Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Bush41: "Gimme My Son Back, Dick!"
The Autumn of the Patriarchy
By Maureen Dowd
The New York Times

Wednesday 30 November 2005

In the vice president's new, more fortified bunker, inside his old undisclosed secure location within the larger bunker that used to be called the West Wing of the White House, Dick Cheney was muttering and sputtering.

He wasn't talking to the pictures on the wall, as Nixon did when he finally cracked. Vice doesn't trust those portraits anyway. The walls have ears. He was talking to the only reliable man in a city of dimwits, cowards, traitors and fools: himself.

He hurled a sheaf of news reports with such force it knocked over the picture of Ahmad Chalabi that he keeps next to the picture of Churchill. Winston Chalabi, he likes to call him.

Vice is fed up with all the whining and carping - and that's just inside the White House. The only negativity in Washington is supposed to be his own. He's the only one allowed to scowl and grumble and conspire.

The impertinent Tom DeFrank reported in New York's Daily News that embattled White House aides felt "President Bush must take the reins personally" to save his presidency.

Let him try, Cheney said with a sneer. Things are nowhere near dire enough for that. Even if Junior somehow managed to grab the reins to his presidency, Vice holds Junior's reins. So he just needs to get all these sniveling, poll-driven wimps and losers back on board with the master plan.

Things had been going so smoothly. The global torture franchise was up and running. Halliburton contracts were flowing. Tax cuts were sailing through. Oil companies were raking it in. Alaska drilling was thrillingly close. The courts were defending his executive privilege on energy policy, and people were still buying all that smoke about Saddam's being responsible for 9/11, and that drivel about how we're fighting them there so we don't have to fight them here. Everything was groovy.

But not anymore. Cheney could not believe that Karl had made him go out and call that loudmouth Jack Murtha a patriot. He was sure the Pentagon generals had put the congressman up to calling for a withdrawal from Iraq. Is the military brass getting in touch with its pacifist side? In Wyoming, Vice shoots doves.

How dare Murtha suggest that Cheney dodged and dodged and dodged and dodged and dodged the draft? Murtha thinks he knows about war just because he served in one and was a marine for 37 years? Vice started his own war. Now that's a credential!

It always goes this way with the cut-and-run crowd. First they start nitpicking the war, complaining about little things like the lack of armor for the troops. Then they complain that there aren't enough troops. Well, that would just require more armor that we don't have. Then they kvetch about using incendiary weapons in a city like Falluja. Vice likes the smell of white phosphorus in the morning.

What really enrages him is all the Republicans in the Senate making noises about timetables. Before you know it, it's going to be helicopters on the rooftop at the Baghdad embassy.

Just because Junior's approval ratings are in the 30's, people around here are going all wobbly. Vice was 10 points lower and he wasn't worried. Numbers are for sissies.

Why do Harry Reid and his Democratic turncoats think they can call the White House on the carpet? Do they think Vice would fear to lie about lying about the rationale for going to war? A real liar never stops lying.

He didn't want to have to tell the rest of the senators to go do to themselves what he had told Patrick Leahy to go do to himself.

Now all these idiots are getting caught, even Scooter. DeLay's on the ropes and the Dukester is a total embarrassment, spending bribes on antique commodes and a Rolls-Royce. Vice should never have let an amateur get involved with defense contracts.

Republican moderates are running scared in the House, worried about re-election. Even senators seem to have forgotten which side their bread is oiled on. Ted Stevens let oil company executives get caught lying about the energy task force meeting, while Vice can't even get a little thing like torture chambers through the Senate. What's so wrong with a little torture?

And now John Warner wants Junior to use fireside chats to explain his plan for Iraq. When did everybody get the un-American idea that the president is answerable to America?

Vice is fed up with the whining of squirrelly surrogates like Brent Scowcroft and Lawrence Wilkerson on behalf of peaceniks like George Senior and Colin Powell. If Poppy's upset about his kid's mentor, he should be man enough to come slug it out.

Poppy isn't getting Junior back, Vice vowed, muttering: "He's my son. It's my war. It's my country."

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

From Think Progress

19 Days and Counting: Where’s Scotty?

Where did White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan go? The last time McClellan gave an on-the-record press briefing from the White House press podium was 19 days ago.

On November 14, PR Week reported that McClellan was on his way out:

A White House correspondent, who asked not to be identified, predicts McClellan, who replaced Ari Fleischer as press secretary in summer 2003, will soon be leaving his post. “I’m expecting very big changes,” the correspondent says.

On November 18, McClellan issued a written statement attacking Rep. John Murtha’s call for a drawdown in Iraq. McClellan said Murtha was “surrender[ing] to the terrorists.” Both Bush and Cheney had to later publicly step back from McClellan’s attacks.

We called the White House to ask whether there would be a press briefing today, and the press assistant checked the schedule and informed us there was not one scheduled. When asked whether there would be a press briefing any time this week, the press office informed us that there was nothing scheduled because the President would be traveling.

Given his long absence, we’re left wondering if Scotty is still on the job.
Lifted From Bushwatch

Rewriting History: Bush's Scorched Earth Policy
W. David Jenkins III

This administration has a history of attacking its critics on any level, be it personal or professional. Its members are capable of unleashing such usually successful, coordinated firestorms of vitriol against their enemies that they escape accountability time and time again. They are doing now what they have always done when caught with their political pants down - they spin, lie, stone-wall and cover up.

That's what they did with 9/11, Valerie Wilson, the Energy Task Force, ties to Enron, Abu Ghraib, Guantanamo, Operation Able Danger, Sibel Edmonds, Campaigns 2000 and 2004, Rendition and Torture, Cindy Sheehan, the Information Awareness Office, Patriot Act abuses, Guckert/Gannon, Katrina, Bunnatine (Bunny) Greenhouse, Halliburton, the Downing Street Memos and, of course, Iraq and the suppression of intelligence that did not fit their criteria.

That's quite a list and I'm certain I've missed a few examples but when you look back on all of these episodes, you have to wonder how it's possible that almost a third of the country can still support this administration. Maybe Dr. Joseph Mengele was right when at Nuremberg he stated, "The more we do to you, the less you seem to believe we are doing it."...

Monday, November 28, 2005

Crooks, Liars and Swindlers

Is there some unwritten rule that in order to be a Republican legislator, you have to be a fucking crook?

Congressman Quits After Admitting Bribes
Republican Lawmaker Pleads Guilty to Tax Violations

WASHINGTON (Nov. 28) - Rep. Randy "Duke" Cunningham (R-CA) pleaded guilty Monday to conspiracy and tax charges and tearfully resigned from office, admitting he took $2.4 million in bribes to steer defense contracts to conspirators.

Defense contractors, eh?
What a coincidence. Those crocodile tears may be fake now, but once he's in prison the immates will give him a reason to cry. And nobody will see it, hear it or care.

What Would Bush Do?

Failed FEMA leader & Bush buddy Brownie is opening an emergency management consulting firm. He's already lined up some blue ribbon clients.
Once Bush is out, what do you think he'll end up doing for a living?

Sunday, November 27, 2005

What Frank Said.

Dishonest, Reprehensible, Corrupt ...
By Frank Rich
The New York Times

Sunday 27 November 2005

George W. Bush is so desperate for allies that his hapless Asian tour took him to Ulan Bator, a first for an American president, so he could mingle with the yaks and give personal thanks for Mongolia's contribution of some 160 soldiers to "the coalition of the willing." Dick Cheney, whose honest-and-ethical poll number hit 29 percent in Newsweek's latest survey, is so radioactive that he vanished into his bunker for weeks at a time during the storms Katrina and Scootergate.

