Friday, March 30, 2007

it's not nice to fool madam justice


(image by aarrgghh)

remember that margarine commercial from the '70s starring none other than mother nature herself? of course you do. she didn't take kindly to being pranked and from the noise coming out of congress in the wake of the u.s. attorney mess it doesn't sound like her sister madam justice is any kinder.

now that congress is back in the business of asking questions, the answers (and endless "clarifications") coming out of the justice department — and just about every other department of the most pervasively corrupt (and, not surprisingly, pervasively amnesiatic) administration in the nation's history — make it pretty clear that bush's cronies — having for the first time in six years to publicly account for themselves — couldn't fool a blind person.


update: emptywheel @ firedoglake.com has posted a schedule of the coming attractions:

march 23: deadline for condi to turn over (condi apparently ignored this deadline — see her upcoming date with waxman below)

march 30 (today!): house and senate [correction — doj wanted joint interviews, but it appears only the house judiciary is involved at this point] judiciary committees begin to interview [in private interviews — so don't look for it on cspan] 7 current and former doj employees on the usa purge; interviewees include:

paul mcnulty
william moschella
michael elston
william mercer
david margolis
monica "five for freedom" goodling
michael battle

march 30 (today!): deadline for state department to turn over information on problems with the dyncorp contract to train iraqi police

april 5: [house oversight] deadline for fred fielding to turn over information on the gwb43 and other non-governmental email practices (with interviews to occur the week of april 2)

april 5: [house oversight] susan ralston scheduled to give deposition on the white house role in the jack abramoff scandal; this will include questions on the gwb43 email server

april 6: [house oversight] deadline for josh bolten to turn over all paperwork on mzm's contract to install furniture sanitize the mail in ovp

april 7: [house oversight] deadline for information related to doj interference in tobacco settlement

april 10: [closed ssci hearing] cia detention

april 12: [closed ssci hearing] national security letters

april 13: [house oversight] deadline for karl rove to answer questions regarding the powerpoint targeting democrats and potential hatch act violations

april 17: soon to be former ag alberto gonzales testifies before senate judiciary committee

april 17: [closed ssci hearing] telecom liability act

april 18: [house oversight] condi visits (ha!) waxman's committee to answer questions on the niger intelligence and all the other things condi ignored from 16 letters waxman wrote her before he got his gavel

april 19: [closed ssci hearing] fisa modernization legislation

may 17: hearing on the wilson's lawsuit

june 5: libby's sentencing hearing

Thursday, March 22, 2007

time bomb

perhaps it's just because i'm descended from a crude and simple folk, but am i the only one to get the impression that cheney's smirk conveys embarrassment and that the "cloud" hanging above him could be methane?

no wonder bush loves having him around. after all, who would be the "butt" of all dubya's — and time'sfart jokes?

he loves to cuss, gets a jolly when a mountain biker wipes out trying to keep up with him, and now we're learning that the first frat boy loves flatulence jokes. a top insider let that slip when explaining why president bush is paranoid around women, always worried about his behavior. but he's still a funny, earthy guy who, for example, can't get enough of fart jokes. he's also known to cut a few for laughs, especially when greeting new young aides, but forget about getting people to gas about that.

they make quite a pair, dick and dubya. stinking up the white house — in every sense of the term.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

document dump

the white house staff seems on the verge of being completely swept away in the ongoing deluge of internal department of justice emails — regarding last year's ouster of eight u.s. attorneys — delivered to the house judiciary committee ...


(art by aarrgghh)

for bush, his last days in office may prove to be very, very lonely.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

bring me the head of alberto gonzales

... and the ass of karl rove.

during the next two years, our nation must address critical questions affecting the investigation, pursuit, and prosecution of terrorism at home and abroad. in this effort, we must have a strong, credible attorney general who holds the confidence of congress and the american people.

i do not believe alberto gonzales can fill that role. the president should fire the attorney general and replace him as soon as possible with someone who can provide strong, aggressive leadership prosecuting the war on terrorism, running the department of justice, and working with the president and congress on important homeland security matters.

senator john sununu (r-nh)

for the justice department to be effective before the u.s. senate, it would be helpful [if gonzales resigned].

