Monday, October 31, 2005

If it's secret how come I know it?

I've watched all the Sunday morning talk shows. I've read all the newspaper accounts and blogs. I've listened to talk radio. I've even read the entire 22-page indictment against I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby. Want to know how this boils down?

The apologists argue for revealing classified information. They support publicly identifying CIA covert agents. Non-official cover agents at that and not those protected with diplomatic immunity. They are in favor of perjury, lying to FBI agents and obstructing justice. They say the Democrats are responsible. They are against national security. They love losing a national intelligence asset in the area of non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. They poo-poo how this undermines CIA's ability to recruit informants and agents. They deny that the CIA and not the Democrats demanded a investigation. They refuse to admit that it wasn't a foreign government that exposed Valerie Plame it was our own. They dismiss the obvious involvement of the Vice President and Karl Rove in the intentional outing of a political critic's wife. They say it's not really a crime or if it is it's merely a technicality. They say there was no underlying crime charged so this indictment is wrong. As if what Monica did to Bill in the Oval Office was a crime. (Unless she did it badly which really is a crime.) They know that "Scooter" won't do any jail time since a pardon will happen. They make me sick.

There are not two sides to this story. This was treason. If people can't see the need for our government ruthlessly protect rather than publicly expose a CIA undercover operative then stop reading now. It's pointless. It's like saying jaywalking and murder are both crimes. But this wasn't some accidental mis-remembering about an unintentional release of classified information. It was a conspiracy to out Valerie Plame. Don't believe me? Read the indictment carefully. The White House and Republicans should send Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald a nice Christmas gift because based on his indictments and press conference it's clear he was overly cautious in his use of criminal prosecution. What he basically said was "I indicted only because I was dared to do it by this in your face lying guy "Scooter." If he wanted to he could have charged others. He didn't and most likely won't. Rove must feel pretty untouchable at this point after a lifetime of practicing political black arts.

All this has taught the nest of vipers at 1600 Pennsylvania is that you can go after anyone in America, even a CIA non-official cover secret agent and get away with it. It has taught me that America deserves better from the people running the government and we aren't going to get it anytime soon. It probably also taught alleged spy Leandro Aragoncillo, a U.S. Marine who worked for the staff of the Vice President Cheney that if you are going to disclose classified information it's better to be the Vice President's chief of staff rather than a Marine.

Friday, October 28, 2005

Men of Dishonor

The wait is over. A five-count indictment has been handed down, physically it's handed up, against the Vice President's Chief of Staff Lewis "Scooter" Libby. Two counts of making false statements, two counts of perjury and one count of obstruction of justice. Libby has already resigned. He faces 30 years in prison. He won't spend a night there. W's Deputy Chief of Staff and "brain" Karl Rove has not been indicted but remains under "legal jeopardy" and while he may escape indictment he and Libby haven't escaped being men of dishonor.

It's always stunning to me that people such as Rove and Libby who had found themselves in positions of such power act as if the rules don't apply to them. I guess that's how they got there in the first place. It is always said we are a nation of laws and not men but the Plame outing shows that we are really a nation of men. Men of dishonor. Men who picked up phones and "shopped" to reporters the undercover identity of a CIA operative. If Joe Wilson had come back and found that Iraq was trying to buy uranium ore would they have outed his wife?

While no indictment has been handed down based upon the 1982 Identities Act, well, maybe that's because the act was poorly written. Victoria Toensing, a former federal prosecutor, part author of the 1982 act, and current insufferable cable talking head smirks and smiles and says the law wasn't broken. If that's true then something is wrong with the 1982 law if White House officials can call reporters and out CIA employees. I wouldn't be so proud Victoria if it is basically impossible to violate the act.

Perjury, false statements and obstruction. Now the question is why? Why lie about where you learned Valerie Plame's name? Why create false testimony to mis-lead the grand jury away from your source? The reason is because Libby's source was Vice President Cheney and he was protecting him because that's what good little soldiers do. Burt Reynolds said it best in "The Longest Yard." "Your most important job," he told his football teammates, "is to protect me, your quarterback." W, your quarterback. Cheney, your quarterback. Sums it up nicely.

Now we'll have either a plea, a trial or a pardon. I'm still betting on a pardon. It makes the most sense. Look for it around Christmas Eve. Whatever happens this case is another example of why people don't have faith in government. When you are young you think the people running the country are good, decent, hard working and honorable. When you get a little older you see it's about exercising power. I mean what's the point of having power if you can't use it? It's like having a Ferrari and never going over 35! It's about reaching out for political revenge because you can. It's about covering up for your boss because you know you either won't get caught, won't get indicted or will get a pardon if you run afoul of a true man of honor like Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald. And then it's about your book deal, your lobbying contracts and your own FOX News talk show.

Merry Fitzmas. Bah. Humbug.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Fitzmas Eve

It's pretty clear indictments have been handed down or will be finalized friday and then made public. The guessing is who and how many. Blog reports about the special prosecutor signing a lease for more office space doesn't bode well for the targets of his investigation. Whoever gets indicted it comes back to the same thing - these guys never learn.

The cover-up is always worse than the underlying "crime" which according to all the talking head "experts" on the right there was no crime. They say there was no violation of the 1982 law regarding disclosure of covert agents' identities. Well if that's the case then why did anyone lie before the grand jury? If there was no crime then go in there and say, "yeah, I did it. Who cares?" These guys always think they are the smartest in the room and it always gets them in trouble.

The real crime is that they knew what they were doing in one respect. They knew that lying and delaying this investigation until after the 2004 elections removed any chance for losing votes. That's all they are interested in. Win the next election. Period.

The other crime is that even if you argue this was a policy difference that should be resolved at the ballot box the policy was based upon fraudulent intelligence which was sold propaganda style to Congress and the nation. There was no way to honestly debate the policy since the policy was built on a classified mirage. Only when Joe Wilson went public with a glimpse at the mirage did the vipers in the White House and perhaps elsewhere go into revenge mode and outed his CIA undercover wife. Now they are reaping what they sowed. Had the simply ignored Wilson no special prosecutor would be handing down indictments and peeling back the onion layers on the mirage that sent this nation to war. They never learn.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Earthquake in Kansas

Did anyone notice the earthquake in Kansas on Tuesday? I'm not talking about a tremor I'm talking about a 9.0 on the Richter scale. What am I talking about?