The whole world can see that both men are on the run. Just how much so became clear in the brace of nasty broadsides each delivered this month about Iraq. Neither man engaged the national debate ignited by John Murtha about how our troops might be best redeployed in a recalibrated battle against Islamic radicalism. Neither offered a plan for "victory." Instead, both impugned their critics' patriotism and retreated into the past to defend the origins of the war. In a seasonally appropriate impersonation of the misanthropic Mr. Potter from "It's a Wonderful Life," the vice president went so far as to label critics of the administration's prewar smoke screen both "dishonest and reprehensible" and "corrupt and shameless." He sounded but one epithet away from a defibrillator.

The Washington line has it that the motivation for the Bush-Cheney rage is the need to push back against opponents who have bloodied the White House in the polls. But, Mr. Murtha notwithstanding, the Democrats are too feeble to merit that strong a response. There is more going on here than politics.

Much more: each day brings slam-dunk evidence that the doomsday threats marshaled by the administration to sell the war weren't, in Cheney-speak, just dishonest and reprehensible but also corrupt and shameless. The more the president and vice president tell us that their mistakes were merely innocent byproducts of the same bad intelligence seen by everyone else in the world, the more we learn that this was not so. The web of half-truths and falsehoods used to sell the war did not happen by accident; it was woven by design and then foisted on the public by a P.R. operation built expressly for that purpose in the White House. The real point of the Bush-Cheney verbal fisticuffs this month, like the earlier campaign to take down Joseph Wilson, is less to smite Democrats than to cover up wrongdoing in the executive branch between 9/11 and shock and awe.

The cover-up is failing, however. No matter how much the president and vice president raise their decibel levels, the truth keeps roaring out. A nearly 7,000-word investigation in last Sunday's Los Angeles Times found that Mr. Bush and his aides had "issued increasingly dire warnings" about Iraq's mobile biological weapons labs long after U.S. intelligence authorities were told by Germany's Federal Intelligence Service that the principal source for these warnings, an Iraqi defector in German custody code-named Curveball, "never claimed to produce germ weapons and never saw anyone else do so." The five senior German intelligence officials who spoke to The Times said they were aghast that such long-discredited misinformation from a suspected fabricator turned up in Colin Powell's presentation to the United Nations and in the president's 2003 State of the Union address (where it shared billing with the equally bogus 16 words about Saddam's fictitious African uranium).

Right after the L.A. Times scoop, Murray Waas filled in another piece of the prewar propaganda puzzle. He reported in the nonpartisan National Journal that 10 days after 9/11, "President Bush was told in a highly classified briefing that the U.S. intelligence community had no evidence linking the Iraqi regime of Saddam Hussein to the attacks and that there was scant credible evidence that Iraq had any significant collaborative ties with Al Qaeda."

The information was delivered in the President's Daily Brief, a C.I.A. assessment also given to the vice president and other top administration officials. Nonetheless Mr. Bush and Mr. Cheney repeatedly pounded in an implicit (and at times specific) link between Saddam and Al Qaeda until Americans even started to believe that the 9/11 attacks had been carried out by Iraqis. More damning still, Mr. Waas finds that the "few credible reports" of Iraq-Al Qaeda contacts actually involved efforts by Saddam to monitor or infiltrate Islamic terrorist groups, which he regarded as adversaries of his secular regime. Thus Saddam's antipathy to Islamic radicals was the same in 2001 as it had been in 1983, when Donald Rumsfeld, then a Reagan administration emissary, embraced the dictator as a secular fascist ally in the American struggle against the theocratic fascist rulers in Iran.

What these revelations also tell us is that Mr. Bush was wrong when he said in his Veterans Day speech that more than 100 Congressional Democrats who voted for the Iraqi war resolution "had access to the same intelligence" he did. They didn't have access to the President's Daily Brief that Mr. Waas uncovered. They didn't have access to the information that German intelligence officials spoke about to The Los Angeles Times. Nor did they have access to material from a Defense Intelligence Agency report, released by Senator Carl Levin of Michigan this month, which as early as February 2002 demolished the reliability of another major source that the administration had persistently used for its false claims about Iraqi-Al Qaeda collaboration.

The more we learn about the road to Iraq, the more we realize that it's a losing game to ask what lies the White House told along the way. A simpler question might be: What was not a lie? The situation recalls Mary McCarthy's explanation to Dick Cavett about why she thought Lillian Hellman was a dishonest writer: "Every word she writes is a lie, including 'and' and 'the.' "

If Mr. Bush and Mr. Cheney believe they were truthful in the run-up to the war, it's easy for them to make their case. Instead of falsely claiming that they've been exonerated by two commissions that looked into prewar intelligence - neither of which addressed possible White House misuse and mischaracterization of that intelligence - they should just release the rest of the President's Daily Briefs and other prewar documents that are now trickling out. Instead, incriminatingly enough, they are fighting the release of any such information, including unclassified documents found in post-invasion Iraq requested from the Pentagon by the pro-war, neocon Weekly Standard. As Scott Shane reported in The New York Times last month, Vietnam documents are now off limits, too: the National Security Agency won't make public a 2001 historical report on how American officials distorted intelligence in 1964 about the Gulf of Tonkin incident for fear it might "prompt uncomfortable comparisons" between the games White Houses played then and now to gin up wars.

Sooner or later - probably sooner, given the accelerating pace of recent revelations - this embarrassing information will leak out anyway. But the administration's deliberate efforts to suppress or ignore intelligence that contradicted its Iraq crusade are only part of the prewar story. There were other shadowy stations on the disinformation assembly line. Among them were the Policy Counterterrorism Evaluation Group, a two-man Pentagon operation specifically created to cherry-pick intelligence for Mr. Cheney's apocalyptic Iraqi scenarios, and the White House Iraq Group (WHIG), in which Karl Rove, Karen Hughes and the Cheney hands Lewis Libby and Mary Matalin, among others, plotted to mainline this propaganda into the veins of the press and public. These murky aspects of the narrative - like the role played by a private P.R. contractor, the Rendon Group, examined by James Bamford in the current Rolling Stone - have yet to be recounted in full.

No debate about the past, of course, can undo the mess that the administration made in Iraq. But the past remains important because it is a road map to both the present and the future. Leaders who dissembled then are still doing so. Indeed, they do so even in the same speeches in which they vehemently deny having misled us then - witness Mr. Bush's false claims about what prewar intelligence was seen by Congress and Mr. Cheney's effort last Monday to again conflate the terrorists of 9/11 with those "making a stand in Iraq." (Maj. Gen. Douglas Lute, director of operations for Centcom, says the Iraqi insurgency is 90 percent homegrown.) These days Mr. Bush and Mr. Cheney routinely exaggerate the readiness of Iraqi troops, much as they once inflated Saddam's W.M.D.'s.

"We're not going to sit by and let them rewrite history," the vice president said of his critics. "We're going to continue throwing their own words back at them." But according to a Harris poll released by The Wall Street Journal last Wednesday, 64 percent of Americans now believe that the Bush administration "generally misleads the American public on current issues to achieve its own ends." That's why it's Mr. Cheney's and the president's own words that are being thrown back now - not to rewrite history but to reveal it for the first time to an angry country that has learned the hard way that it can no longer afford to be without the truth.


Friday, November 25, 2005

Cindy Sheehan's Brief Note:

"George, My family is spending our 2nd Thanksgiving without Casey, thanks to you and your lies. I am spending the day crying on a plane on my way to Crawford to again ask you for a meeting." - Cindy Sheehan

What Bush's silence is saying:

Lady, I already said Saddam had nuculer weapons and he was buying uranium from Niger from that asshole Joe Wilson, so we have been forced to take the fight to them because they hate us for our freedom.
If we have to torture and murder them to realize they too can make the pie higher, then let freedom reign!
In my new initiative, "no middle or lower class youth left behind," soon others will join your son Cary in fighting for our freedom- which is what separates those Jesus loves from them he hates and condemns to Hell.
God bless you and God bless America, too.
Now, get the hell out of Crawford let me get back to my "Turkey."

