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I Didn't Write That!
27 July 2005
  Gonzales: Fine, Then I'll Undermine Roberts

That's the only way I can interpret Alberto suddenly letting out with this provocative statement. I thought the GOP were trying to downplay their intentions against Roe v. Wade, and here's the attorney general--who got passed over for the nomination--signalling said intentions. Before Roberts' hearings.

Little bitter, is he?

Liberals, contrary to the GOP noise machine, aren't really attacking this nominee. He could easily skate through. So why do the Republicans want a fight about this so bad?

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26 July 2005
 
Karl Rove Screwing Around On Wife?

Now that sex has (maybe) entered the picture, perhaps the media will start taking an interest in the treason Rove committed against us all.

For years, political insiders in the Lone Star State have whispered about Rove’s close friendship with lobbyist Karen Johnson, a never-married, forty-something GOP loyalist from Austin, Texas. The two first became close when Johnson sat on the board of then-Governor George W. Bush’s Business Council over a decade ago. Their friendship reportedly deepened after Bush appointed Johnson—a little-known spokesperson for the Texas Good Roads Association—to a seat on his Transportation Department transition team in 2000. The plum appointment enabled Johnson’s lobbying firm, Infrastructure Solutions, to snare such high-paying clients as Aetna and the City of Laredo. Sources say Johnson now frequently travels between Washington D.C. and Austin, where she frequently appears at Rove’s side at parties and unofficial functions.

Although there is no evidence that their relationship is anything but professional, the close association between the married White House aide and the comely lobbyist has long raised eyebrows in conservative Texas circles. Asked about the pair, a prominent political journalist who has written extensively about Rove says, “I’ve heard the stories, but I would never write about Karl and Karen. If you want to keep your job as a reporter in Texas, you make believe you don’t see them together.”


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  What Happens When You Out A Cia Agent?

Well, you could listen to Tucker Carlson or Sean Hannity or Bill O'Reilly say it's no big deal. Or you can listen to someone who knows what the fuck he's talking about, an actual veteran CIA agent:
I believe Bob Novak when he credited senior administration officials for the initial leak, or the simple, but not insignificant confirmation of that secret information, as I believe a CIA officer in some far away country will lose an opportunity to recruit an asset that may be of invaluable service to our covert war on terror because "promises of protection" will no longer carry the level of trust they once had.

Each time the leader of a political party opens his mouth in public to deflect responsibility, the word overseas is loud and clear--politics in this country does in fact trump national security.

Each time a distinguished ambassador is ruthlessly attacked for the information he provided, a foreign asset will contemplate why he should risk his life when his information will not be taken seriously.

Each time there is a perceived political "success" in deflecting responsibility by debating or re-debating some minutia, such actions are equally effective in undermining the ability of this country to protect itself against its enemies, because the two are indeed related. Each time the political machine made up of prime-time patriots and partisan ninnies display their ignorance by deriding Valerie Plame as a mere "paper-pusher," or belittling the varying degrees of cover used to protect our officers, or continuing to play partisan politics with our national security, it is a disservice to this country. By ridiculing, for example, the "degree" of cover or the use of post office boxes, you lessen the level of confidence that foreign nationals place in our covert capabilities.

Those who would advocate the "I'm ok, you're ok" politics of non-responsibility, should probably think about the impact of those actions on our foreign agents. Non-responsibility means we don't care. Not caring means a loss of security. A loss of security means a loss of an agent. The loss of an agent means the loss of information. The loss of information means an increase in the risk to the people of the United States.

There is a very serious message here. Before you shine up your American flag lapel pin and affix your patriotism to your sleeve, think about what the impact your actions will have on the security of the American people. Think about whether your partisan obfuscation is creating confidence in the United States in general and the CIA in particular. If not, a true patriot would shut up.

Those who take pride in their political ability to divert the issue from the fundamental truth ought to be prepared to take their share of the responsibility for the continuing damage done to our national security.

When this unprecedented act first occurred, the president could have immediately demanded the resignation of all persons even tangentially involved. Or, at a minimum, he could have suspended the security clearances of these persons and placed them on administrative leave. Such methods are routine with police forces throughout the country. That would have at least sent the right message around the globe, that we take the security of those risking their lives on behalf of the United States seriously. Instead, we have flooded the foreign airwaves with two years of inaction, political rhetoric, ignorance, and partisan bickering. That's the wrong message. In doing so we have not lessened, but increased the threat to the security and safety of the people of the United States.

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25 July 2005
 
So Much Today!

Firstly, apparently Karl Rove forgot the Espionage Act of 1917, which makes it a crime to disclose classified information whether you knew it was classified or not. Whoops! But then, there's also that non-disclosure form he signed anyway...and then there's that pesky memo marked with a big, red "S":

The memo, which was produced by the State Department in June of 2003, laid out Joseph Wilson's role in examining claims that Saddam Hussein sought uranium in Africa. The memo was a topic of much discussion among administration officials in the week after Wilson went public with what he'd found in Africa. According to Newsweek, the Washington Post, and the Wall Street Journal, the memo identified Wilson's wife -- it called her Valerie Wilson, not Plame -- in a paragraph explicitly marked as classified. Specifically, reports Isikoff, the section was labeled "snf," meaning "Secret No Foreign," which specified that the information was secret and not be shared with foreigners.