senator gordon smith (r-or)



cafferty:

... and it's not enough that the attorney general of the united states is a glorified water boy for the white house. the bush administration also is admitting now that its number one political hack, karl rove, passed along complaints from republican lawmakers about u.s. attorneys to the justice department and to the white house counsel's office — a political adviser playing a role in the hiring and firing of u.s. attorneys. it's disgraceful.

here's the question: should u.s. attorney general alberto gonzalez resign? e-mail your thoughts to caffertyfile@cnn.com or go to cnn.com/caffertyfile.

if you look up the word weasel in the dictionary, wolf, you'll see alberto gonzales' picture there.

blitzer:

you don't like him?

cafferty:

that's correct. i don't.

[snip]

cafferty:

don writes from florida: "jack, a better question is: how soon should alberto gonzales resign? and what should be the punishment for his crimes?"

ralph writes: "nah. they would just replace him with somebody more dangerous, someone who knows how to run a police state without getting caught."

john in philadelphia: "actually, he should have been fired. we all know how long that takes, though. remember rumsfeld? this worm is exactly the type of hatchet man that bush likes. don't ever do the people's work. just do my dirty work."

larisa in seattle: "alberto gonzales should have resigned yesterday or last year or two years ago. look at the guy's legacy: torture memos, spying on americans, and now substituting gop cronies for lawyers who are supposed to be defending the public good and upholding the constitution."

robert writes from ohio: "resign? he ought to be perp-walked."

j. writes: "jack, of course he ought to resign, but we both know he won't. his role right now is to cover the backside of the most corrupt administration in history, which is a tall order for such a little man."

jody in tennessee: "yes, he ought to, but that won't happen. he's a bush buddy. every time i see him on tv, he looks like he's laughing at us."

and jenny in new york: "from this administration? no way. he's doing a heck of a job."

we got no letters suggesting that alberto gonzales was doing a great job, and that we were out of line by quoting some of the people, like chuck schumer in the senate, who are calling for the man's resignation. nobody wrote and said, "this guy is doing a good job."

blitzer:

out of how many? about hundreds did we get, thousands?

cafferty:

i don't know. yes, it was 800, 900 e-mails. i didn't read eight or nine hundred of them, but i — i spun through probably a couple of hundred. there were none — none. nobody wrote to say, "alberto gonzales is doing a good job as the attorney general of the united states."

i mean, that alone says something, doesn't it?

blitzer:

it certainly does. jack, thank you very much.



blitzer:

let's check in with jack cafferty. he's got the cafferty file — jack:

cafferty:

i want to see patrick leahy interview karl rove under oath in front of the senate judiciary committee. i don't care who wins. i don't care who comes out of it unscathed. i just want to watch it. it would be — it would be like watching ali-frazier iv. it would just be terrific theater.

blitzer:

sort of like a pay-per-view moment.

cafferty:

the same idea, yeah, you know, like geraldo getting hit in the face with a chair.



leahy:

... in some cases i have not gotten answers that appear even to be honest.

blitzer:

well, do you think someone...

leahy:

i want to have those.

blitzer:

do you think someone committed perjury?

leahy:

well, we'll find that out. that's not always the easiest thing to prove. but we can certainly prove that we have not gotten complete answers. it's a lot more. i think the american public deserves to have answers on this, instead of every day a little bit more dribbling out. let's get all of the facts. but let's have it under oath. it's interesting, sometimes, when people are sworn in. it focuses their attention a little bit more.

blitzer:

the white house counsel, fred fielding, was up on the hill today. i don't know if you had a chance to meet with him. but he's not necessarily ruling out allowing some white house staffers, maybe even karl rove, to come and testify. do you want karl rove to testify before your panel?

leahy:

i've never met mr. fielding. i don't — frankly, i don't care whether he says he's going to allow people or not. we'll subpoena the people we want. if they want to defy the subpoena, then you get into a stonewall situation i suspect they don't want to have.

blitzer:

well, will you subpoena ...

leahy:

i have ...

blitzer:

will you subpoena karl rove?