Thursday, November 24, 2005

A Dozen Things to be Thankful For

1. Worrying more about eating too much at Thanksgiving than not having enough to eat
2. Having two friends who invited me to two separate dinners today
3. Having a comfy, paid-off home
4. Having a comfy, paid-off car
5. Patrick Fitzgerald
6. Having a family that doesn't demand attendance at traditional holiday rituals
7. Having good health
8. Political Polls starting to agree with those of us who knew what was up five years ago
9. Having two happy, healthy kitties
10. Shoe sales
11. Five years of happy Blogging
12. God, granting me serenity

Everyone, have a happy and peaceful Thanksgiving.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

A Stuffing Legend Dies

Ruth M. Siems, a retired home economist whose best-known innovation will make its appearance, welcome or otherwise, in millions of homes tomorrow, died on Nov. 13 at her home in Newburgh, Ind. Ms. Siems, an inventor of Stove Top stuffing, was 74.

Ms. Siems (pronounced "Seems") spent more than three decades on the staff of General Foods, which introduced the Stove Top brand in 1972. Today, Kraft Foods, which now owns the brand, sells about 60 million boxes of it at Thanksgiving, a company spokeswoman said.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

San Antonio: Top Thanksgiving Destination

It turns out San Antonio is the American city most likely to host visitors for Thanksgiving this year.
With azure blue skies and weather predicted to be in the high 70's, it's no wonder.
Also, more than a few million holiday lights around town will be switched on that night, causing more photo opportunities than the average Santa Fe balloon festival.
Alas, many visitors come by car.
That means drivers from places like Kansas, Oklahoma and other Godforsaken Hellholes will be clogging our freeways, doing 55 in the left lane with their right turn signals stuck in the ON position.
That means gridlock in and around all Walmart locations.
No parking downtown.
Mexican restaurants will be clogged all weekend. So will movie theaters.

Do me a favor, visitors.
-If you are on the freeway and an eggplant colored Acura is on your tail, move over.
-If you are tailgating an eggplant colored Acura, back off.
-If you think all San Antonians love George W. Bush, think again.
-If you back an NBA team other than the Spurs, keep it to yourself. We are the champions, deal with it.
-Please do not say you love it here so much you want to move here, unless you are a liberal Democrat or an attractive lesbian who likes slightly burnt-out curmudgeons.
-No, I do not want to see photos of your grandchildren.

Welcome to San Antonio. Enjoy your meal.
Now go home.

Monday, November 21, 2005

Damn You, Scooter!

FYI, if you happen to have a 92-year-old mother who can't walk for long periods at fancy grocery stores, do not put her in an electric scooter chair.
Personnel at the crowded Whole Foods flagship store in Austin are still putting displays back together after my Mom rammed a mess of them.
When I was little, I dreaded walking in front of the grocery shopping cart because she'd get distracted and ram it into my Achille's tendons. I still hate to walk in front of grocery carts.

But that doesn't compare to being rammed in the hip by a scooter traveling at 10 mph.

And for the arrogant French guy who scowled at her because her scooter was blocking the free samples of coffee and biscotti, sacre bleu! What are you doing in Texas, anyway?
He was so nervy. When he got his tiny sample cup of coffee, he had zee balls to ask for hazelnut syrup. And he took three biscotti samples.

Saturday, November 19, 2005

GOP Dissing the Boss?

An effort by New Jersey's two Democratic senators to honor rock legend Bruce Springsteen was shot down Friday by Republicans who are apparently still miffed a year after he lent his voice to the Kerry campaign.

The chamber's GOP leaders refused to bring up for consideration a resolution, introduced by Sens. Frank Lautenberg and Jon Corzine, that honored Springsteen's long career and the re-release of his 1975 anthem album, "Born to Run."

The GOP refused to comment on why they shot down this largely symbolic gesture.

I, however, will comment.

The GOP shows how petty they are when they demonstrate that they have no appreciation of American culture or the artistic contributions of those who do not share their narrow values.

As they decry political partisanship, they illustrate it on a daily basis. Their pettiness, their stubbornness and their blatant disregard for Americans who do not share their fascist viewpoints are toxic to America.

Just one more reason to disrespect the disrespectful GOP.
What jackasses they are.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Harry Reid Kicks Cheney's Fat Ass (Again)

Reid: We Need Answers and a Way Forward in Iraq, Not Another Cheney Attack Speech
By Senator Harry Reid

Washington, DC - Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid gave the following speech on the Senate Floor tonight.

Remarks as prepared for delivery:

Tonight the Vice President has come out of his bunker and is speaking at a gathering of Washington DC insiders, which is closed to the press.

Unfortunately, he brought his bunker mentality with him. He is repeating the same tired attacks we've heard from administration officials over the last two weeks.

In the last 24 hours, 10 of our brave soldiers have been killed in far off Iraq. On such a night, you would think Cheney would give a speech that honors the fallen and those still fighting by laying out a strategy for success.

Instead we have the Vice President of the United States playing politics like he's in the middle of a presidential campaign.

Yesterday, a bipartisan majority of the United States Senate gave the administration a vote of no confidence for its Iraq policy. We said the era of their "No Plan, No End" approach is over.

Apparently, the White House didn't get the message. The Vice President's speech tonight demonstrates once again that this Administration intends to "stay the course" and continue putting their political fortunes ahead of what this country needs - a plan for success.

Our troops and the American people deserve better.

The White House needs to understand that deceiving the American people is what got them into trouble. Now is the time to come clean, not to continue the pattern of deceit.

So again, I ask Vice President Cheney to make himself available and answer the American people's questions.

If he has time to talk to DC insiders... oil executives... and a discredited felon - Ahmad Chalabi - who is under investigation for giving this nation's most sensitive secrets to Iran, he has time to answer the questions of the American people.

The Vice President needs to stop stonewalling and hold a press conference.

Finally, I would urge the members of the Bush administration to stop trying to resurrect their political standing by lashing out at their critics. Instead, they need to focus on the job at hand - giving our troops a strategy for success in Iraq.

Just this week, we've seen Stephen Hadley... Donald Rumsfeld... President Bush... and Vice President Cheney lash out at their critics....yet they all remain silent when it comes to giving our troops and the American people a plan for success in Iraq.

Tired rhetoric and political attacks do nothing to get the job done in Iraq.

America can do better.
Photographer Dee Kite Adds to the Earl Abel's Mystique

My good friend and professional photographer Devaun Kite has a web site that features lush photography, centering on the weirdness and unique beauty of San Antonio.
I've mentioned it before on my Blog, but revisiting it today made me want to mention it again, especially with the direct tie to Earl Abel's restaurant.
If you'll visit her site, about 16 photos into it you'll see a great shot of the retro Earl Abel's restaurant sign, taken at night.
It's a chance to buy a piece of history before it's too late.
Even without that cool photo, you'll love the dense, rich colors in her photographic palette.
She's got an eye for design and composition, and a steady hand with the camera.
And her prices are affordable, for early holiday shopping.
Check out her site and tell us which photo you liked best.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

I Love This Woman

Torture -- Spare Me The Tough Talk
by Molly Ivins

I can't get over this feeling of unreality, that I am actually sitting here writing about our country having a gulag of secret prisons in which it tortures people. I have loved America all my life, even though I have often disagreed with the government. But this seems to me so preposterous, so monstrous.