For Rove -- or Lewis Libby, or any other government official -- to be found guilty under the 1982 law, the prosector would need to show that Rove knew that Plame was undercover. But to find him guilty of breaking the 1917 law, you might only have to show that he learned her identity from a classified document -- i.e., the State Department briefing memo -- and then disclosed what he'd learned to people not entitled to secret information. In this scenario Plame's undercover status doesn't matter -- only the fact that Rove (hypothetically, of course) learned her name from a secret document.

Second, and even more seriously, there are far worse Abu Ghraib pictures and footage which the government blocked from public view again this weekend. Did you know our soldiers have been filming themselves raping children? Senator Lindsay Graham(R-SC) does:
The American public needs to understand we're talking about rape and murder here. We're not just talking about giving people a humiliating experience... We're talking about rape and murder -- and some very serious charges.
Seymour Hersh described some time back what we haven't seen thusly:
Some of the worst things that happened you don't know about, okay? Videos, um, there are women there. Some of you may have read that they were passing letters out, communications out to their men. This is at Abu Ghraib... The women were passing messages out saying 'Please come and kill me, because of what's happened' and basically what happened is that those women who were arrested with young boys, children in cases that have been recorded. The boys were sodomized with the cameras rolling. And the worst above all of that is the soundtrack of the boys shrieking that your government has. They are in total terror. It's going to come out.
Not that I'm in a hurry to see or hear that. But still! Glad to see Bush gave us our motherfucking pride back, huh? This is what we are now.

Feeling proud yet?

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Teamsters to AFL-CIO: Drop Dead

The long disintegration of American labor continues. Not that the AFL-CIO didn't ask for this. The unions are under attack, but they've killed themselves in many ways too.

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  Alberto!

That's no way to orchestrate a cover-up!
Attorney General Alberto Gonzales said on Sunday that he immediately told White House Chief of Staff Andrew Card -- but delayed telling others -- when the Justice Department launched an investigation into who leaked the identity of a CIA operative.

Gonzales, who at the time was White House counsel, told CBS's "Face the Nation" that he waited until the next morning to discuss the issue with President Bush and to formally notify the rest of the White House staff, requiring them to preserve any materials connected to the investigation.


Democratic Sen. Joseph Biden of Delaware said the approximately 12-hour delay in notification "raises a lot of questions" about whether some White House officials could have received an early warning from Card.

"The real question now is, who did the chief of staff speak to? Did the chief of staff pick up the phone and call (Bush political adviser) Karl Rove? Did the chief of staff pick up the phone and call anybody else?" Biden said.

Again, why do you think Alberto will not be on the Supreme Court?

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24 July 2005
 
"Two Damning Story Lines Emerge and Both Have Legs."

Frank Rich this week, on, among other things, just why Alberto Gonzalez did not end up the Supreme Court nominee.

As White House counsel, he was the one first notified that the Justice Department, at the request of the C.I.A., had opened an investigation into the outing of Joseph Wilson's wife. That notification came at 8:30 p.m. on Sept. 29, 2003, but it took Mr. Gonzales 12 more hours to inform the White House staff that it must "preserve all materials" relevant to the investigation. This 12-hour delay, he has said, was sanctioned by the Justice Department, but since the department was then run by John Ashcroft, a Bush loyalist who refused to recuse himself from the Plame case, inquiring Senate Democrats would examine this 12-hour delay as closely as an 18½-minute tape gap. "Every good prosecutor knows that any delay could give a culprit time to destroy the evidence," said Senator Charles Schumer, correctly, back when the missing 12 hours was first revealed almost two years ago. A new Gonzales confirmation process now would have quickly devolved into a neo-Watergate hearing. Mr. Gonzales was in the thick of the Plame investigation, all told, for 16 months.

Thus is Mr. Gonzales's Supreme Court aspiration the first White House casualty of this affair. It won't be the last.
Bottom line: Bush has no solutions to this mess, and can only lash out at the ones who point out that he got us all in over, well, his head. And the consequences are catching up.

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23 July 2005
  Out Of Left Field...

Uh...why is this in the headlines all of a sudden?...

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22 July 2005
  Rednecks vs. Constitution

In ol' Miss.

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  Lying: Never A Good Idea

Particularly to the FBI, or...a grand jury. Rove and Libby may be in a true world of shit.

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  It's Not Going Away

Mmm! Enjoy the delicious aroma of slowly-roasting Scott.

I suppose he did enjoy having at least one day off the Rove hammering...

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21 July 2005
  Someone At The White House Is In Trouble Deep

Oops!

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She Was Undercover, Rove, And You Knew It

Plame's Identity Marked As Secret

Memo Central to Probe Of Leak Was Written By State Dept. Analyst

A classified State Department memorandum central to a federal leak investigation contained information about CIA officer Valerie Plame in a paragraph marked "(S)" for secret, a clear indication that any Bush administration official who read it should have been aware the information was classified, according to current and former government officials.