Paul Morrison, a solid lifelong Republican who has been the Johnson County district attorney for almost 17 years, will switch parties and run in 2006 as a DEMOCRAT to unseat Republican Phill (yes, two "L"s) Kline as the Kansas Attorney General. In 2002, Kline won against a no-name Democrat (sorry Chris Biggs) by around 4,000 votes out of over 800,000 votes. This time it's probably a sure thing Kline will lose. This is big news not only for Kansas, many shocked people upon hearing the news didn't believe it at first, but for the country as well.

Morrison is a tough as nails prosecutor born in Dodge City and grew up in western Kansas. He has a 98% conviction rate and has personally tried over 100 difficult criminal cases many of them murder trials. Of course, within minutes of his announcement, Kline issued a statement suggesting Morrison was "soft on crime."

Why is Morrison switching parties and challenging Republican Attorney General Phill Kline? The public line is it was time to put the office of attorney general in the hands of a prosecutor and not a politician. Morrison said, “As attorney general, I’ll insist we get that office back to the basics: safety, security, and the kind of independent approach Kansans ought to be able to expect from the state’s chief law enforcement officer.” Morrison said he believed the focus of the Democratic Party in Kansas was better on the issue of public safety “and I feel most comfortable with it.”

Read between the lines and the real reason is probably that Phill Kline has been trying to create a religious theocracy in Kansas and that he and the Republican Party had gone too far for Morrison. Kline, as attorney general, a staunch opponent of abortion, has demanded the complete unedited medical records of nearly 90 woman and girls who had late-term abortions, saying he needs the material to investigate crimes. The clinics argued that unless the Kansas Supreme Court intervenes, women who obtained abortions could find government agents knocking at their door. The records sought the patients' "sexual history, birth control practices, prior medical and personal history, notes from the physical examinations, and a number of other things that the clinics contend are protected by the patient-physician privilege."

In 2003, Kline began pushing to require health care professionals to report underage sexual activity. Kline contends state law requires such reporting, but a federal judge blocked him. The case has yet to be resolved.

Currently, the Democratic Governor of Kansas, Kathleen Sebelius is seeking the dismissal of a lawsuit filed by Attorney General Phill Kline against state-financed abortions for Medicaid recipients, something the law requires. Matt All, the governor's legal counsel, said federal law requires states to pay for abortions of Medicaid recipients in cases of rape or incest, or to protect the life of the mother. Medicaid provides health care for poor and disabled people. "If we fail to do this, one of the consequences would be the state would have to pull out of the Medicaid program," All said. "We are following the law as Congress dictates to us and are just trying to be good stewards of state dollars."

Another gem from Kline's religious jihad in Kansas, after a federal judge in Georgia recently ordered the removal of stickers in biology textbooks telling students that "evolution is a theory, not a fact," Kline told conservative members of the Kansas Board of Education that he would back them if they put similar stickers on textbooks — a move the board had not even considered when the attorney general brought it up. Kline is vague on how he would overcome the legal objections raised by the Georgia judge, but he insists he could.

This may be the beginning of moderate Republicans realizing the social conservatives in their party have gone too far promoting and forcing their religious beliefs on the electorate. They have a choice of switching parties or simply voting Democratic because the Republican party, now firmly in control by religious conservatives, has gone too far for their comfort.

Believe me this is a huge shock for Kansas and Morrison is a name you'll hear for a long time. Let's just hope this earthquake is contagious.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Indictments - One for you, One for you...

The indictments are being printed up and its going to be bad. Bad for the people involved and bad for the country. When the Vice President and his office should have been worried about Osama Bin Laden they were obsessed with Joe Wilson. That was the best use of their time and their awesome responsibilities apparently. Track Wilson and everything he did and said, out his wife, smear his service to the country and tell reporters he and his wife are "fair game." Bullies and cowards. Sickening.

So now the end game is here and multiple indictments will be handed down. The "law and order" Republicans are already saying perjury and obstruction of justice are "technicalities" and that if there is no indictment for actually leaking Valerie Plame's name then no crime should be charged. That is to say the cover-up and perjury are secondary crimes and they wouldn't be in this jeopardy but for the underlying crime which they say there is none. Wonder how they would feel about giving a posthumous pardon to Al Capone since he was sent to his death in prison for tax evasion and not murder.

While the news media and blogosphere wait impatiently for news of indictments (I personally keep hitting my "refresh" button on my internet browser at least once a second) it truly is sad for the country. What a waste of time, money, energy and criminal prosecution. Don't get me wrong. Perjury and obstruction of justice are serious crimes. The only way the legal system can function is if the people in it, including judges, lawyers and witnesses, are truthful. What is sad is that the people in positions of power spend most of their time figuring out ways to win politically and deem that an achievement rather than solving problems facing America which would be a real achievement. Health care, gas prices, energy policy, counter-terrorism, nuclear proliferation are all areas where "Scooter" Libby (I mean really, "Scooter?" Do you have faith in a grown man proudly calling himself "Scooter?") could have directed his attention. Nope. Compiling a dossier on Joe Wilson's television appearances and leaking CIA covert operatives to news reporters were a better use of government resources and his time. All these pinheads should be indicted for felony stupidity. But I'll be satisfied with perjury and obstruction charges, the very same charges Bill Clinton was impeached for but found not guilty of in the Senate. I don't think these bullies and cowards will be so lucky.

Republicans - Soft on crime, unless you're not in the GOP.

Monday, October 24, 2005

Two dinners and Al Franken

On Friday, October 21, I had two dinners and met Al Franken. Or he met me depending on important you think I am. Here's what happened.

I had planned on a 6:00 pm dinner with Cranky's Wife and cranky jr. at Rosebud an Italian restaurant that serves very large portions. On my way to the restaurant I got a call from a good friend who asked if I would like to go with him to a small fund raiser at Maggiano's, another Italian restaurant, at 7:30 pm where Al Franken would be speaking. I said sure if you can get us in I'd love to tag along. Of course I get a call just before I met the cranky family that yes, we could get in to the dinner with Franken.