leahy:

yes. he can appear voluntarily if he wants. if he doesn't, i will subpoena him. and we had — the attorney general said well, there are some staff people or lower level people i'm not sure whether i want to allow them to testify or not. i said, frankly, mr. attorney general, it's not your decision. it's mine and the committee's. we will have subpoenas. i would hope that they will not try to stonewall subpoenas.

blitzer:

the white house, the president, the attorney general, they insist there was no politics involved in these decisions to get rid of these eight u.s. prosecutors. but you've seen some of the e-mail, the traffic, the paper trail, where there do appear to be some political decisions involved. what's going on?

leahy:

i'm surprised that they're saying that there's no politics involved and we're still two-and-a-half weeks away from april fool's day. there was obviously politics. i mean this is something both republicans and democrats know. you go in the cloak rooms, you hear both republicans and democrats saying it. everybody knows there's politics involved. everybody knows — in one instance — arkansas, you had a very highly rated u.s. attorney. they were told they had to get rid of him because karl rove had an acolyte of his that had to be put in his place. how can they possibly stand there with a straight face and say that's not politics. of course it's politics.

blitzer:

but is there anything illegal in putting one of karl rove's associates in and making him the u.s. attorney in arkansas?

leahy:

there's nothing illegal in a president firing, by itself, firing a u.s. attorney. what it does say, however, to law enforcement, you either play by our political rules — by our political rules, not by law enforcement rules, but by our political rules — or you're out of a job. what i am saying is that that hurts law enforcement, that hurts fighting against crime. and if it is done to stop an ongoing investigation — and this is something we don't know — if it is done to stop an ongoing investigation, then you do get into the criminal area.

blitzer:

and so that's the focus of your investigation, whether or not somebody committed a crime?

leahy:

the first thing i want in my investigation is to find out exactly what happened, sort of the old just the facts. i want to find out what the facts are. but i don't want to have somebody come up in a briefing and say well, no, here's really what we think happened. no. i want them in public. i want both democrats and republicans able to ask the questions. but those answers are going to be under oath or they're not acceptable to me.



the new e-mails show conclusively that karl rove was in the middle of this mess from the beginning. it is now imperative that he testify before congress and give all the details of his involvement both in the proposal to fire the 93 u.s. attorneys at the beginning of george bush's second term and his involvement in the firings of the individual eight u.s. attorneys who were fired throughout 2006.

the bottom line is: if the white house prevents karl rove from testifying, it will be thumbing its nose at the american people and at the rule of law. and the reason it's so imperative that people testify under oath is that every time new information comes out, it proves that the white house was not telling the truth in their previous statements.

white house presss secretary tony snow told people on tuesday that miers had suggested the 93 — firing the 93 — and quote: "it was her idea only." now it's clear that karl rove is involved. so statements from the white house press office and others involved proved to be false, false, false, time after time after time.

the only way that we can get to the truth and clear up this sorry mess is when the white house and the justice department release all the documents involved in the firing of the u.s. attorneys and when the parties who were involved testify under oath before congress.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

the queen of denial

fox news' alan colmes interviews corporal matt sanchez, the latest in a never-ending line of fallen conservative heros, who was toppled from his poignantly brief pedestal after being outed as a former porn film actor and male prostitute:

alan:

... as a great american, and embraced by conservatives because you were taking on those anti-war protestors —

matt:

i dunno about that. i would say i was just doing, i spoke out against something that —

alan:

you spoke out and they embraced you and invited you to the conservative political action conference over the weekend and you —

matt:

had me on fox news, several people did.

alan:

that's right, and thank you for coming here tonight.

matt:

my pleasure to be here.

alan:

and then it just comes out over the weekend that you, uh, you were outed as, uh, having done gay porn ... ?

matt:

outing is one thing ... i wouldn't call it that ... uh ... yeah, it came out

alan:

it's not an outing?

matt:

i was very straightforward — well, how can you out something that's already out there. there's nothing more [ public? ] than that.

alan:

right, but i mean they, in general, but the people who were embracing you, and calling you, telling everyone how great you were because you were doing all these wonderful things for the troops didn't know about your past.