Plame -- who is referred to by her married name, Valerie Wilson, in the memo -- is mentioned in the second paragraph of the three-page document, which was written on June 10, 2003, by an analyst in the State Department's Bureau of Intelligence and Research (INR), according to a source who described the memo to The Washington Post.

The paragraph identifying her as the wife of former ambassador Joseph C. Wilson IV was clearly marked to show that it contained classified material at the "secret" level, two sources said. The CIA classifies as "secret" the names of officers whose identities are covert, according to former senior agency officials.

Anyone reading that paragraph should have been aware that it contained secret information, though that designation was not specifically attached to Plame's name and did not describe her status as covert, the sources said. It is a federal crime, punishable by up to 10 years in prison, for a federal official to knowingly disclose the identity of a covert CIA official if the person knows the government is trying to keep it secret.

So, as we were saying--metal cuffs or plastic, Mr. Rove?

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Baiting; and Ann Coulter, Plagiarist

Despite that Fox News, innumerable rightie blogs, and the front page of today's Chicago Tribune, among many others, are operating under the assumption that liberals are going to freak out about the Roberts nomination, frustratingly enough even Planned Parenthood doesn't really care that much. Only groups like NARAL, or Moveon.org--the latter of whom is so knee-jerk they'd protest a topiary--have registered any disdain. I mean, this was the best nominee we could expect from the man. What's the point in getting angry? At least it wasn't a wingnut, and if this guy went down perhaps we'd be stuck then with a psycho like Janice Rogers Brown.

It seems to be driving the right a little nuts--apparently they were spoiling for a fight on the matter, perhaps as a means of crushing the right to filibuster or the like once and for all. So they act like there's a fight brewing, as though they want to provoke one. The cable news shows last night were full of righties crowing about how much Roberts would piss liberals off. It seems to be making them unhappy with Roberts(Ann Coulter foaming particularly at the mouth)--if he doesn't anger liberals, how truly conservative can he be? (To the right, any consensus, even accidental, is repulsive and denotes weakness and failure. They hate being agreed with. Submitted to is fine)

Nope. God, you guys are such bad winners. Is it that without the taste of your enemy's blood, it's not really a victory?

Or is it irritating you that we're all still angry about Karl Rove and his treason, and that you can't change the message because you lost control of it the minute we caught you lying about Karl? Why do you hate America, conservatives?

Must be what it felt like to be Nixon.

********
And speaking of Li'l Miss Hitler:

Ann Coulter: psycho, plagiarist, or both?

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  London Hit Again

What the fuck?

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20 July 2005
  Beamed Up

James Doohan (Star Trek's beloved Scotty) died today. Like Jim Aparo, one of my faves as a child. May he rest in peace.

They always come in threes. Wonder who's third.

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  Oliphant on Rove, Week 2

click image to enlarge

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Nope, Rove's Still Screwed

Why do all the conservative bloggers think that their opposition has the attention span of a flea? Nobody's forgotten about Rove and I, personally, am not that concerned with the nomination of John Roberts. He's exactly the sort I expected Bush to nominate and that changes nothing.

Besides, what the cons have not yet grasped is that public opinion(which is running 78% against Bush--that's the number, according to MSNBC last night, that think the White House is covering up, and it includes over 50% of all Republicans, incidentally) has no bearing on a grand jury. I know this White House thinks of everything as a political campaign, but, er, it's not an election.

Rove can disappear from every newspaper and TV broadcast, and the mind of every blogger and he'll still be in trouble. You can throw out as many talking points and pundits as you like, and the special prosecutor will still hand out indictments as he sees fit.

Which, given we all know now that Karl Rove not only outed a CIA agent but may have lied to the FBI--and the grand jury?one can only hope--about it, he will. Do the Republicans now believe they can manipulate reality itself just by chanting enough?

Oh, wait, they do think that.

Yesterday, though, when asked if Karl Rove had offered his resignation, Bush gave no denial or affirmation. What could that mean, one wonders...if anything?

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Jim Aparo R.I.P.

He will be sorely missed. This was my favorite comics artist, along with Gene Colan, for the first ten or so years of my life and he had a mammoth influence upon me. The greatest artist DC had in the latter 20th century, and one of the best "realistic" comics artists ever. So good it was no wonder he was so often underrated.

Courtesy of Benjamin Brucke, have a look at one of his cool stories from back in the day...

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19 July 2005
  How Toast Is Made

Lying to the FBI?

Is that
ever a good idea?
White House deputy chief of staff Karl Rove did not disclose that he had ever discussed CIA officer Valerie Plame with Time magazine reporter Matthew Cooper during Rove’s first interview with the FBI, according to legal sources with firsthand knowledge of the matter.

The omission by Rove created doubt for federal investigators, almost from the inception of their criminal probe into who leaked Plame's name to columnist Robert Novak, as to whether Rove was withholding crucial information from them, and perhaps even misleading or lying to them, the sources said.

Also leading to the early skepticism of Rove's accounts was the claim that although he first heard that Plame worked for the CIA from a journalist, he said could not recall the name of the journalist. Later, the sources said, Rove wavered even further, saying he was not sure at all where he first heard the information.