Now I love Cranky's Wife and cranky jr. but I've met them before but never Al Franken. So I said I would meet cranky's friend for dinner and Franken at 7:30 pm. Now the Curmudgeon had a problem. I guess I'll just add it to the list. I needed to eat something at 6:00 pm, to be polite, and then run out on my cranky family, to not be polite, which would only make them more cranky. Then I needed to drive home, shave, change into some business casual outfit and drive to Maggiano's. I ate. I ran. I hit every red light on my way home and a driver who wouldn't turn right on red all of which made me more cranky. I ran into the house shaved and changed and ran out again like fugitive on the run and drove to meet Al Franken.

I parked in the mall lot and quickly found out I had parked the farthest point away from Maggiano's. To late to go back I ran the length of the mall and made it in time to mingle with Franken.

Franken is probably a lock to run for U.S. Senate in 2008 against Sen. Norm Coleman (R-MN) and is moving back to Minnesota in January, 2006. For over a year he has hosted a talk radio show on Air America Radio methodically, factually and humorously dismantling the lies of the Republicans, The White House and the right-wing in general. He told stories from his five USO tours to Iraq and how MREs go down ok but, just like W, they don't have an "exit strategy" if know what I mean. He choked up talking about his dad who died 12 years ago and was angry and sad about the soldiers dying and getting wounded in Iraq who are the same age as his kids. He is as outraged at the corruption and cronyism in the Republican party and White House that has led, through sheer greed and incompetence, wholesale theft and needless deaths. He also cracked a joke about Gov. Rod Blagojevich's last name actually meaning "son of a boring Gentile." Overall he is a very funny, knowledgeable and sincere speaker is probably a favorite to win a senate seat in 2008. We need more people like him in Congress and less "human tranquilizers" there.

After eating my second Italian meal of the evening, the Curmudgeon sucked up to Franken one last time before he slowly walked about four blocks to his car and drove home. Two Italian dinners and Al Franken. Not a bad way to spend a friday night.

P.S. Rosebud is better.

Friday, October 21, 2005

What's left of your rights?

First they took away the rights of the weakest and the poorest of people - those filing for bankruptcy. Then they give blanket immunity to the gun sellers and manufacturers. Then they pass a legal shield for the food industry. Hear that giant sucking sound? It's your rights.

The Republicans like to say they are enacting their agenda. As I wish I had said, but Bill Maher beat me to it, stop calling it an agenda. It's not an agenda, it's a collection of laws that your contributors paid for. Amen.

You may like the bills passed, (it's not "may or may not" just like it's not "whether or not") but the overreaching by this Congress is breathtaking. Laws are being passed solely because they were bought and paid for. What is even more shameful is the Democratic support these bills are getting. It gives the Republicans cover. They can say, "See, it's bi-partisan!" Shame on the Democrats. People are working hard going door-to-door for them (I mean other people, not me of course my feet are too delicate) and this is how they vote? Shameful.

And the Democrats wonder why people don't understand what they stand for as a party? What is the narrative of the brand? Do you know? What springs to mind when you say Democrat? Is that what you want to be associated with? Is that who you want to wait in line for hours to vote for?

I hope there are a bunch of youngsters reading this blog. I'm going to save you from a lifetime of heartbreak. Don't believe in people. Believe in yourself. People have great capacity to disappoint you. I expect it from Republicans. I shouldn't have to with Democrats.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

I can't recall

Isn't it interesting that people who are routinely referred to as brilliant suddenly become Forrest Gump when it comes to remembering things in front of a grand jury? Judith "She Devil" Miller told the Traitor-gate grand jury she can't recall who her source was for the name "Valerie Plame" which she incorrectly wrote down as "Valerie Flame." If you read her embarrassing narrative last Sunday you'll see all the things she can't recall. Here's the guts of her convenient lack of memory:

"Mr. Fitzgerald asked me about another entry in my notebook, where I had written the words "Valerie Flame," clearly a reference to Ms. Plame. Mr. Fitzgerald wanted to know whether the entry was based on my conversations with Mr. Libby. I said I didn't think so. I said I believed the information came from another source, whom I could not recall.

Mr. Fitzgerald asked if I could recall discussing the Wilson-Plame connection with other sources. I said I had, though I could not recall any by name or when those conversations occurred."

Karl Rove, a.k.a. "Bush's Brain" also has a convenient lack of memory. For a guy who knows every county and precinct voting result in America since George Washington it's pure farce at this point.

White House adviser Karl Rove told the grand jury in the CIA leak case that I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, Vice President Cheney's chief of staff, may have told him that CIA operative Valerie Plame worked for the intelligence agency before her identity was revealed, a source familiar with Rove's account said yesterday.

In a talk that took place in the days before Plame's CIA employment was revealed in 2003, Rove and Libby discussed conversations they had had with reporters in which Plame and her marriage to Iraq war critic Joseph C. Wilson IV were raised, the source said. Rove told the grand jury the talk was confined to information the two men heard from reporters, the source said.

Rove has also testified that he also heard about Plame from someone else outside the White House, but could not recall who.

The account is the first time a person familiar with Rove's testimony has provided clues about where the deputy chief of staff learned about Plame, and confirmed that Rove and Libby were involved in a conversation about her before her identity became public. The disclosure seemed to further undermine the White House's contention early in the case that neither man was in any way involved in unmasking Plame.

I'm sure they'll all recall when they get pardoned.

BONUS POSTING: There is some good news today especially for golfers like me. Honey, about that new kitchen...

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

I've got good news and bad news...

The good news is that a number of people will be indicted by special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald. It's pretty clear that this is going to be train wreck for the White House and Republicans. Use common sense. It's been a thorough two-year investigation involving tossing Judy Miller in jail for 85 days and calling Karl Rove back before the grand jury four times. Add to that Fitzgerald's office has said that indictments, if any, will be announced in Washington D.C. and not in his home base of Chicago. Now his office says it will not issue a public report, an alternative to indictments people expected if no criminal charges were filed. Throw on top of that rumors on reasonable blogs and magazines that John Hannah, a mid-level national security aide for Vice President Cheney received a "target letter" (meaning an indictment was a sure thing) has now flipped and is cooperating with the special prosecutor.