Maybe I should try to get a grip -- after all, it's just this one administration that I had more cause than most to realize was full of inadequate people going in. And even at that, it seems to be mostly Vice President Cheney. And after all, we were badly frightened by 9/11, which was a horrible event. ''Only'' nine senators voted against the prohibition of ''cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment of persons under custody or control the United States.'' Nine out of 100. Should we be proud? Should we cry?

''We do not torture,'' said our inarticulate president, straining through emphasis and repetition to erase the obvious.

A string of prisons in Eastern Europe in which suspects are held and tortured indefinitely, without trial, without lawyers, without the right to confront their accusers, without knowing the evidence or the charges against them, if any. Forever. It's One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich. Another secret prison in the midst of a military camp on an island run by an infamous dictator. Prisoner without a name, cell without a number.

Who are we? What have we become? The shining city on a hill, the beacon and bastion of refuge and freedom, a country born amid the most magnificent ideals of freedom and justice, the greatest political heritage ever given to any people anywhere.

I am baffled by these ''arguments'': But we're talking about really awful people, cries the harassed press secretary. People like X and Y and Z (after a time, one forgets all the names of the No. 2's after bin Laden we have captured). The SS and the Gestapo and the NKVD weren't all that nice, either.

Then I hear the familiar tinniness of the fake machismo I know so well from George W. Bush and all the other frat boys who never went to Vietnam and never got over the guilt.

''Sometimes you gotta play rough,'' said Dick Cheney. No kidding? Why don't you tell that to John McCain?

I have known George W. Bush since we were both in high school -- we have dozens of mutual friends. I have written two books about him and so have interviewed many dozens more who know him well in one way or another. Spare me the tough talk. He didn't play football -- he was a cheerleader. ''He is really competitive,'' said one friend. ``You wouldn't believe how tough he is on a tennis court!''

If you are dead to all sense of morality, let us still reason together on the famous American common ground of practicality. Torture does not work. It is not productive. It does not yield important, timely information. That is in the movies. This is reality.

Why did we bother to beat the Soviet Union if we were just going to become it? Shame. Shame. Shame.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

I Hate Progress.

For as long as I can remember, there's a place in San Antonio that has served as a backdrop to almost every different phase of my life.
It's a comfy old diner called Earl Abel's, located on the corner of Broadway and Hildebrand in San Antonio. It used to be a 24-hour joint, but Jerry Able, the late Earl's son, decided to start closing at 1 a.m. because things got too wild in the wee hours.
When I was a callow youth, newly gay and a fixture on the bar scene, Earl's was the place to go after 2 a.m. when the bars had closed and we had a mess of beer that needed soaking up with eggs and bacon and biscuits before we could drive home.
The drag queens would flock there after 2 a.m. too, in various stages of disrepair but always flamboyant, boisterous and wildly entertaining.
One late night in the 70's, I recall being drunk and high on acid while we were seated next to a table full of nightshift cops there on their dinner break. I was paranoid until my friend Wanda said, "It's Wednesday night, who's gonna suspect we're trippin'?"
During the day, Earl's was a little old lady joint- with walkers and canes and wheelchairs jammed between the widely spaced tables. Sundays would bring the church people, lining up for fried chicken with cracklin' gravy.
The waitresses were all vintage 1940s, mostly Anglo-American, with rouge applied in perfect little circles on each cheek and red lipstick applied over thin lines that used to be lips. They wore black uniforms with frilly white aprons and they all seemed vaguely formal, like down on their luck Daughters of the Republic of Texas.
To this day, my sisters and I drag my 92-year-old mother there for an annual pilgrimage. We all order chicken fried steak, mashed potatoes and green beans, with hot yeast rolls and real butter. And Brandy Alexanders. We each have two, even Mama. Sometimes we get pie for dessert. They are famous for their pie, which is fairly good but not memorable.
The food in general is not that good, but it's comforting. The decor is sort of weird, with red walls and heavy club tables and chairs made of dark wood. Semi Goth looking coats of arms and assorted Spanish Inquisition weapons adorn the walls, in between corny little framed plaques with hand-lettered phrases like, "Eat at Earl's and Diet Home."

Earl Abel's is located on some prime real estate, precisely midway between downtown and the wealthiest neighborhoods inside the city limits.
Jerry Abel, Earl's son, took it over in 1982 and ran it the same way his daddy did when he opened it in the 40's. It was a seamless transition; Jerry knew not to mess up a winning formula.
But now Jerry's getting old and I guess developers offered him millions so they can tear it down and put up a big condo complex. Long story short, Earl Abel's is closing at the end of the year.
I had to write my big sister in Austin and give her the news.
She's gonna take it hard.
Here's a little more info about the place:
Read the menu- tell me what you'd order if you could visit the place before it closes for good.
I already know what I'm getting.
A Disoriented Bush Heads to the Orient

When in doubt, leave the country!
Just to be on the safe side, Bush is including scenic Mongolia on his itinerary. He probably reckons they don't have news or the Internets there, so they won't know enough to heckle him for being such a total, global jerk.
I can just hear his opening remarks:
"I just want to thank all you Mongoloid folks for invitin' me to visit."

Sunday, November 13, 2005

If You Can't Dazzle Them With Footwork, Baffle Them With Bullshit

"WASHINGTON: Enrollment in the new Medicare drug benefit begins in three days, but even with Bush hailing the plan on Saturday as "the greatest advance in health care for seniors" in 40 years, large numbers of older Americans appear to be overwhelmed and confused by the choices they will have to make.

"I have a Ph.D., and it's too complicated to suit me," said William Q. Beard, 73, a retired chemist in Wichita, Kan., who takes eight prescription drugs, including several heart medicines..."

My 92-year-old mother, however, does not have a Ph.D. in chemistry. She takes more than 10 prescription drugs daily though, and if it was left up to her to select from a dozen or more plans, she'd end up dead within a month.

Maybe that's what the Bush criminals and their profiteering pharmaceutical cronies had in mind. Kill off the elderly by means of confusing them to death.

Not every elderly person has people looking out for them and overseeing their welfare. My mother has her own full-time nurse and my siblings nearby, watching everything like hawks and guarding her like a baby chick. Thank God for them.

This latest Bush boondoggle on the surface doesn't look as bad as some of his other bad policies, but in the months to come we can expect to hear an avalanche of complaints from the AARPsters out there.

The only silver lining I can see in all this is the possibility that one day, an elderly, senile George W. Bush will have to rely on his drunken twins to select his prescription drug plan. I only hope hemlock is on the approved RX plan they select.

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Sending the Wrong Message??

In his speech to Veterans yesterday, Bush said partisan critics of the war "send the wrong message to the troops."
No, Bush.
Fake WMD and yellowcake uranium claims sent the wrong message to the troops.
Very few allies in this war sends the wrong message to the troops.
Inadequate troop levels going in and a non-existent exit strategy sent the wrong message to the troops.
Inadequate armor sends the wrong message to the troops.
Flimsy Humvees send the wrong message to the troops.
Forced, multiple tours of duty send the wrong message to the troops.
Abu Ghraib and Gitmo sent the wrong message to the troops.
Your all time low ratings in the polls send the wrong message to the troops.
Major GOP leadership being indicted or under investigation sends the wrong message to the troops.
An administration full of chickenhawks getting filthy rich off this war sends the wrong message to the troops.

Alcoholics always blame everyone else for their problems.
Playing the blame game shows character weakness.
That sends the wrong message to the troops.

Friday, November 11, 2005

Why Bother?

I noticed the Senate hauled in the heads of all the major oil companies to quiz them about record profits (ExxonMobil reported $9 billion in the last quarter- which is a new world record).
I also noticed the presiding fat bastard from Alaska refused to have them sworn in.
That being the case, why did they bother?