Rove's attorney, Robert Luskin, has said that Rove never knew that Plame was a covert officer when he discussed her CIA employment with reporters, and that he only first learned of her clandestine status when he read about it in the newspaper. Luskin did not return a telephone call today seeking comment for this story.

If recently disclosed press accounts of conversations that Rove had with reporters are correct, Novak and Rove first spoke about Plame on July 8, 2003. It was three days later, on July 11, that Rove also spoke about Plame to Time magazine correspondent Matthew Cooper. Three days after that, on July 14, Novak's column appeared in which he identified Plame as an "agency operative." According to Novak's account, it was he, not Rove, who first broached the issue of Plame's employment with the CIA, and that Rove at most simply said that he, too, had heard much the same information.

How much of a "genius" can Rove be?

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An Honest Conservative

Joe Scarborough is really starting to win my respect over the Rove affair, in refusing to be a conduit for GOP talking points. He struck me as a smart man of integrity when I saw him as a guest on Real Time last year, so I wondered where that guy had gone when I actually watched his show, which came off to me like a light version of O'Reilly, MSNBC's attempt at getting a piece of that fat Fox dollar.

But every time a GOP attack poodle has come on to try to regurgitate Rove's own talking points--and they all come on smiling, thinking they're in friendly territory--he shocks the shit out of them by acting like a real journalist and calling bullshit on 'em. I can't describe last night's exchange any better than the Daily Howler did:

Temporarily freed from Aruba duty, Scarborough hosted a discussion of the Karl Rove leak. Predictably, Kelley Anne Conway began to spin. She made a ludicrous claim:

CONWAY (7/18/05): There is no evidence that anybody lied to Scott [McClellan]. And there is certainly no evidence that Karl Rove was a producer of any information. If anything, the two most recent news accounts about this issue suggest that Karl was the recipient of the information from a media source, not the producer of that information. And, look—
Say what? Rove wasn’t “the producer of that information?” The “two most recent news accounts” show this? In fact, one day earlier, on Meet the Press, Matt Cooper had said just the opposite. According to Cooper, when he spoke with Rove on July 11, 2003, Rove told him that Joe Wilson’s wife worked at the CIA. And it was the first time he’d ever heard this, Cooper said; Rove had “produced (leaked) the information” to him. Conway’s statement didn’t make sense. And as any actual anchor would do, Scarborough called Conway on it:
SCARBOROUGH (continuing directly): Well, he produced—he produced it to Time magazine and Cooper, didn`t he?

CONWAY: No. There is no evidence of that. In fact, when Joe Wilson himself testified before the—

SCARBOROUGH: Where have I been?

CONWAY: Pardon me?

SCARBOROUGH: Where have I been? I mean, I am sorry. I thought I read the Time magazine article. I thought I saw Matt Cooper on Meet the Press this weekend saying that he got the information from Karl Rove.

CONWAY: And—

SCARBOROUGH: I mean, was I—was it all a dream? Was it like the last season of Dallas?

“Where have I been?” Scarborough asked, openly mocking Conway’s statement. As any sensible host would have done, he quickly challenged what Conway had said, noting that Cooper just got through saying that Rove had “produced information.” Conway got to offer rebuttal, but her original claim had been sheer nonsense—and Scarborough quickly called her on it. It’s what you’d expect from a well-paid news anchor—unless, of course, you’re watching the NewsHour, and Ifill is there in the chair. Scarborough functioned just as he should have.
Nice. Way to go, Joe. Although it feels strange to congratulate a reporter for acting like one. But these days you take what you can get.

It's heartening to see that there's at least one Republican besides Andrew Sullivan(who, however, is a Brit) who remembers that his country, not his party, should be his primary allegiance.

Tucker Carlson, on the other hand, is still a dick. Last week on his show as he and Monica Crowley(who is basically an Ann Coulter that has learned some people appreciate politeness) ganged up on Rachel Maddow over the Rove matter, claiming it's nothing. Maddow called Carlson a water-carrier for the administration, and he sort of withered with guilt and denied ever carrying water for this administration. Carlson is that libertarian conservative who likes to think of himself as cool and whose friends are liberals, because only among them can you find the good pot. I had a roommate like him in 1989. Like all of them, Carlson seems to feel vaguely ashamed of the more right-wing types on his side, but is so repulsed by the left that, as a libertarian, he might feel the Republican party are the only viable horse for someone like him to hitch his wagon to. But deep down he knows he's, in practice, the boyish, friendly face for evil and he knows better.

Carlson's my age and I've known many, many guys like him. That's why I say what he does is more inexcusable than what the more rabid right-wingers do. At least with them you know what's coming. He acts as the thin, cute end of the wedge with a puppy mounted on it. He's an obedient apologist for evil, and there's a special place for guys like him. He's smart enough to figure this out eventually, but if not, he'll be remembered as a sad, sad case.

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18 July 2005
  Liberal Hunting

Explain to me what is coming in this country. Explain what we are rotting into.

Remember this post? Ha ha, funny, right?

Well, this is real. Wonderful news when you read this too.



Even funnier? They's the' ones with th' guns, ain't they?