The speculation on blog sites is red hot. One source claims he has info that National Security Advisor Stephen Hadley will be indicted. Others say as many as 22 people are facing criminal charges. Rawstory muses that Cheney may resign. Wow. It's starting to look a lot like Fitz-mas!

Now the bad news...

Even if Rove and Libby and Hadley and Matalin and Cheney and Hannah and god knows who else get indicted, W will pardon them. Yes, read it again. Read it a third time. W will pardon everyone involved. There it is. It makes sense now huh? Feeling deflated? The only question is whether W will pardon them before or after the 2006 mid-term elections.

Did you really think these people aren't above the law? Rove has been knifing people for decades. Only this time they did it someone that legally that can't mess with - an undercover CIA operative. But no matter. They always have an out. W will give it them.

The conventional wisdom will be he will pardon them after the 2006 elections. But the Curmudgeon's prediction is that W pardons everyone on Saturday, December 24, 2005, a.k.a. Christmas Eve in the spirit of Christ-like forgiveness. Then it will be a story for a couple of days - maybe even the week just before New Years Day and then that's it. The public will go back to watching the Superbowl and thinking about spring training and wonder what all the fuss was about. Republicans will say Fitzgerald was an out of control prosecutor and W righted a terrible wrong. That W had the courage to take the heat for standing up to the "criminalization of politics" and that this proves why the special prosecutor law should never be renewed.

You think you live in a democracy where no man is above the law? I have some additional bad news for you -- there is no tooth fairy, Easter Bunny or Santa. But have faith. There is something to believe in. A Curmudgeon to explain what you think you already know.

Merry Fitz-mas. Bah. Humbug.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Faith-based family planning

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. -- Michelle Duggar, 39, just delivered her 16th child, and she's already thinking about doing it again. The baby's father, Jim Bob Duggar, 40, a former state representative, said Wednesday that mother and child were doing well. The count is now 10 boys and 6 girls. They both want more children.

"We both just love children and we consider each a blessing from the Lord. I have asked Michelle if she wants more and she said yes, if the Lord wants to give us some she will accept them," he said in a telephone interview. All the children are home schooled.

The Discovery Health Channel filmed Johannah's birth and plans to air a show about the family in May. They also have a website. The Lord is apparently also in favor of publicity and self-promotion.

A memorable story from Mom:

"It was 1:00 AM in the morning as I stood folding laundry with tears streaming down my cheeks. Feelings of being overwhelmed flooded my mind. I cried aloud, ”LORD I NEED YOUR HELP, I can’t do it all! I feel so inadequate! Diapers, dishes, laundry, meals, cleanup, school lessons, baths, hugs, kisses, correction…” My list seemed to go on and on. Then it was as if a still small voice said, ”Michelle, it’s easy to praise ME when things are going good, but are you willing to praise ME now?” Immediately the scripture that says, “Offer up a sacrifice of praise”, came to mind. I said, “OK Lord, I will praise you even now! It really is a sacrifice!” So through the tears I began to sing, “The joy of the Lord is my strength”. In my heart there was a release as if a burden had been lifted. I finished the laundry at 2 AM and went to bed."

And from Dad:

"When Michelle and I first married, we thought we might have one or two children. Four years into to marriage, we had our first child. After that, Michelle went back on the birth control pill. She ended up getting pregnant while on the pill and had a miscarriage. We were so grieved. We did not know that sometimes the pill allows you to get pregnant but then causes a miscarriage. We thought we could set our own timetable for having children, for example- when we were ‘financially able,’ or when we ‘had all our ducks in a row.’ We read in the Bible that God says that children are a blessing and a reward from Him (Psalms 127:1-5). We had been rejecting His gifts. At that point, we prayed and asked God to forgive us and we gave Him this area of our lives."

Their children include two sets of twins, and each child has a name beginning with the letter "J": Joshua, 17; John David, 15; Janna, 15; Jill, 14; Jessa, 12; Jinger, 11; Joseph, 10; Josiah, 9; Joy-Anna, 8; Jeremiah, 6; Jedidiah, 6; Jason, 5; James, 4; Justin, 2; Jackson Levi, 1; and now Johannah.

Jim Bob Duggar, who sells real estate, previously lost his bid for the U.S. Senate. The U.S. SENATE! He said he expects to run for the state Senate next year but isn't ready to make a formal announcement.

The Lord apparently was Duggar's silent partner in a few lucrative real estate deals and a biblical financial freedom guru whom Duggar promotes on his website says Romans 13:8 "owe no man anything but love" argues against debt of any kind. Since Cheney thinks deficits don't matter he must have a different version of the good book.

The new Republican agenda? No birth control and no schools? How about no science, no independent judiciary, no checks and balances, no right to privacy, no taxes, no disaster assistance, no health care for children, no clean air, no environmental protection, no endangered species list, no liability for gun manufacturers, no bankruptcy protection for average people and no social security. It's truly the party of "No."

Monday, October 17, 2005

Judith Miller should burn in hell

I'm not a particularly religious person but I do so hope there is a hell. If there is Judith Miller, I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby and Karl Rove should be roomies there. I don't know if anyone is going to be indicted, (my guess is yes to Rove and Libby), but even if special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald takes no action, damage has been done not only to faith in the federal government but to The New York Times as well.

Judith Miller's first-person account of her time before the grand jury is quite simply a joke. Not only does it reveal how in bed she is with this administration (and perhaps with a former Defense Secretary) but how she either has sold her soul to the devil or is the devil herself. Her account is filled with "I believed I may have said but am not sure," "I thought, I might have said" "I cannot recall" etc. etc. It's total nonsense given clearly to protect her bosses Libby and Rove. She also reveals that she was given a security clearance while embedded in Iraq with the military. Excuse me? A security clearance? Since when do reporters get security clearances?