We know why they recorded record profits- it's called price gouging.
And we know who allowed it: Bush and the neo-cons.

Would I swear to it? Hell, yes.
Did I cut up my ExxonMobil card?

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

More Reasons to Loathe Tom DeLay
(thanks, Katie)

1) "So many minority youths had volunteered that there was literally no room for patriotic folks like myself."
--Tom DeLay, explaining at the 1988 GOP convention why he and vice presidential nominee Dan Quayle did not fight in the Vietnam War.

2) "Now tell me the truth boys, is this kind of fun?"
-Tom Delay, to three young hurricane evacuees from New Orleans
at the Astrodome in Houston, Sept. 9, 2005.

3) "I AM the federal government."
-Tom DeLay, to the owner of Ruth's Chris Steak House, after being told to put out his cigar because of federal government regulations banning smoking in the building, May 14, 2003.

4)"I am not a federal employee. I am a constitutional officer. My job is the Constitution of the United States, I am not a government employee. I am in the Constitution."
-Tom DeLay, in a CNN interview, Dec. 19, 1995.

5) "Nothing is more important in the face of a war than cutting taxes."
-Tom DeLay, March 12, 2003.

6) "Guns have little or nothing to do with juvenile violence. The causes of youth violence are working parents who put their kids into daycare, the teaching of evolution in the schools, and working mothers who take birth control pills."
-Tom DeLay, on causes of the Columbine High School massacre, 1999.

7) "A woman can take care of the family. It takes a man to provide structure. To provide stability. Not that a woman can't provide stability, I'm not saying that... It does take a father,though."
-Tom DeLay, in a radio interview, Feb. 10, 2004.

8) "I don't believe there is a separation of church and state. I think the Constitution is very clear. The only separation is that there will not be a government church."
-Tom DeLay.

9) "Emotional appeals about working families trying to get by on $4.25 an hour [the minimum wage in 1996] are hard to resist.Fortunately, such families do not exist."
-Tom DeLay, during a debate in Congress on increasing the minimum wage, April 23, 1996.

10) "We're no longer a superpower. We're a super-duper power."
-Tom Delay
Judith Miller: You're Fired.

The NY Times finally woke up and smelled the Bush coming from Judy Miller's office.
See ya, Judy, and fuckyouverymuch for the neo-con propaganda.
Best of luck with your new job at the Camden Gazette.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Can One Day Go By Without Another Major GOP Scandal?

At first it was amusing to see the Republicans fucking up left and right every week. I loved that they were finally getting their comeuppance.
But, damn, it's starting to happen daily, and the glee is being replaced with some genuine fear that all this GOP treason and malfeasance is seriously threatening our security in America.
Now the CIA wants an investigation into which Repugnican Senator leaked the news about the CIA stashing Iraqi insurgents in secret Gulags in the former Soviet Union.
What the fuck?
Why are there secret prisons we didn't know about? What was the reasoning behind that?
But more importantly, why was Dick Cheney casually talking about this latest classified matter during a GOP-only luncheon with a clump of Senators, as if it was perfectly okay to STILL be chitchatting about classified CIA issues, then (according to GOP Senator Trent Lott) leaking it to the media?
Do these people understand what classified or Top Secret even mean?

Now in addition to all that, CNN is reporting a serious rift between Bush and Cheney. It seems it's dawning on that idiot Bush that Cheney "gave him some bad advice about invading Iraq," so he's a little miffed at Dick. Who among us wouldn't have thrown Cheney off the nearest rooftop by now?
This has Rove's hoofprints all over it. Save Bush by sacrificing Cheney. All that phony trust and loyalty was just GOPolitics as usual.
I say fuck both of them.
Fuck all these treasonous Republican sons of bitches.
The entire administration is filled with inept, evil, greedy traitors. This isn't politics, this is a criminal organization not any better than the Mafia.
So horridly have they performed, their deeds have actually eclipsed the revulsion I'd ordinarily feel about the CIA having secret prisons.

This is getting beyond fucking ridiculous.
Read it and Sweat

Richard A. Clarke, the terrorism expert Bush fired because he didn't like hearing the truth, has come out with a new spy novel called, "The Scorpion's Path."
An offshoot of his last, nonfiction book that detailed the real story on terrorism, Clarke has been able to offer a shockingly detailed view into today's terrorism-tainted world, without having to kiss the CIA's ass and face the same obsessive, secretive editing process they used on his nonfiction offering.
He's a great writer, using descriptive, visual language that takes the reader into each scene.
And it ain't pretty, folks.
Clarke is sending us a message through this novel- and we'd all be wise to read it and start to sweat.
The Bush cabal is leading us down a path we do not want to be on.
Don't trust me on that, trust Clarke. He's the expert.
Don't Be a Victim of Electile Dysfunction

I am going out to vote against Proposition 2 today.
With laws already on the Texas books banning gay marriage, this Proposition is a waste of taxpayer money and just another affront to gays.
The "No Nonsense in November" campaign here in Texas encourages the fair minded to vote anyway.
We want to send a message to closet faggots like Governor Rick Perry and his ex boyfriend, former Texas Sec. of State Geoffrey O'Connor that we are paying attention.
The closets may be roomy in the Governor's mansion, but they are still dark and constraining.
I urge you all to vote in your elections today.
Let's give the GOP a sneak preview of what's to come.

Monday, November 07, 2005

Can You Believe the Gall of This Jerk?

"There's an enemy that lurks and plots and plans and wants to hurt America again. So you bet we will aggressively pursue them but we will do so under the law.
We do not torture."
-George W. Bush
Bush News Haikus

Karl Rove's a problem
Most people want him fired
Me too- kiln fired.

Brownie's e-mail's? Wow!
Katrina?? What should I do??
Roll up shirt sleeves, dork.

Argentina trip
Bush got to see protesters
"What are those?" He asked.

Cheney likes torture
The Geneva Conventions?
That's Swiss- almost French

The West Wing Debates
Why is it that two actors
Made more sense than Bush?

Is Bush high on drugs?
It seems very obvious
Brain cells all fucked up

Patrick Fitzgerald
Thank you for busting Scooter
Can you get Rove next?

Tom DeLay's mug shot
That smarmy, shit eating grin
Great Polident ad

Dick's big dyke daughter
Got to meet Prince Charles and wife
Grabbed Camilla's arse

Harriet Miers
We miss her so already
Fuckin' Scolito

Tex Gov Rick Perry
Hates gay marriage plan
He's on the down-low

Donald Rumsfeld - ugh
I bet when he was a lad
Girls would kick his ass

Rosa Parks passed on-
Laid in state at Capitol
"Alito? Who he?"

Poor Colin Powell
Gets his aide to tell the truth
Still an Uncle Tom

Valerie Wilson
Please sue those treasonous pricks
Court TV begs you

Condoleezza Rice
Has a face like a mean old
Boston Terrier

Scott McClellan and
Ken Mehlman entered a bar
"Hellllo, Jeff Gannon!"

"Prairie Chapel Ranch?"
"We have a delivery!"
"Jim Beam and cocaine..."

Fox News called BushCo
Rupert Murdoch said to them,
"Send more payola!"

Anderson Cooper:
Our newest secret weapon
A gay liberal!