But it couldn't happen here. Nobody ever said "Yee-haw" in Rwanda, did they?

Oh, and the Religious Right is waiting to be fed and getting snappish about it.

Good times. Be nice to survive them.

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Irresponsible Republicans, Part...Oh, I've Lost Count

This time the asshole saying stupid things that alienate our friends and needlessly dare our enemies to attack us is Rep. Tom Tancredo(R-Colorado), unsurprisingly of Littleton(which, in addition to being the home of Columbine High School, is also the basis for the town of "South Park"):

Talk show host Pat Campbell asked the Littleton Republican how the country should respond if terrorists struck several U.S. cities with nuclear weapons.

"Well, what if you said something like -- if this happens in the United States, and we determine that it is the result of extremist, fundamentalist Muslims, you know, you could take out their holy sites," Tancredo answered.

"You're talking about bombing Mecca," Campbell said.

"Yeah," Tancredo responded.

Yeah, that's the talk that'll help bring peace to the mideast. You just keep talking out your ass, Tommy boy.





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  Limbaugh: Republicans Must Stay Racist

So Ken Mehlman is trying to trick African Americans into voting Republican by apologizing for the "Southern Strategy" and acting as though it's being renounced.

So of course noted drug addict Rush Limbaugh, who apparently also does a radio show or something, and is sentimentally attached to racism, undermines and ruins the RNC chair's already lame attempt at p.r.
Know what he's going to do? He's going to go down there and basically apologize for what has come to be known as the Southern Strategy, popularized in the Nixon administration. He's going to go down there and apologize for it. In the midst of all of this, in the midst of all that's going on,once again, Republicans are going to go bend over and grab the ankles. They're going to the NAALCP. This is like going into Hyannisport and apologizing to [Sen.] Ted Kennedy [D-MA] for whatever and expecting him to become a supporter.

Hey, Rush, if you want the GOP to stop winning elections, more power to you, man. Please, by all means, fight among yourselves and go off-message.

I guess he's all stressed out about Air America gaining on him in ratings in Florida, huh?

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Bush's Promises: We Know What They're Worth

Yet today, he said again he'd fire the leaker of Plame's identity.

But then, why's Karl Rove still there? Well, because Bush added the caveat that someone had to commit a crime--which is up to the courts to determine.

"It's best people wait until the investigation is complete before you jump to conclusions. I don't know all the facts. I want to know all the facts," Bush said Monday. "I would like this to end as quickly as possible. If someone committed a crime, they will no longer work in my administration."

In other words, if Rove is indicted(and perhaps not even till he's convicted) Bush will think about it. Which should delay things pretty well. But not a lot are buying this insufficient response.

Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., said Bush shouldn't wait for charges to be filed to take action.

"The standard for holding a high position in the White House should not simply be that you didn't break the law," he said. "It should be a lot higher and if Mr. Rove or anyone else aided and abetted the leaking of the name of an agent, even if they don't meet the narrow criminal standard, the president should ask for their resignation."

It depends on what the GOP's definition of "crime" is.

Go on, hold your breath. I dare you.

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17 July 2005
 
How Did They Come To Believe All Their Own Bullshit?

Because the Bush administration never came in to work with present reality. They instead wanted to hammer reality into a shape that fit their view of it. Otherwise it might have been harder work, and we know they hate that.

Advanced schizophrenics will sometimes try to do violence to themselves to make their outward appearance match how they feel inside. My opinion is: so with them.

Longtime readers of this blog(I know at least there's
one) will recall this passage written by Ron Suskind some time back:
The aide said that guys like me were ''in what we call the reality-based community,'' which he defined as people who ''believe that solutions emerge from your judicious study of discernible reality.'' I nodded and murmured something about enlightenment principles and empiricism. He cut me off. ''That's not the way the world really works anymore,'' he continued. ''We're an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you're studying that reality -- judiciously, as you will -- we'll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that's how things will sort out. We're history's actors . . . and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do.''
Take them at their word.

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  How Serious This Is

From Ted Rall:

Imagine, for a few paragraphs, that you were the U.S. Director of Central Intelligence. Rove's seditious behavior requires you to wonder about the possible extent of his inside job against U.S. national security. Did Rove act alone? Probably not. His Plame operation, no doubt conceived in league with Dick Cheney and other high-ranking scoundrels, may merely represent the tip of a huge iceberg of duplicity. How else did "Bush's brain" subvert our intelligence community? Are Rove's intimates, who include Bush himself, running interference for him out of personal loyalty, or are they trying to cover up their own treasonous acts? Someone at Langley provided highly classified personnel information to Rove, a dirty tricks specialist and pollster. Who?

In 1985 CIA traitor Aldrich Ames sold the KGB the names of every U.S. spy in the Soviet Union in return for $2 million. Arrests and executions soon wiped out America's human assets in the Soviet Union. As they were caught unprepared by one shocker after another--glasnost, the fall of the Berlin Wall, the implosion of the USSR--intelligence professionals suspected a well-placed mole as the culprit. But Ames wasn't caught for another nine years.