But the single most absurd part of her tale is that while she wrote down the name "Valerie Flame" instead of "Valerie Plame" in her notebook (which she just recently discovered) she claims she can't recall who was her source for the name! We know it was given to her orally rather than having read it somewhere as she mis-heard the proper name. Secondly, it appears in the notebook she used to interview Libby but she can't recall if he gave it to her. This of course was days before Robert Novak wrote his outing piece on Joe Wilson and shortly thereafter all hell broke loose in the press. But this 30 year veteran with the NYT and Pulitzer Prize winner can't recall her source? This is not some trivial detail like what she was wearing at the time but who outed an non-official cover, that is a secret agent, with the CIA. It is impossible to believe. Guess she's hoping for a Medal of Freedom.

Miller's personal account is a disgrace revealing how bad it is inside the beltway. First of all, what business does Rove and Libby have talking to a reporter about CIA employees on matters of national security? Don't they have better things to do with their time? How does a reporter get a security clearance? One of the Libby-Miller meetings was over a two hour breakfast at the St. Regis Hotel in Washington. So while "Scooter" and Judy were munching on $10.00 pieces of wheat toast and $8.00 glasses of orange juice, which you and I probably paid for, the vice president's chief of staff was revealing classified information to a reporter. It's actually humorous that what Libby and Rove claim they were objecting to was nepotism and cronyism in who selected Joe Wilson to go to Niger. And Miller was willing to deceive her readers by agreeing to refer to Libby, the chief of staff for Cheney as "a former Hill staffer" rather than a "senior administration official" since he had worked on the Capitol Hill. He was also former college school student but "according to a former college student" doesn't sound as important. The disgraceful account of her grand jury testimony goes on and on. These people are always the first to tell you how smart they are and how they remember everything and yet under oath they can't recall anything. It's sickening. Miller is obviously protecting Libby and god knows who else. Which raises another question, if she can't recall her source then why did she sit in jail for 85 days? If Libby didn't reveal classified information then why question his waiver to testify? No crime committed right Judy and a waiver to clear things up go testify. The real reasons are probably worse than we can imagine. Unfortunately this time the Rove smear machine went after someone, Plame, whom the law says you can't go after.

In any event, it makes me want to cancel my subscription to the NYT but I can't get home delivery of The Washington Post. I just hope Judy Miller isn't allowed to darken the doorstep of a once great newspaper.

Friday, October 14, 2005

Confirm Harriet Miers

The "pit bull in size 6 shoes" who is also a groupie for W, calling him "cool" and "the most brilliant person ever" should be confirmed with Democratic support. Why? What is the alternative?

Right now the right wingnuts are dismayed, depressed and demoralized. Perfect. Democrats supporting Miers should inch them even closer to civil war. And what really is the alternative? If Miers is forced to withdraw, not voted out of the Senate Judiciary Committee or confirmed by the Senate, then the next nominee will be exponentially worse. It will be someone like Janice Rogers Brown who will get overwhelming Republican support because she is in fact insane, but insane in a right-wingnut way.

The fact is W gets to nominate judges and since Democrats don't control the Senate he could appoint Barney, his dog (or the purple dinosaur for that matter), to the bench and probably get it approved. Caligula appointed his horse to the Roman Senate why not a dog on the court? And filibuster? We lost that one this summer. If you think W, Cheney, Frist and DeLay wouldn't change the rules for ending filibusters you haven't been paying attention to how many other rules they've changed to game the system.

Miers is a lackey, a hack, a groupie, a crony and yes, even a detailed oriented hard working corporate lawyer. To say she is the most qualified person in America to be nominated is simply to prove that words have no meaning anymore. But a vacancy has to be filled and it can get filled by Miers or someone worse. Much, much worse. At least with her there is a chance she's not as bad as we think. With someone else there will be no chance. And there is the added benefit of letting the Republicans eat their own. Marvelous.

In the meantime we can sit back and have fun watching the self-righteous hypocrites on the right claim she is a legal lightweight, (such elitism!), or that she doesn't have enough experience for the job (unlike Michael Brown) or that maybe they'll vote against her in committee. (whatever happened to an up or down vote on the floor?). It would be hilarious if the Republicans actually filibustered their own president's nominee.

So I'm in favor of Miers simply because I know how bad the Court of Appeals nominees have been under W and Miers is the lesser of many evils just waiting to get nominated.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Yom Curmudgeon

On this day of atonement I'm waiting for my call from W to atone for his sins of the past year. A simply apology would suffice. But wait. He's not Jewish and dosn't think he ever made a mistake. Even Ken Jennings made a mistake. Sounds more like the Pope. No wonder it feels more and more like a corrupt theoracy around here.

And if you haven't received my atonement call yet, just keep waiting by the phone.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

I'm bored

There is just nothing in the news today. Zippo. Nada. I have surfed the entire internet and believe me there is nothing interesting out there today. If you haven't tried to find something to read yet, don't bother.

Oh sure, there is the ongoing whispers about Traitorgate and whether Karl Rove, "Scooter" Libby and perhaps even Darth Cheney will get indicted. I guess that's interesting but I'll wait for the news at this point. Even if indictments happen it won't be a happy day since it will be a sad day for democracy. Government should be about what it can do for people not what it can do to people. There are just no standards anymore. Whoever is in power - anything goes. Very sad.

Syria's interior minister, Ghazi Kanaan, committed suicide. Allegedly. He was in charge of military intelligence in neighboring Lebanon and was likely behind the assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri, a staunch opponent of Syria's occupation of Lebanon. Too bad Kanaan didn't live here then he'd probably get a book deal with Regency Publishing, a grant from Richard Mellon Scaife and a job as senior intelligence analyst with Faux News. I say the earth is that much lighter today.

Nothing to read in the New York Time today except Thomas Friedman. Even Maureen Dowd was unreadable which is a first for her.

Bird flu is going to kill us all until we move on to figure out the marital status of Nick and Jessica. Hillary is running in '08. So is Kerry. Gore is a maybe then no. Who cares. Wake me up when its over.

Mitt Romney, governor of Massachusetts says the terrorists want to take down our government and replace it with a theocracy. Faith-based science, intelligent design, divine inspiration to invade countries? Too late.

No news. Nothing to read. Can't do the Wednesday New York Times crossword or hard Sudoku puzzle and my back hurts from playing golf, after two months off, on a cold day while trying to out drive Tiger Woods. I need a vacation. Any suggestions? And don't recommend "Hell." I'm already there.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

The Curmudgeon meets political royalty!!!