Friday, November 04, 2005

A Veritable Plethora of Enjoyable News

Gosh, it's like Christmas morning for us Democrats.
I awakened to news that Bush is getting smothered in protesters while he's in Argentina. Of course we taxpayers sprung for the cost of a couple of U.S. Navy ships and a handful of helicopters to protect his unpopular ass while he's in Central America.
Where's Che Guevera when we need him?
Meanwhile in Texas, Tom DeLay's lawyer is still trying to cherry pick a judge--showing the world how huge DeLay's ego and sense of entitlement are.
His lawyer, Dick DeGuerin, is a real Texas legend.
He defended Branch Davidian leader David Koresh, the eccentric, cross-dressing millionaire Robert Durst (who killed and dismembered his 71-year-old neighbor and threw the chunks into Galveston Bay) and several other guilty-as-hell rich folks like Kay Bailey Hutchison. He's a Democrat but he'll eat a bug for money.
A recent poll done by ABC and the Washington Post shows Bush's approval rating circling the drain. Without Rove's full attention on damage control, Bush is finally in the glare of media klieg lights. He's fallen and he can't get up.
Did everyone catch yesterday's peek into Brownie's e-mail? Outrageous. People in Katrina's wake are dying and he's worried about what to wear on camera and getting a dog sitter. He's still on the payroll as a "consultant" at $13,000 a month. He must have photos of Chertoff fucking a sheep, that's all I can say.
What are your favorite stories of the week?

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi Finds Her Own Brass Ovaries

Today, Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) laid the following resolution on the Congress.
And guess who voted it down? The Republicans did.
They don't want the truth to be known, those conniving fucks.
Read what she said:

Privileged Resolution on Iraq

Whereas the war in Iraq has resulted in the loss of over 2,000 American lives and more than 15,000 wounded soldiers, and has cost the American people $190 billion dollars;

Whereas the basis for going to war was Iraq’s alleged possession of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) and the President made a series of misleading statements regarding threats posed by Iraq, but no weapons of mass destruction have been found;

Whereas the Republican Leadership and Committee Chairmen have repeatedly denied requests by Democratic Members to complete an investigation of pre-war intelligence on Iraq and have ignored the question of whether that intelligence was manipulated for political purposes;

Whereas the Vice President’s Chief of Staff Lewis Libby has been indicted on five counts of perjury, obstruction of justice, and making false statements in connection with the disclosure of the identity of a CIA operative, and that disclosure was part of a pattern of Administration efforts to discredit critics of the Iraq war;

Whereas four separate requests to hold hearings on the disclosure of the CIA operative were denied in the Government Reform Committee, and Resolutions of Inquiry were rejected in the Intelligence, Judiciary, Armed Services, and International Relations Committees;

Whereas the American people have spent $20.9 billion dollars to rebuild Iraq with much of the money squandered on no-bid contracts for Halliburton and other favored contractors;

Whereas Halliburton received a sole-source contract worth $7 billion to implement the restoration of Iraq’s oil infrastructure, and a senior Army Corps of Engineers official wrote that the sole-source contract was “coordinated with the Vice President’s office”;

Whereas despite these revelations, on July 22, 2004 the Republican-controlled Government Reform Committee voted to reject a subpoena by Democratic Members appropriately seeking information on communications of the Vice President’s office on awarding contracts to Halliburton;

Whereas prisoner abuses at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq, Guantanamo, and Afghanistan have seriously damaged the reputation of the United States, and increased the danger to U.S. personnel serving in Iraq and abroad;

Whereas the Republican Leadership and Committee Chairmen have denied requests for hearings, defeated resolutions of inquiry for information, and failed to aggressively pursue serious allegations, including how far up the chain of command the responsibility lies for the treatment of detainees;

Whereas the oversight of decisions and actions of other branches of government is an established and fundamental responsibility of Congress;

Whereas the Republican Leadership and the Chairmen of the committees of jurisdiction have failed to undertake meaningful, substantive investigations of any of the abuses pertaining to the Iraq war, including the manipulation of pre-war intelligence, the public release of a covert operative’s name, the role of the Vice President in Iraqi reconstruction, and the Abu Ghraib prisoner abuse scandal;

Therefore be it resolved that:

The House calls upon the Republican Leadership and Chairmen of the committees of jurisdiction to comply with their oversight responsibilities, demands they conduct a thorough investigation of abuses relating to the Iraq War, and condemns their refusal to conduct oversight of an Executive Branch controlled by the same party, which is in contradiction to the established rules of standing committees and Congressional precedent."

I repeat: the Republicans voted this down.
Why? Because they are hiding the truth.
They don't want the American public to know that the Iraq war was simply a money making scheme for Bush and his cronies.
They don't want the American public to hold them accountable.
They are liars and thieves.
And most of all- they are treasonous enemies of the state.
Official A, as in Asshole

According to last week's indictment of Scooter Libby, a person identified as "Official A" held conversations with reporters about Plame's identity as an undercover CIA operative, information that was classified.
News accounts subsequently confirmed that that official was Karl Rove. Under Executive Order 12958, signed by President Clinton in 1995, such a disclosure is grounds for, at a minimum, losing access to classified information..."

Why does Rove still have a top secret clearance?
If you or your spouse or your kid was an active, undercover CIA agent, would you feel comfortable with this treasonous bastard still having the keys to the CIA vault?

Why does the Bush Administration still think they are above the law?
Oh, For Chrissakes

Earle doesn't want regional judge to pick court
District attorney files motion to keep Schraub from selecting judge for DeLay case
By Laylan Copelin

Thursday, November 03, 2005

In an unprecedented move, Travis County District Attorney Ronnie Earle filed a motion Thursday asking a Republican presiding judge to remove himself from the decision about who will be the trial judge in the conspiracy case against U.S. Rep. Tom DeLay, R-Sugar Land.

Earle, a Democrat, argued that Judge B.B. Schraub, the presiding judge for the 3rd Administrative Judicial Region, should step aside for the same reasons that state District Judge Bob Perkins, a Democrat, was removed from hearing DeLay's case: Both had given political donations.

In the retaliatory motion, Earle wrote that he was using the same rationale that DeLay's lawyers used to get Perkins removed from the case. He said Schraub of Seguin, like Perkins of Austin, is a fair and impartial judge with a "sterling reputation" of honesty and integrity.

But Earle wrote that's "unfortunately no longer the standard in our state for the judiciary." He argued that Schraub could be personally biased for DeLay and against Earle.

DeLay's lawyers successfully had Perkins removed from the case Tuesday after arguing that Perkins' donations to Democratic causes and candidates, as well as the internet-based organization, gave the appearance that the Democratic judge might be biased against the former U.S. House majority leader.

Schraub appointed a retired Democratic judge, C.W. "Bud" Duncan of Bell County, who ordered Perkins to step aside after a four-hour hearing Tuesday. That left Schraub to find a replacement. He told the Associated Press he was looking at retired judges outside Travis County.

The issue of whether a judge outside or inside Travis County hears the case could have a bearing on an array of pre-trial issues, particularly whether DeLay could get a fair trial in the heavily Democratic county that he had split between three congressional districts in 2003 to try and defeat U.S. Rep. Lloyd Doggett, D-Austin.

Schraub declined to comment on the motion. DeLay's lead lawyer, Dick DeGuerin, was not immediately available for comment Thursday.

According to Earle's motion, Schraub has given $5,600 — roughly the same amount as Perkins — to Republican candidates, including President Bush, U.S. Sen. John Cornyn, Gov. Rick Perry, state Sen. Jeff Wentworth and state Rep. Ed Kuempel.

Earle wrote that the $1,500 to Perry was particularly troubling because Perry was a central player in DeLay's successful attempt in 2003 to have Texas congressional districts drawn to his liking. As governor, Perry called the special legislative sessions where the districts were redrawn to shift the balance of power in the congressional delegation from Democrats to Republicans.

The prosecutor also noted that Perry appointed Schraub as presiding judge and Schraub is up for re-appointment in January.

Earle suggested four options for breaking the partisan logjam over naming a judge to hear the DeLay case.

He asked Schraub to assign the case to another Travis County district judge; appoint a Travis County presiding judge to assign the case in the normal court rotation; to step aside voluntarily; or ask the governor to appoint the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals to hear Earle's motion to force Schraub to be removed..."