Karl Rove, on the other hand, has already been found out as a likely traitor to the United States. Now we must work backwards. Does his exposure help to explain some of the Administration's most baffling foreign policy blunders?


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  Libby To Cheney?

Lewis Libby, confirmed.

Oh, and about Rove claiming he didn't know he was releasing classified info? As we all knew: Bullshit.
In a first-person account in the latest issue of Time, Cooper said Rove ended their telephone conversation with the words, ''I've already said too much.''
What a bunch of fucking idiots. Treason trials better be imminent, or this country's in big trouble.

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16 July 2005
 
Libby and Rove

The Washington Post:

In Washington, Rove and others were discrediting Wilson's story even as then-CIA director George J. Tenet said that the yellowcake allegation should never have been included in Bush's speech. "This did not rise to the level of certainty which should be required for presidential speeches, and CIA should have ensured that it was removed," Tenet said in a July 11 statement.

In a conversation that same day, Rove told Time magazine's Matthew Cooper that Wilson's wife was in the CIA and authorized the mission to Niger; but he did not use her name. Afterwards, Rove e-mailed then-deputy national security adviser Stephen J. Hadley to tell him he had waved Cooper off Wilson's claim.

A day later, Cheney's top aide, I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, told Cooper he had heard the same thing about Plame, and a senior administration official flagged the role of Wilson's wife, almost in passing, to The Washington Post's Walter Pincus.
Do they think we're all children?
"I didn't dig it out, it was given to me. They thought it was significant, they gave me the name and I used it."

Bob Novak, Newsday, July 21, 2003

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  Galactica Rules

And on a completely different note, I loved the season premiere of Ronald Moore's Battlestar Galactica last night, incidentally. Here's yet another very complimentary piece on the show.

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  Rove's "Ignorance"

Even if it were true, it turns out it would be no excuse. Our laws are far better thought-out than Republicans seem to understand or would like the rest of us to think.

His options now increasingly seem to be limited to going quietly or kicking & screaming.

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  Novak

Maybe?

If they stick the pig, he is certain to squeal a whole lot.

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Your Frank Rich This Week

Here.
...White House surrogates have been desperately babbling talking points attacking Joseph Wilson as a partisan and a liar.

These attacks, too, are red herrings. Let me reiterate: This case is not about Joseph Wilson. He is, in Alfred Hitchcock's parlance, a MacGuffin, which, to quote the Oxford English Dictionary, is "a particular event, object, factor, etc., initially presented as being of great significance to the story, but often having little actual importance for the plot as it develops." Mr. Wilson, his mission to Niger to check out Saddam's supposed attempts to secure uranium that might be used in nuclear weapons and even his wife's outing have as much to do with the real story here as Janet Leigh's theft of office cash has to do with the mayhem that ensues at the Bates Motel in "Psycho."

This case is about Iraq, not Niger. The real victims are the American people, not the Wilsons. The real culprit - the big enchilada, to borrow a 1973 John Ehrlichman phrase from the Nixon tapes - is not Mr. Rove but the gang that sent American sons and daughters to war on trumped-up grounds and in so doing diverted finite resources, human and otherwise, from fighting the terrorists who attacked us on 9/11. That's why the stakes are so high: this scandal is about the unmasking of an ill-conceived war, not the unmasking of a C.I.A. operative who posed for Vanity Fair.
And here's a great quote he supplies. And another, more recent one.
"I am saying that if anyone was involved in that type of activity which I referred to, they would not be working here."
- Ron Ziegler, press secretary to Richard Nixon, defending the presidential aide Dwight Chapin on Oct. 18, 1972. Chapin was convicted in April 1974 of perjury in connection with his relationship to the political saboteur Donald Segretti.

"Any individual who works here at the White House has the confidence of the president. They wouldn't be working here at the White House if they didn't have the president's confidence."
- Scott McClellan, press secretary to George W. Bush, defending Karl Rove on Tuesday.

They don't even bother to change their script after three decades. How did they ever get so far? How did they even manage to trick us into putting them into the presidency? Have we been asleep since 2000?

What exactly the fuck is wrong with us that we let this gang lead us into hell?

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  Editorial Cartoonists On Rove

Here.

(click image to go to full-sized cartoon)

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  Oh, Go To Hell, Tierney

Seriously.

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  Ari?

But wait, there's more.

This could be...vast.

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  The State I Was Born In

And why I left it, twice.

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  It Always Turns Out Like This

Hee hee hee.

See previous for comment.

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WASHINGTON, July 15 - Prosecutors in the C.I.A. leak case have shown intense interest in a 2003 State Department memorandum that explained how a former diplomat came to be dispatched on an intelligence-gathering mission and the role of his wife, a C.I.A. officer, in the trip, people who have been officially briefed on the case said.

Investigators in the case have been trying to learn whether officials at the White House and elsewhere in the administration learned of the C.I.A. officer's identity from the memorandum. They are seeking to determine if any officials then passed the name along to journalists and if officials were truthful in testifying about whether they had read the memo, the people who have been briefed said, asking not to be named because the special prosecutor heading the investigation had requested that no one discuss the case.