... because matt, and i'm just guessing here, maybe if they did know, they wouldn't have put you up on stage with them ...

matt:

that's true, i've never walked around with a "scarlet p" on my forehead.

alan:

right, but — go ahead.

matt:

in no way did i try to hide it, so when it did come out — and it came out rather viciously — i felt i had to defend myself right away, and that's what i did.

alan:

well, you defended yourself and you acquited yourself well in that you were honest about it. you didn't duck it —

matt:

absolutely.

alan:

— you didn't deny it, you didn't say it never happened —

matt:

sure.

alan:

— you didn't say those pictures on the internet are not me —

matt:

absolutely not!

alan:

— as some people have done.


... because lying is not an option when you're so totally, totally busted that pants have been known to burst into flame ...

matt:

look, i wrote an op-ed piece for salon.com and a couple of other people have picked up on it as well. the conservatives that i've met, really, have been the most warm people and i mean they haven't walked away from me at all. it really has been the liberal people that have been really the harshest with me.

alan:

how are they harsh with you?

matt:

harsh with everything. i've been called everything today and the past few days i gotten over 3,000 emails from people with this, just invective that you wouldn't believe.

alan:

well, uh —

matt:

you get that stuff ...

alan:

i do get it, and i get it from both sides, but —

matt:

[ laughs ]

alan:

but tell us what happened? first of all a number of years ago, and how many years ago was it you did gay porn?

matt:

it was 15 years ago, and it just wasn't gay porn, by the way, uh, but it was 15 years ago.

alan:

what else did it ... what else was it?

matt:

it was more than that, it was, but it was more than porn.

alan:

did you work as a male prostitute?

matt:

that as well, yeah.

alan:

a male prostitute.

matt:

this was one of the worst periods in my life.

alan:

now when you say "15 years ago" —

matt:

15-plus years ago.

alan:

"-plus years ago," and i did a little web —

matt:

sure.

alan:

i had to go to gay porn sites to do my homework for the show!

matt:

yeah, those are some of the worst sites, they've been really harsh on me.

alan:

but it turns out that you had an adver — you advertised in the advocate here in new york city for your massage services as recently as three years ago.

matt:

no ... there's no such thing as an advocate here in new york city.


... cap'n, evasive maneuver number one!

alan:

yeah. there's a, there's a magazine called the advocate, your phone number's on it ... your picture ...

matt:

the number you contacted me on?


... evasive maneuver number two!

alan:

yes.

matt:

no.

alan:

and it says that you're available for, uh, massage.

matt:

massage, yeah. yeah, no, sorry

alan:

and it was in november of, ah, 2003.

matt:

no — yeah, i hear you, uh, no.

alan:

well, i can show you the link

matt:

sure.

alan:

it's there.

matt:

give it to me. send it over, that's — that's fine. i mean, anything, i'll admit, i'll own up to it. that's not what the issue at hand is.


ow, a hit! um, let's try evasive maneuver number three ... retreat!

alan:

but i understand. i, i —

matt:

but those movies were —

alan:

you've been — you've been very candid so far —

matt:

yes, yes, i want to be as candid as possible.

alan:

you've been saying that it's been "15-plus years ago," and it seems it was a lot less than that.

matt:

1990 up through — throughout the mid-90s, 1993-94.

alan:

so that's how long ago it was?

matt:

yeah — well, we're talking about the films.

alan:

what about gay, y'know, out — massage stuff.

matt:

anything else, gay, massage stuff — i am a licensed massage therapist.


... evasive maneuver number four ...

alan:

and you cater to gay men.

matt:

no — not exclusively.

alan:

are you gay?

matt:

no. absolutely not.

alan:

you're not gay?

matt:

and i'll be very candid about that.


... because, y'know, someone less candid and upstanding would actually lie about being heterosexual ...

matt:

but again, this is a, this is a losing, it's a losing argument. and i say one thing and the other side says another —

alan:

well, i'm not arguing —

matt:

fine.

alan:

— i'm just trying to establish, y'know, a, i mean why would you — now i don't care whether you're gay or not — i mean, i pro- gay rights —

matt:

i, i agree, i don't care who's gay either by the way —

alan:

— and, and i'm just trying to get to the truth —

matt:

absolutely.

alan:

you were ... marketing yourself as a masseur for gay men and doing gay films and you said you were a prostitute for gay men, so, i mean ... how, why would you

matt:

yeah, there's a different word for that today, but i ...