These imbeciles should put six Democrat and six GOP judges' names in a hat, then hire a retarded child to pick one. Then they should just go with the one the kid picks.
Texas justice is ridiculous. Just pick a fuckin' judge and let's get on with it.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Looks Like it's Rummy's Turn at the Pig Trough

First, Bush feathered the Saudi's nest by going after Saddam Hussein.
Then, he feathered Dick Cheney's nest by awarding Halliburton with billions in no-bid, secret contracts.
Then, he feathered Condi Rice's nest by jacking up gas prices.
Now, he's literally feathering Donald Rumsfeld's nest with faux chicken flu vaccine money:
My Morning Phone Call

Aide: "Good morning, Senator Harry Reid's Office."
Me: "Good morning, this is Karen Zipdrive calling from San Antonio."
Aide: "How may I help you?"
Me: "I just want to tell Senator Reid that he is my new hero. Its about time a Democrat in the Senate develops some serious balls."
Aide: "Why, thank you very much..."
Me: "If he wants to run for president, I'll collect money and campaign in Texas for him."
Aide: "That's very nice of you, I'll be sure to tell the Senator."
Me: "And tell him the harder he hits these Republican criminals, the better the American public will like it."
Aide: "I will, ma'am."
Me: "And tell him I'm praying for him, but not in a right-wing, religious nutjob way..."
Aide: (laughing) "Okay, I'll let him know."
Me: "Okay. You have a wonderful day."
Aide: "I'm already having one! Thanks, you too."
Me: "Bye." (click)

Call him yourself at (202) 224-3542
Then post the conversation to my comments. C'mon, it'll be fun.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Pssst! Bush? Dick? Your church is calling...
Bush's Church Calls for U.S. Troop Withdrawal

President Bush and Dick Cheney are facing more opposition about the war in Iraq - this time from their own church.
Last week the United Methodist Church passed a resolution calling for the U.S. to withdraw from Iraq.
The resolution read in part "As people of faith, we raise our voice in protest against the tragedy of the unjust war in Iraq.
Thousands of lives have been lost and hundreds of billions of dollars wasted in a war the United States initiated and should never have fought."
The church board also called on Congress to create and independent, bipartisan commission to investigate U.S. treatment of detainees overseas.
Democrats Reach Down, Find Their Balls

Democrats Force Senate into Closed Session over Iraq Data
The Associated Press
Tuesday 01 November 2005

Washington - Democrats forced the Republican-controlled Senate into an unusual closed session Tuesday, demanding answers about intelligence that led to the Iraq war.

In a speech on the Senate floor, Democratic leader Harry Reid said the American people and U.S. troops deserved to know the details of how the United States became engaged in the war, particularly in light of the indictment of I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, Vice President Dick Cheney's chief of staff.

Reid demanded the Senate go into closed session. With a second by Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., the public was ordered out of the chamber, the lights were dimmed, senators filed to their seats on the floor and the doors were closed. No vote is required in such circumstances.

"The Libby indictment provides a window into what this is really all about, how this administration manufactured and manipulated intelligence in order to sell the war in Iraq and attempted to destroy those who dared to challenge its actions," Reid said before the doors were closed.

Libby resigned Friday after being indicted on charges of obstruction of justice, making false statements and perjury in an investigation by a special prosecutor into the unauthorized leak of a CIA agent's identity.

Democrats contend that the unmasking of Valerie Plame was retribution for her husband, Joseph Wilson, publicly challenging the Bush administration's contention that Iraq was seeking to purchase uranium from Africa. That claim was part of the White House's justification for going to war.

Sen. Trent Lott, R-Miss., said Reid was making "some sort of stink about Scooter Libby and the CIA leak."

A former majority leader, Lott said a closed session is appropriate for such overarching matters as impeachment and chemical weapons - the two topics that last sent the senators into such sessions.

In addition, Lott said, Reid's move violated the Senate's tradition of courtesy and consent. But there was nothing in Senate rules enabling Republicans to thwart Reid's effort.

As Reid spoke, Majority Leader Bill Frist met in the back of the chamber with a half-dozen senior GOP senators, including Intelligence Committee Chairman Pat Roberts, who bore the brunt of Reid's criticism. Reid said Roberts reneged on a promise to fully investigate whether the administration exaggerated and manipulated intelligence leading up to the war.


Senator Harry Reid's Statement
Tuesday 01 November 2005

Sen. Reid just took the senate into closed session to discuss the body's failure to pursue 'phase two' of the senate intel investigation into the Iraq WMD intel failure.

Below the fold are his remarks, as prepared for delivery, before taking the senate into closed session.

"This past weekend, we witnessed the indictment of I. Lewis Libby, the Vice President's Chief of Staff and a senior Advisor to President Bush. Libby is the first sitting White House staffer to be indicted in 135 years.

"This indictment raises very serious charges. It asserts this Administration engaged in actions that both harmed our national security and are morally repugnant.

"The decision to place U.S. soldiers in harm's way is the most significant responsibility the Constitution invests in the Congress.

"The Libby indictment provides a window into what this is really about: how the Administration manufactured and manipulated intelligence in order to sell the war in Iraq and attempted to destroy those who dared to challenge its actions.

"As a result of its improper conduct, a cloud now hangs over this Administration. This cloud is further darkened by the Administration's mistakes in prisoner abuse scandal, Hurricane Katrina, and the cronyism and corruption in numerous agencies.

"And, unfortunately, it must be said that a cloud also hangs over this Republican-controlled Congress for its unwillingness to hold this Republican Administration accountable for its misdeeds on all of these issues.

"Let's take a look back at how we got here with respect to Iraq Mr. President. The record will show that within hours of the terrorist attacks on 9/11, senior officials in this Administration recognized these attacks could be used as a pretext to invade Iraq.

"The record will also show that in the months and years after 9/11, the Administration engaged in a pattern of manipulation of the facts and retribution against anyone who got in its way as it made the case for attacking Iraq.

"There are numerous examples of how the Administration misstated and manipulated the facts as it made the case for war. Administration statements on Saddam's alleged nuclear weapons capabilities and ties with Al Qaeda represent the best examples of how it consistently and repeatedly manipulated the facts.

"The American people were warned time and again by the President, the Vice President, and the current Secretary of State about Saddam's nuclear weapons capabilities. The Vice President said Iraq "has reconstituted its nuclear weapons." Playing upon the fears of Americans after September 11, these officials and others raised the specter that, left unchecked, Saddam could soon attack America with nuclear weapons.

"Obviously we know now their nuclear claims were wholly inaccurate. But more troubling is the fact that a lot of intelligence experts were telling the Administration then that its claims about Saddam's nuclear capabilities were false.

"The situation was very similar with respect to Saddam's links to Al Qaeda. The Vice President told the American people, "We know he's out trying once again to produce nuclear weapons and we know he has a longstanding relationship with various terrorist groups including the Al Qaeda organization."

"The Administration's assertions on this score have been totally discredited. But again, the Administration went ahead with these assertions in spite of the fact that the government's top experts did not agree with these claims.

"What has been the response of this Republican-controlled Congress to the Administration's manipulation of intelligence that led to this protracted war in Iraq? Basically nothing. Did the Republican-controlled Congress carry out its constitutional obligations to conduct oversight? No. Did it support our troops and their families by providing them the answers to many important questions? No. Did it even attempt to force this Administration to answer the most basic questions about its behavior? No.

"Unfortunately the unwillingness of the Republican-controlled Congress to exercise its oversight responsibilities is not limited to just Iraq. We see it with respect to the prisoner abuse scandal. We see it with respect to Katrina. And we see it with respect to the cronyism and corruption that permeates this Administration.