The memorandum was sent to Colin L. Powell, then the secretary of state, just before or as he traveled with President Bush and other senior officials to Africa starting on July 7, 2003, when the White House was scrambling to defend itself from a blast of criticism a few days earlier from the former diplomat, Joseph C. Wilson IV, current and former government officials said.

Mr. Powell was seen walking around Air Force One during the trip with the memorandum in hand, said a person involved in the case who also requested anonymity because of the prosecutor's admonitions about talking about the investigation.

Investigators are also trying to determine whether the gist of the information in the document, including the name of the C.I.A. officer, Valerie Wilson, Mr. Wilson's wife, had been provided to the White House even earlier, said another person who has been involved in the case. Investigators have been looking at whether the State Department provided the information to the White House before July 6, 2003, when Mr. Wilson publicly criticized the way the administration used intelligence to justify the war in Iraq, the person said.

The prosecutors have shown the memorandum to witnesses at the grand jury investigating how the C.I.A. officer's name was disclosed to journalists, blowing her cover as a covert operative and possibly violating federal law, people briefed on the case said. The prosecutors appear to be investigating how widely the document circulated within the administration, and whether it might have been the original source of information for whoever provided the identity of Ms. Wilson to Robert D. Novak, the syndicated columnist who first disclosed it in print.

This is happening so very fast.

A prediction: this will end up going to the office of Lewis Libby, and thus into the office of Dick Cheney himself.



In the wildest possible scenario, and I mean the kind of thing that involves God himself intervening at long last--if Cheney is gone, we won't then be afraid to finally hold Bush to account, will we?



Keep watching.

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15 July 2005
  Chris Matthews: Tool

But you knew that already. Nevertheless, enjoy this detailed and glorious smackdown at Daily Howler.

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Poor Karl

He's got so very many laws to worry about.
Karl Rove’s Nondisclosure Agreement
Friday, July 15, 2005 -- A fact sheet released by Rep. Waxman explains that the nondisclosure agreement signed by Karl Rove prohibited Mr. Rove from confirming the identity of covert CIA agent Valerie Wilson to reporters. Under the nondisclosure agreement and the applicable executive order, even “negligent” disclosures to reporters are grounds for revocation of a security clearance or dismissal.

[the] Agreement

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  No One Likes a Liar

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  Reasonable Rove

You may recall his remarks to the press just before this debacle.

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  Torture

It's not just for enemy combatants anymore.

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  I Know Arnold Isn't Too Good With The English...

...but surely he knows what "bribe" means.

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  Someone Who Knows About These Things

John Dean on just what a world of shit Karl Rove is in now. Particularly the little-known Randel precedent. (also, read the bit at the bottom of his article about the conspiracy statute)

Randel was a Drug Enforcement Agency analyst, a PhD in history, working in the Atlanta office of the DEA. Randel was convinced that British Lord Michael Ashcroft (a major contributor to Britain's Conservative Party, as well as American conservative causes) was being ignored by DEA, and its investigation of money laundering. (Lord Ashcroft is based in South Florida and the off-shore tax haven of Belize.)

Randel leaked the fact that Lord Ashcroft's name was in the DEA files, and this fact soon surfaced in the London news media. Ashcroft sued, and learned the source of the information was Randel. Using his clout, soon Ashcroft had the U.S. Attorney in pursuit of Randel for his leak.

By late February 2002, the Department of Justice indicted Randel for his leaking of Lord Ashcroft's name. It was an eighteen count "kitchen sink" indictment; they threw everything they could think of at Randel. Most relevant for Karl Rove's situation, Court One of Randel's indictment alleged a violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 641. This is a law that prohibits theft (or conversion for one's own use) of government records and information for non-governmental purposes. But its broad language covers leaks, and it has now been used to cover just such actions.

Randel, faced with a life sentence (actually, 500 years) if convicted on all counts, on the advice of his attorney, pleaded guilty to violating Section 641. On January 9, 2003, Randel was sentenced to a year in a federal prison, followed by three years probation. This sentence prompted the U.S. Attorney to boast that the conviction of Randel made a good example of how the Bush Administration would handle leakers.

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  Grand Inquisitor

Some summer reading.

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  Did Bush Betray London?

Why exactly are our government so frivolous with security matters? Why do they think it's acceptable to blow the cover of covert operatives for short-term political gain? Isn't the primary function of our government to protect national security?

Who benefits?

Juan Cole: (and many, many more links to more stories here)
The question is whether Bush played politics with terror around the time of the Democratic National Convention in late July, 2004. Jim Lobe reminded us at the time that ' The New Republic weekly quoted Pakistani intelligence officials as saying the White House had asked them to announce the arrest or killing of any "high-value [al-Qaeda] target" any time between July 26 and 28, the first three days of the Democratic Convention. At the time, former CIA officer Robert Baer said the announcement made "no sense." "To keep these guys off-balance, a lot of this stuff should be kept in secret. You get no benefit from announcing an arrest like this." '

In response to White House pressure, the Pakistanis were in fact able to make an arrest, which was announced during the Democratic National Convention. That arrest, of a Tanzanian named Ahmad Khalfan Gheilani, in turn led to the capture of Muhammad Naeem Noor Khan, a young computer expert who had old al-Qaeda documents on his laptop as well as a more recent archive of email correspondence with al-Qaeda in the UK. Among the old data were pre-9/11 plans for attacks in New York and elsewhere.