The Curmudgeon met Vice President, uh, um, Senator Joseph Lieberman (D-CT) last night at a small gathering of old friends and supporters in a very nice suburb of Chicago. It must have been a wayward invitation that landed in the lap of the Curmudgeon but I wasn't going to ask any questions. Perhaps my status as an "A-list political blogger" preceded me or they just got the address wrong. Either way, I cleaned up nicely and pretended I had more in common with his supporters than with the valet parkers. I think I succeeded.

Loyal readers of the Curmudgeon will remember my brushes with greatness when I hung out with Sen. Bill Nelson and Rep. Robert Wexler. After Sen. Lieberman, I have only 98 to go in the senate.

Sen. Lieberman is too nice and too reasonable to be in the U.S. Senate but thank god he's there. He is widely regarded as the most likeable and respected Democrat in the Senate by Republicans and Democrats alike and its easy to see why. He is not without a smile for long and once you're a friend, you're a friend for life. His friendly disposition even put a brief smile on the Curmudgeon's face.

Lieberman has been in the Senate since 1988 after spending ten years as a Connecticut state senator and six as state attorney general. He has been for regime change in Iraq since before W knew were Iraq was on a map. He is also considered a centrist or liberal "hawk" and some Democrats don't like it when he works across the aisle with Republicans to get things done like when he joined in the "gang of 14" that brokered a deal on judicial filibusters this past summer. Lieberman's approach is correct. Simply being against W and the Republicans isn't going to get Democrats votes with independents. W's job approval numbers may be as low as my blog readership but that doesn't mean the Democrats numbers are rising. Supporting Iraqi regime change, the military including veterans and retirees, Israel, reproductive rights, access to health care, labor and strongly opposing terrorism and Bush tax cuts for the wealthy are not just good politics, they're good policy. Democrats should spend more time listening to Lieberman rather than Howard Dean.

There is a fight inside the party between the liberal "Dean" wing of the Democratic party and the liberal "hawk" wing of the party represented by Sen. Lieberman. For the good of the party, the country and the world, let's hope Lieberman wins that fight.

As for the 2000 election he recalled waking up and hearing a t.v. news report that he was Gore's vice presidential pick. He said he thought his wife, hearing the same report say "why?" although she claims she said "what?" He broke up the room and put another brief smile on the Curmudgeon's face.

After trolling the kitchen for some remaining hors d'oeuvres I left but not before Sen. Lieberman shook my hand with a smile and all I could think about was that I never shook the hand of a Vice President before...before tonight.

Monday, October 10, 2005

Kneel and kiss his ring

The Harriet Miers nomination to the Supreme Court reveals just how far this cult of personality government has gone. On Meet the Press yesterday, Dr. Richard Land, your typical slick and slicked back hair, holy than everyone man of God was defending W and his selection of Miers. Land confirmed he participated in a White House initiated conference call to their conservative partners to bolster support for Miers. Land proudly admitted he said on the call, "I'm from Texas, George W. Bush is from Texas, Harriet Miers is from Texas and in Texas we have two important values: courage and loyalty. If Harriet Miers didn't rule the way George W. Bush thought she would he would see that as an act of betrayal and so would she." After taking a sip of Kool-Aid, Land told the Tim Russert, "If someone is disloyal, if someone betrays a trust in Texas they're right down there with child molesters and axe murders."

So there you have it. The W administration in a nutshell. There's just one problem. It depends on what the meaning of the word "loyal" is.

Senator Charles Grassley, Republican of Iowa and chairman of the Finance Committee has accused the White House of trying to kill "his measure to pay for health care for those poor and uninsured Katrina victims who are not eligible for Medicaid, such as childless adults and pregnant women with incomes modestly above the normal - very low - cutoff. 'The White House is working against me behind the scenes, and I resent that, considering how I have worked for the White House in the past several years,' Mr. Grassley said." Sounds like disloyalty. Calling Patrick Patrick Fitzgerald. Add child molestation and axe murder to your indictment list.

And then there is Cathleen Rowley, the FBI agent who was prevented, before 9/11 from pursuing al Qaeda and whose whistleblowing memo got her thrown out of the FBI before she was named Time's Person of the Year in 2002. In an op-ed piece in today's New York Times she writes, "Presidential administrations seem more often than not to make loyalty paramount. While loyalty in marriage, family and among friends is the glue that binds society, government employees owe their ultimate allegiance not to their supervisor or president but to America: its Constitution, laws and citizens."

The "Dr." Lands of the right-wingnuts see it differently. They see loyalty to W, their glorious leader, to be the only principle they hold. It explains nearly everything done by this administration.

This kneel and kiss the ring of W was warned against by none other than Alexander Hamilton in the Federalists Papers #76 which has been dug up and throw about by blogs and the MSM. Its so good its worth citing again. "He would be both ashamed and afraid to bring forward, for the most distinguished or lucrative stations, candidates who had no other merit than that of coming from the same State to which he particularly belonged, or of being in some way or other personally allied to him, or of possessing the necessary insignificance and pliancy to render them the obsequious instruments of his pleasure."

Sound familiar? So the very thing Hamilton, a Founding Father so revered by the right wingnuts, warned against is the very reason why they argue Harriet Miers should get confirmed. Loyalty to W the man and Bush the family forever. So much for an independent judiciary. Surprised Faux News or "I get a Rush from Oxycontin Limbaugh hasn't accused Hamilton of being a Clinton supporter and a closet America-hater. The day is young though.

Republicans. Loyal to the man, never the country. Maybe they should take their oaths of office on a Bush photo album instead of the Bible.

Friday, October 07, 2005

FLASH NEWS!!! Karl Rove Indicted!

Well, not yet. I should wait to post this entry until next week. October 28 at the latest. Readers of this blog will remember my prediction that Tom Delay would get indicted. I made it right after it happend. But in this case, Karl Rove, the Matrix-like "Architect" and uber-policy and political guru for W will be indicted on charges related to the Plamegate. (traitor-gate for you real hard core types). Source close to the investigation tell the Curmudgeon that Rove will be indicted on charges of perjury, obstruction of justice and conspiracy to obstruct justice as early as next week. When I say "sources" I'm of course referring to the New York Times and the Associated Press.