"Time and time again, this Republican-controlled Congress has consistently chosen to put its political interests ahead of our national security. They have repeatedly chosen to protect the Republican Administration rather than get to the bottom of what happened and why.

"There is also another disturbing pattern here, namely about how the Administration responded to those who challenged its assertions. Time and again this Administration has actively sought to attack and undercut those who dared to raise questions about its preferred course.

"For example, when General Shinseki indicated several hundred thousand troops would be needed in Iraq, his military career came to an end. When then OMB Director Larry Lindsay suggested the cost of this war would approach $200 billion, his career in the Administration came to an end. When U.N. Chief Weapons Inspector Hans Blix challenged conclusions about Saddam's WMD capabilities, the Administration pulled out his inspectors. When Nobel Prize winner and IAEA head Mohammed el-Baridei raised questions about the Administration's claims of Saddam's nuclear capabilities, the Administration attempted to remove him from his post. When Joe Wilson stated that there was no attempt by Saddam to acquire uranium from Niger, the Administration launched a vicious and coordinated campaign to demean and discredit him, going so far as to expose the fact that his wife worked as a CIA agent.

"Given this Administration's pattern of squashing those who challenge its misstatements, what has been the response of this Republican-controlled Congress? Again, absolutely nothing. And with their inactions, they provide political cover for this Administration at the same time they keep the truth from our troops who continue to make large sacrifices in Iraq.

"This behavior is unacceptable. The toll in Iraq is as staggering as it is solemn. More than 2,000 Americans have lost their lives. Over 90 Americans have paid the ultimate sacrifice this month alone - the fourth deadliest month since the war began. More than 15,000 have been wounded. More than 150,000 remain in harm's way. Enormous sacrifices have been and continue to be made.

"The troops and the American people have a right to expect answers and accountability worthy of that sacrifice. For example, 40 Senate Democrats wrote a substantive and detailed letter to the President asking four basic questions about the Administration's Iraq policy and received a four sentence answer in response. These Senators and the American people deserve better.

"They also deserve a searching and comprehensive investigation about how the Bush Administration brought this country to war. Key questions that need to be answered include:

How did the Bush Administration assemble its case for war against Iraq?

Who did Bush Administration officials listen to and who did they ignore?

How did senior Administration officials manipulate or manufacture intelligence presented to the Congress and the American people?

What was the role of the White House Iraq Group or WHIG, a group of senior White House officials tasked with marketing the war and taking down its critics?

How did the Administration coordinate its efforts to attack individuals who dared to challenge the Administration's assertions?

Why has the Administration failed to provide Congress with the documents that will shed light on their misconduct and misstatements?

"Unfortunately the Senate committee that should be taking the lead in providing these answers is not. Despite the fact that the chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee publicly committed to examine many of these questions more than one and a half years ago, he has chosen not to keep this commitment. Despite the fact that he restated that commitment earlier this year on national television, he has still done nothing.

"At this point, we can only conclude he will continue to put politics ahead of our national security. If he does anything at this point, I suspect he will play political games by producing an analysis that fails to answer any of these important questions. Instead, if history is any guide, this analysis will attempt to disperse and deflect blame away from the Administration.

"We demand that the Intelligence Committee and other committees in this body with jurisdiction over these matters carry out a full and complete investigation immediately as called for by Democrats in the committee's annual intelligence authorization report. Our troops and the American people have sacrificed too much. It is time this Republican-controlled Congress put the interests of the American people ahead of their own political interests."


Judge must step aside in DeLay case
Judge Bob Perkins has contributed to Democratic causes. Details to come on Austin American

Now DeLay gets to select the partisanship of his his judge?
And he gets by with it?
This is no longer America.
This is some sick, fucked up shit.
What Did Cheney Know, and When Did He Know It?
By Nicholas D. Kristof
The New York Times

Tuesday 01 November 2005

Come on, Mr. Vice President, tell us what happened.

A federal indictment charges that criminality swirled around your office, and it demeans this administration and the entire country when you hide in your bunker and refuse to say whether you knew of any such activities.

Five lawyers I've consulted all agree that there is no compelling legal reason why you should not discuss the situation. It's urgent that you clear the air by answering these questions in a televised news conference:

Did you ask Scooter Libby to undertake his inquiries about Ambassador Joseph Wilson? Mr. Libby made such a concerted push to get information, from both the State Department and the C.I.A., that I suspect that you prodded him. Is that right? If so, why?

Why did you independently ask the C.I.A. for information about the Wilsons? The indictment states that on June 12, 2003, you advised Mr. Libby that you had learned, apparently from the C.I.A., that Mr. Wilson's wife, Valerie, worked in the agency. So did you ask George Tenet, then the director, about Mr. and Mrs. Wilson? Did you review the related documents that the C.I.A. faxed to your office?

Did you know that Mrs. Wilson was a covert officer? The indictment states that you knew she worked in the C.I.A.'s counterproliferation division. You would think that anyone as steeped in intelligence issues as you are would know that meant she worked in the Directorate of Operations and was perhaps a spook's spook.

Did you advise Mr. Libby to leak information about Mrs. Wilson's work in the C.I.A. to journalists? Mr. Libby flew with you on Air Force Two on July 12, 2003, and according to the indictment, one of the issues Mr. Libby discussed onboard the plane (with you?) was how to deal with the news media. Within hours, the indictment charges, Mr. Libby told two reporters that Mrs. Wilson worked in the agency.

When Mr. Libby made his statements in the inquiry - allegedly committing perjury - were you aware of what he was saying? Mr. Libby rode to work with you almost every morning, but this topic never came up?

Was Mr. Libby fearful of disclosing something about your behavior in the summer of 2003? Mr. Libby is renowned for his caution, yet he is alleged to have suddenly embarked upon a high-risk campaign of leaks and lies. If he did do that, was it a misguided attempt to protect you? The alleged lies shielded you by indicating that the information you gave him about Mrs. Wilson instead came from reporters.

Would the truth have been so potentially damaging to your position that Mr. Libby chose perjury instead?

My guess is that there was no malevolent conspiracy to "out" Mrs. Wilson. Rather, my hunch is that you and Mr. Libby were enraged at what you perceived as false suggestions that you had been personally responsible for sending Mr. Wilson to Niger and had then ignored his findings.

I'm speculating that you may have thought that you were just knocking down unfair exaggerations and rumors - and then Mrs. Wilson's identity was disclosed to suggest that she was more responsible for sending him to Niger than you were.

And once a criminal investigation began, perhaps Mr. Libby didn't want to acknowledge that you were knee-deep in actions that at a minimum looked petty and unseemly.

Whatever happened, Mr. Vice President, the American public deserves some reassurance. If you had nothing to do with any of this, then say so. But don't cower behind your lawyers. As it is, you're pleading "no contest" in the court of public opinion, and that's painful for all of us who want to believe in the integrity of our government.

When Richard Nixon was a candidate for vice president and embroiled in scandal, he addressed the charges in his Checkers speech: "The best and only answer to a smear or to an honest misunderstanding of the facts is to tell the truth." (Mr. Vice President, any time a columnist quotes Nixon to you in an exhortation to be honest, you're in trouble.)

Even when Spiro Agnew was embroiled in a criminal investigation, he tried to explain himself, repeatedly. Do you really want to be less forthcoming than Dick Nixon and Spiro Agnew?

We don't need to try to turn this into Watergate, and we don't need gloating from the Democrats. But we do need straight talk from you. The indictment has left a cloud that impedes governing, and if we're to move on, we need you to clear the air.

So, Mr. Cheney, tell us what happened. If you're afraid to say what you knew, and when you knew it, then you should resign.