... because "gay" after all is just another label ...

alan:

hustler, whatever ...


... um, that wasn't the label i had in mind ...

matt:

i own up to all that stuff.

alan:

why would you do that if you're not gay?

matt:

i think if you ... people listening probably don't realize it, but those who are in the know, know that this isn't as cut and dry as black and white. there are lots of shades in between, and lots — especially a lot of the clients

alan:

right.

matt:

weren't, wouldn't have considered themselves gay. i dunno if this conversation is what you wanna have but —

alan:

yeah — no, no, i definitely want to have this conversation.


... no, dammit! you're not supposed to want this conversation!

matt:

oh great. well, in that case, the majority of the clients weren't openly gay. a lot of them were married and had, i mean, really wasn't, it really wasn't as cut and dry as, people who came to me at that time really wouldn't have considered themselves as gay.

alan:

right, but you were not servicing women, you were servicing men.

matt:

um, there were those as well ...


... hmmm, did that last answer not come out strong enough ... ?

matt:

uh, absolutely! i mean there were definitely tons of women!


... ok, much, much better ... whew, that was close!

alan:

and you took ads in gay publications —

matt:

as well as, as well as

alan:

— in order to appeal to gay men.

matt:

as well as other publications.

alan:

right. but you've never been gay, you never personally —

matt:

yeah, it's not something, it's not how i would describe myself, frankly, and i understand that some people have a problem with that.

alan:

i don't have a problem, i, i have a problem —

matt:

no, not you —

alan:

— i'm, i'm just trying to establish the truth —

matt:

— members of the audience.

alan:

well, i'm sure that there are — look, here's what, one of the things i think you've been criticized for is that, uh — in fact i'm trying to go there right now, something called —

matt:

one of those blogs?

alan:

no, i'm trying to see, there's this ad, there's something called "masseur-finder" with your picture on it ...

matt:

yeah, i've seen that. i've seen that. i've been getting calls in the past couple of weeks on that and i am not running that ad.


... because someone less upstanding would deny that that was their picture ...

alan:

right. and there's an ad in the advocate and i'm trying to come up with a date for that which is a new york publication ...

matt:

great.

alan:

i'm sorry, it's the new york blade, forgive me.

matt:

the new york blade.

alan:

the new york blade.

matt:

another one ...

alan:

and that ad was from november 19th, 2004.

matt:

sure. lemme tell —

alan:

an ad for you.

matt:

lemme tell you something really interesting —

alan:

not the — let me correct myself, it was the new york blade, which is the gay publication, but not the advocate.

matt:

ok, the new york blade. great. fair enough.

alan:

all right.

matt:

um, i've seen, i was in australia one time, and i saw someone advertising ... using my picture.

alan:

right.

matt:

anyone who knows that whole —

alan:

but it's got your phone number on it, too.


... retreat! retreat! retreat!

matt:

any, uh, that's which

alan:

your current phone number.

matt:

that's not my current phone number.

alan:

ok, well, i'll show it to you

matt:

i mean i've had, i've had my current phone number for about, a year.

alan:

ok, well, i'll, i'll show you —

matt:

ok, no problem. look, i own up to all that stuff. i just want to make that straight. i've been, for the past week i've had, i've had people calling me about this, and apparently someone has placed an ad, just recently.

alan:

alright. well, this was three years ago. well, i'll show you the link when, during the commercial —

matt:

i'm talking about just yesterday.


... oh please, god: tell me he hasn't checked up on that one, too ...

alan:

really.

matt:

yeah, just yesterday. i mean, this isn't, this isn't, there's something going on


... now ain't that the truth?

Friday, March 09, 2007

nevada debate preview

so, will fox viewers be watching this:



or, at long last, this?