The AP has reported, "Federal prosecutors have accepted an offer from presidential adviser Karl Rove to give 11th hour testimony in the case of a CIA officer's leaked identity..." This would be the fourth time old "turd blossom" will bring his Frank Burns patriotism and ferret face before the grand jury investigating who outed Valerie Plame, a CIA undercover officer who worked to prevent WMD proliferation. The key here is whether he is doing this voluntarily or by subpoena. The AP and other sources seem to portray this as being at the request or initiation of Rove and his lawyers. The NYT reports it as Rove ordered to return to provide more testimony. If this is Rove's idea he will get indicted. If it's Patrick Fitzgerald's idea he may get indicted but probably not.

No one would voluntarily expose themselves to a fourth trip and further perjury jeopardy before a grand jury unless they already believed that an indictment was being typed up. And since the investigation will end on Oct. 28 this is the "last throes" of it. So unless you were ordered to testify a fourth time the only reason why you would at this late date would be to head off an indictment that already has your name on it. If Rove is being ordered to return then Fitzgerald probably won't indict anyone since if you haven't made your case after nearly two years, it's hard to make it now. (Tom DeLay's grand jury notwithstanding).

This will either be multiple indictments on more than one person or no indictments with a report that says these people are awful but technically or evidentiarily (is that a word?) not criminals. An unindicted co-conspirator label could also prove to be just as damaging to the well, co-conspirators, as an indictment.

But you heard it here first. Or last. Rove gets multiple indictments, Cheney's chief of staff "Scooter" Libby gets indicted (maybe even one count for being too old to have a nickname like "Scooter?") and others get unindicted co-conspirator charges. And then in a time period so short, about as short as how fast you turn the radio channel when you hear spanish, you'll hear about "baseless charges, zealot prosecutors, partisan prosecutors, out of control special counsels, orchestrated by the DCCC," and add your own cry-baby defense by Republican "victims" in charge of every branch of government.

Of course I could be wrong. But we know how that never happens.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

The Curmudgeon Party

I'm not going to defend how government actually works, rather how it should work. It's almost as if all the political science and history courses were a waste of time. And if you think Schoolhouse Rock, "I'm Just a Bill" is how it happens then you're more insane than I imagined. Nothing in those lyrics about secret holds, filibusters, earmarks, supplementals, off-budget items or holding votes open for as long as you need to manipulate the outcome. There is a mention of the veto but W has never vetoed a single bill, most notably a spending bill, sent to him from the Republican House and Republican Senate, in five years. W has signaled he will veto a bill - the McCain amendment just passed 90-9 barring cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment of military detainees by any American personnel anywhere. It actually only requires that the Army manual be followed but obviously if we did that the terrorists would win.

So back to the theme for today. My advice is to promote a brand for the Democrats. Protect Americans, Protect America. It's not isolationism, it's good government. Fund science, disease control and prevention, health research and the like. That's CDC, NAS, NIH, etc. (And no, "etc" is not a new federal department although at the rate of growth of big government, big spending W who knows.) Fix the roads, bridges, tunnels and yes, levees. Support the troops by getting them the best equipment they need. It's shocking a great country has its soldiers or their parents and grandparents buying their own armor and protective vests and asking for reimbursement. (Which W is against). It's a disgrace. Pick up the garbage, fund police and fire, provide access to health care and education and be fair about it. Common currency, freedom of movement, full faith and credit. Ring any bells? This is basic government as taught in Civics 101. And as for the Republican "agenda" as Bill Maher says stop claiming it's an agenda. It's not an agenda. It's a random collection of laws that your corporate donors paid you to pass.

How about a new ethics law that says you can't accept trips, golf, lunch, dinner, a movie, tickets, wine, cash, jobs for your family or anything of any value from the lobbyists and other similar parasites in politics. Why is there any debate about this? You get elected to Congress and all of a sudden "everyday is my birthday?" Enough. You get your salary, $162,100 for Congress, $180,100 for majority leaders, $208,100 for Speaker Hastert, and if that's not enough, leave. It's called public service. You are supposed to work for the public we don't work for you.

Democrats should propose an ethics law that you couldn't accept so much as a compliment from lobbyists. There should be an end to earmark (pork giveaways) in highway bills that build indoor rainforests in Iowa and bridges to nowhere in Alaska. It may be fun to get your name on these things but the bills come due and you're not the one paying for it. Want to win in 2006? Contract with America already taken? (and broken). Propose an irrevocable trust with America. Elected officials can be co-trustees with Americans as the beneficiaries. It would be nice for a change to actually govern as if you care more about the country than you do about your job.

Not interested? All those in favor of the new Curmudgeon Party say "aye."

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

The first we do, let's kill all the lawyers...

No, this isn't a piece about evangelical Christian lawyer Harriet Miers who would never ever have been considered for the Supreme Court had she not been friends with Bush. Let's put it another way, when W was looking for a lawyer in 1993 the first two turned him down before Miers was brought to his attention. Had one of those two lawyers accepted no one would have ever heard of Harriet Miers. Oh, you say, she worked for Microsoft and Disney? Woohoo. So have thousands of lawyers. Do you know their names? Talk about lowering the bar. Memo to all you law students out there. Don't write anything and if you do don't put your name on it. (I guess you can't prove I'm The Daily Curmudgeon so keep my name on the short list Mr. W) Being of the right religious background and friends with the president is much more important. A "good heart" is the only qualification I can see at this point. What's next? Just having a heart? Or a brain?

Speaking of brains...What the hell is going on in Texas? First, Travis County District Attorney Ronnie Earle indicts Tom DeLay for conspiracy to violate election laws and then when DeLay's lawyer, Dick DeGuerin files a quick motion to dismiss the charges Earle gets a second indictment to correct any errors the first charge had? From a grand jury that had been impaneled for like 10 minutes? Did they even know where the bathrooms were in the building? Ronnie baby, when you go to strike down the king, you strike him down. You finish the job. You don't let him get back up. You don't let him get away.

