise, and his duty, to investigate the lies of Bush and his top aides. Last fall, you'll recall, Dems shut down the work of the Senate by walking out in protest, and Roberts promised to complete Phase 2 of the investigation, and to submit interim reports of the panel's work to the Senate. He has not done so.

The next time Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld or Rice is caught in an outright lie, I hope the Democratic leadership will lead another walkout and express a little of the outrage the American people are feeling about this continued stonewalling.

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