(with apologies to charles schulz)


update: well, it looks like democrats have decided to go for what's behind door number two:

senate majority leader harry reid and the nevada democratic party announced today that they are backing out of a fox news-sponsored presidential debate in august following fox president roger ailes's recent remarks comparing democratic senator barack obama to al qaeda terrorist osama bin laden.

fox news did not answer calls seeking reaction to the decision.

democratic presidential candidate john edwards had already announced that he would not participate in the fox debate. his party followed suit today, under pressure from the more than 265,000 people who signed a petition calling fox "a mouthpiece for the republican party, not a legitimate news channel" and urging nevada officials to cancel.

danny coyle, a moveon.org member who serves on the executive board of the carson city democratic central committee, yesterday offered a resolution calling on the state party to drop fox, and it passed overwhelmingly among the grassroots democrats in attendance.

"i am glad and relieved that the nevada democratic leadership has come to its senses," coyle said. "any kind of relationship with fox is bad for the party."

at first, senator reid defended the decision to work with fox, reasoning that it might help democratic candidates reach out to right-leaning fox viewers. but party activists argued from the start that any connection with fox was a mistake.

robert greenwald, director of the movie outfoxed, called the final decision a "victory for truth and journalism." some 280,000 people have viewed greenwald's new youtube film "fox attacks: obama" — located with the petition at www.foxattacks.com. "by standing up to fox's right-wing smears," greenwald said, "the patriotic grassroots, netroots, senator reid, senator edwards, and the nevada democrats have all worked together to protect one of the most important elements of a free society — the press."

and eli pariser, executive director of moveon.org civic action, said he hoped the decision would "set a precedent within the party that fox should be treated as a right-wing mis-information network, not legitimized as a neutral source of news."

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

where's rove?

good question:


collins:
... i will say that there was a tremendous amount of sympathy for mr. libby on the jury. it was said a number of times: "what are we doing with this guy here? where's rove? where's ... y'know, where're these other guys?"

we're not saying we didn't think mr. libby was guilty of the things we found him guilty of, but that it seemed like he was, to put it the way [defense counsel] mr. wells put it, he was the fall guy. he was — now, he made bad judgments, and he —

q:
was he the fall guy for vice president cheney? was that the belief of the jury?

collins:


the belief of the jury was this, that he was, he was tasked by the vice president to go and talk to reporters. we never made any, y'know, came to any conclusions or — we never even discussed whether cheney would have told him what exactly to say.


while all the noise surrounding rove's increasingly desperate five appearances before fitzgerald's grand jury certainly gave the impression that bush's brain was the star of the show, in the end it appears that turdblossom was just a rodeo clown.

the plot against wilson, the world now knows, clearly originated on cheney's desk, and he made its execution his deputy's responsibility. however, libby was not first and foremost a smear merchant — but he certainly knew someone down the hall who was, someone who might be willing to lend a hand on a juicy project, and best of all, someone who employed his dubious talents with gusto:

l.a. times: prosecutors investigating whether white house officials illegally leaked the identity of wilson's wife, a cia officer who had worked undercover, have been told that bush's top political strategist, karl rove, and i. lewis libby, chief of staff for vice president dick cheney, were especially intent on undercutting wilson's credibility, according to a person familiar with the inquiry.

while lower-level white house staff members typically handle most contacts with the media, rove and libby began personally communicating with reporters about wilson, prosecutors were told.

a source directly familiar with information provided to prosecutors said rove's interest was so strong that it prompted questions in the white house. when asked at one point why he was pursuing the diplomat so aggressively, rove responded: "he's a democrat." rove then cited wilson's campaign donations, which leaned toward democrats, the person familiar with the case said.


so for rove the pursuit of wilson was just another fishing expedition for his favorite prey rather than a mission to protect a colleague. his investment simply wasn't as high as libby's, and when things turned sour, rove was the first to start cashing in his markers, which pleased the conspirator-in-chief none too well:

abc news: the note from cheney, which the defense discussed during the opening day of the trial, was submitted into evidence and reads in full:
[stamp: the vice president has seen]

[ people have made too much of the reference in how i described karl and libby ]

i've talked to libby.

i said it was rediculous [sic] about karl and it is rediculous [sic] about libby

libby was not the source of the novak story.

and he did not leak classified information.