In his brief, DeGuerin argued that the conspiracy statute did not apply to the election code until the Legislature amended the law, effective Sept. 1, 2003, after the 2002 election. DeLay and his alleged "co-conspirators" are charged with sending $190,000 of corporate money to the Republican National Committee, which, in turn, donated the same amount of non-corporate money to seven Texas candidates' campaigns at their direction. The date on the $190,000 check to the committee was Sept. 13, 2002. The committee checks cut to candidates were dated Oct. 4, 2002. Simply because the new law explicitly stated the conspiracy statute applied to the election code after Sept. 1, 2003 doesn't mean it didn't apply before. But Earle should have anticipated this and the second indictment for money laundering should have been done when the first one was issued.

Secondly, there is a three-year statute of limitations and it could be argued that DeGuerin should have waited until at least Oct. 4, 2005 to file his motion to dismiss. But then I found out that last month DeLay signed a waiver of the statute of limitations in an attempt to head off an indictment! Say what? Who gave him that great advice? Some lawyer for DeLay who graduated from the Ringling Brothers School of Law? Now, of course, as the flip-flopper he is, DeLay wants to withdraw his waiver and fight the indictments on that basis. That's some great lawyering there counsel or should I call you Bozo?

Another point. If I remember correctly, conspiracies don't really have a statute of limitations problem because the conspiracy continues forever until it is exposed. That is, the co-conspirators keep silent to keep the conspiracy going so the statute of limitations doesn't start running at the time the actual underlying crime is committed.

What does all this mean? It means that there are some really bad lawyers and lawyering out there and I wouldn't be surprised if they one day all serve on the Supreme Court. A government as good as its people and now a Supreme Court as bad as its bad lawyers. God bless the United Cronies of W.

P.S. Brit Hume of Faux News, actually said W's pick of Miers wasn't cronyism because W was actually moving her out of his inner circle and over to another job. Boy I wish I was a crony of Roger Ailes or the like to get paid $2 million or so a year to spout ridiculous ideas. Right now I don't even make half that doing it.

LATE BONUS POSTING: Good commercial here. Probably banned by the Pat Robertson/Intelligent Design types who run this country now.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005


I used to love babysitting and getting paid to watch The Love Boat and Fantasy Island. I can watch Fantasyland now everyday. Just caught a bit of W's first press conference in almost four months. Without even seeing it you know it goes something like this. Iraq is going great, I may even build a summer home there. Harriet Miers is the most qualified person in America. People elected me to put "strict constructionist" judges on the bench. And the issue of Roe v. Wade never came up with Harriet in the 10 years since I've know her. Da plane! Da plane! Welcome to Fantasyland! W looks great in all wite.

Didn't see the whole thing but I did hear W answer a queston about whether Harriet Miers is the most qualified person to be a Supreme Court justice in America. Any guess on the answer? "Yes." "Good person" with "good character" were in W's answer. Nothing about actually knowing anything about constitutional law but hey, that's just a minor detail for the job. It actually gives hope to all those of us out there with no qualifications for a variety of jobs we'd just love to do. How Miers would have voted in Bush v. Gore or how she will vote in Bush v. Clinton or Cheney v. Clinton or US v. Rove and Libby is much more important. Any guesses how W's personal lawyer would vote in those cases?

W also has "no recollection" of ever having spoken to Miers on the issue of abortion. Sounds like Clarence Thomas who claimed he never had a conversation ever about Roe v. Wade. Then he would be the only one. And "I got elected because people wanted strict constructionist judges?" I guess that small matter of Iraq and terrorism were side issues. (Notice how there aren't any more yellow or orange alerts anymore? Must not be an election year. Don't worry you'll get plenty next year.) I want a strict constructionist in my home contractor not in a Supreme Court justice. The short definition is really any ruling that the relgious conservatives, who control the Republican party, like. Period.

I don't have a problem if W and his cronies want live in Fantasyland. I just don't want to room with them.

Happy New Year.

Monday, October 03, 2005

It's not what you know...

So another person looking to fill a job slot found...herself. Cheney who led the search for a vice-presidential pick found the best candidate was...himself. Harriet Miers, leading the search for Supreme Court nominees only found one other person at least as qualified as herself before nominating, well, herself. What a coincidence that the best qualified person to be on the Supreme Court for life just happens to be leading the search. At least it reinforces the adage, "It's not what you know, it's who you know."

She of course is a Bush crony and and has been described as a tough "pit bull in size 6 shoes." Hopefully, she turns out to be a female David Souter who led a monastic-like life living with his mother in New Hampshire before being selected by H.W. He turned out to be a disappointment to conservatives. Lets just hope this single, church going, "she's a man baby" looking woman is in fact a closeted lesbian who will act more like a Souter rather than a Bush lackey enforcer loyal to party and person rather than country. Don't bet on it. That's what is really going on here. A cult of personality. W, the man, the myth, the legend. Miers has called W "the most brilliant person" she's ever met. Surprising she doesn't refer to him as glorious leader. Son of God is a bit much.

Two down, seven to go. Pat Robertson is probably in overdrive praying for the untimely (or timely) departure of the rest of the court which would leave room for him and six other arguably mentally ill loons in nicely tailored suits just waiting to inflict their brand of religious fascism on the rest of us. The real problem is that as long as the Senate (and House for that matter) are controlled by Republicans W could nominate Jessica Simpson to the Supreme Court and she'd get confirmed. And all of you who support W and his party should be indicted for aiding and abetting this conspiracy to turn the United States of America into the United cronies of W's America. Guilty as charged.

BONUS POSTING: Lt. Gen. (that's three stars) William Odom, a former Vietnam veteran and head of the National Security Agency under Reagan said the U.S. should withdraw from Iraq and reposition its military forces along the Afghan-Pakistani border to capture Osama bin Laden and crush al Qaeda cells. “The invasion of Iraq I believe will turn out to be the greatest strategic disaster in U.S. history,” said Odom, now a scholar with the Hudson Institute. Probably another Democratic dead-ender and Cindy Sheehan follower giving aid and comfort to the enemy, right boys?

BONUS POST II: cronyism - Favoritism shown to old friends without regard for their qualifications, as in political appointments to office. Also pronounced, "Harriet Myers or Michael Brown."