[sidenote: tenet wilson memo]

has to happen today

call out to key press saying same thing about scooter as karl

not going to protect one staffer and sacrifice the guy this pres. asked to stick his head in the meat grinder because of the incompetence of others.

cheney's note was to direct the white house press secretary to offer the same assurances about libby that mcclellan had made earlier about rove: libby was not the source of the novak column.

fitzgerald apparently picked up on the dynamic between libby and his fair-weather friend, determined that rove was mainly along for the ride, and sweated him publicly and repeatedly, like some two-bit cop show snitch, knowing that rove wasn't about to play the fall guy for cheney. after all, cheney already had one.

and fallen on his master's sword libby has, though his sacrifice appears to have been offered in vain, since by their clumsy intrigues, everything they sought to hide has been revealed, and the persecutors have now become the prosecuted:

king:
we have an e-mail question from hugo in arcadia, florida: "now that "scooter" libby has been found guilty in this criminal trial, will you and/or your wife bring suit against him and/or the vice president in civil court?"

wilson:

we have filed a civil suit and we've named in the civil suit the vice president, mr. libby, mr. rove and mr. armitage, and john does, i think, one through nine now, in anticipation of learning more information through this trial.


chairman henry a. waxman announced a hearing on whether white house officials followed appropriate procedures for safeguarding the identity of cia agent valerie plame wilson. at the hearing, the committee will receive testimony from ms. wilson and other experts regarding the disclosure and internal white house security procedures for protecting her identity from disclosure and responding to the leak after it occurred. the hearing is scheduled for friday, march 16.

in addition, the committee today sent a letter to special prosecutor patrick fitzgerald commending him for his investigation and requesting a meeting to discuss testimony by mr. fitzgerald before the committee.

the oversight committee will webcast the hearing live at www.oversight.house.gov.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

the verdict


(with apologies to garry trudeau)

Sunday, March 04, 2007

it won't be much longer now

because something tells me dubya's war doesn't have two years of steam left in it ...

for three years after the invasion of iraq, it was difficult to drive more than a few miles through middle america without seeing a car displaying a magnetic yellow ribbon.

the magnets, bearing the slogan "support our troops", became a symbol of patriotism for millions of us motorists.

but as support for the war fades, demand for yellow ribbons has collapsed.

magnet america, the largest manufacturer of the product, has seen sales fall from a peak of 1.2m in august 2004 to about 4,000 a month and now has an unsold stockpile of about 1m magnets.

"we have enough supplies to meet demand for years to come," said micah pattisall, director of operations. "every product has a lifespan and this one has run its course."

at its peak, the north carolina-based company employed 180 people to handle sales, marketing and distribution. today, it employs 11 people.

mr pattisall said declining support for the war was not the only reason for the slump.

a flood of cheap imports from china also hurt the company, which has refused to shift production overseas even though it costs three times as much to manufacture in the us.

only about half a dozen companies are still supplying the magnets compared with up to 200 at the height of the fad, according to mr pattisall.

when the company was founded in april 2003, during the initial invasion of iraq, nearly all its revenues came from yellow ribbons. today, patriotic products account for only 6 per cent of sales.

the yellow ribbon has been overtaken as the company's best-selling product by a wristband promoting chastity before marriage with the slogan "true love waits".

"we are growing again and looking to hire additional staff," mr pattisall said.

yellow ribbons were first displayed widely in support of kidnapped us diplomats during the iranian hostage crisis in 1979.

some critics have condemned the magnets as a cheap and superficial way to honour the armed forces and highlighted the irony of placing them on gas-guzzling vehicles that deepen the us's dependence on middle eastern oil.

resentful that the yellow ribbon has become associated with support for the president, george w. bush, opponents of the war have introduced their own car magnets emblazoned with anti-war statements.

on ebay, the internet auction site, on thursday, a black and white ribbon bearing the slogan "out of iraq, bring 'em back" was priced at $5.

traditional yellow ribbon magnets, in contrast, could be bought for one cent.

"yellow ribbons dwindle with war support"
andrew ward, the financial times