The Bush administration issued a heightened security alert just as the Democratic National Convention was ending. Many at the time suspected that this announcement was an unsubtle attempt to play to the general public's perception of Bush as better at fighting terrorists than the Democrats...

The information reported by Ridge was based on data that was three years old, raising real questions about how urgent such an announcement could possibly have been and raising further suspicions about the timing.

The announcement set off a frenzy of press interest in the basis for then Homeland Security secretary Tom Ridge's alarm. Either from a Bush administration source or from a Pakistani one (each government blames the other), they came up with the name of Muhammad Naeem Noor Khan, a recently arrested al-Qaeda operative in Pakistan, and published it. But it turns out that the Pakistanis and the UK had "turned" Khan and were having him be in active email contact with the al-Qaeda network in the UK so as to track them down.

On August 3, the Bush administration released the name of Abu Eisa Khan, a suspected al-Qaeda operative in the UK who had been arrested. The motive for this shocking lapse in security procedure appears to have been the desire to trumpet a specific arrest.

All of these public pronouncements by the Americans infuriated the Pakistani and British police.

For the sake of three year old intelligence, the Bush administration had helped blow the first inside double agent the Pakistanis and the British had ever developed. The British had been preparing a set of indictments and pursuing the investigation, in part by using Khan. They were forced to move before they were ready. Some suspects escaped on hearing Naeem Noor Khan's in the media. Of those who were arrested, several had to be released for lack of evidence against them.

Muhammad Sadique Khan, one of the July 7 bombers, was apparently connected to one of the suspects under surveillance in early August, 2004.

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  Suggestion Box

Send Karl Rove a pink slip.

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  2006: Throw The Bums Out

"What sort of children are these? What kind of a town is this?"--Peter Weiss, Marat/Sade

This is taxpayer money these assholes are paid. Your money. My money. And they use it to pass flag-burning amendments, keep brain-dead women suffering, and continue feeding our young into the mouth of Moloch that is Iraq.

And then? And then? And then they spend the day doing this.

This.

This is not a gentleman's debate club. This is not a game.

It's your votes and mine that get rid of these dangerous time-wasters. Next year, remember how little your congress did for you.

It will take a very long time for us to regain our honor for putting up with this at all. It is a stain on our ancestors. I'm very serious. Wake the hell up, all of us.

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14 July 2005
 
Merry Christmas

Karl Rove, it seems, spoke directly to none other than Robert Novak about Valerie Plame.

Not just two reporters who didn't write about it. The very bastard who published the information too. (exactly two years ago yesterday, as it happens)

To the issue of whether he knowingly did this, in an "off-the cuff way" as is claimed, then why did he take so much trouble to tell so many reporters? Is it a nervous tic with him, outing CIA agents?

The news was acting tonight like this was going away. Tucker Carlson was being particularly triumphalist. But there's a danger in celebrating too soon.



But then, the Bush administration never does it at any other time, do they?

Also, here's some Krugman on the matter.

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  Is There Such A Thing As An Honest Republican Anymore?

Goodness me, a perfect storm. Here's Bill Frist's contribution to the fistful o'karma headed the GOP's way.

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  Yes, Plame Was Undercover, Republican Morons

So the Republicans have been trying to spread the notion among the public that Valerie Plame wasn't undercover when the high traitor Karl Rove deliberately revealed her identity, in blatant violation of federal law, as petty political payback against her husband. Once again facts are easily found and very inconvenient. For the criminals.
On July 30, the CIA referred a "crime report" to the Justice Department. "If she was not undercover, we would not have a reason to file a criminal referral," a CIA official said.
...
In early 2002, Valerie Plame was an officer in the Directorate of Operations of the CIA task force on counter-proliferation, dealing with weapons of mass destruction, including Saddam's WMD programs. At that time, as she had been for almost two decades, she was an undercover operative. After training at "The Farm," the CIA's school for clandestine agents, she became what the agency considers among its most valuable and dangerous operatives -- a NOC, or someone who works under non-official cover. NOCs travel without diplomatic passports, so if they are captured as spies they have no immunity and can potentially be executed. As a NOC, Plame helped set up a front company, Brewster-Jennings, whose cover has now been blown and whose agents and contacts may be in danger still.

Well, so much for that.

They lie even when it does no good, when saying nothing would be far better. They can't stop themselves. It's their first impulse. That's the sign of a compulsive liar.

What I find strange is that, no matter what the GOP tries to do with public opinion, the grand jury will still continue, so why are they wasting so much energy? If Rove is going to go to jail all the talking points in the world won't save him. Their spin on this begins to approach obstruction of justice.

But they're fighting with the wrong weapons because I think they're trapped and don't know how else to react anymore. So flail, little elephants, flail. Waste all your ammunition on the bear's roar.

Their attack on the judiciary a few months ago makes sense now, though. Why else would they be so afraid of the courts?

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13 July 2005
  How the GOP Defends Treason

I use the word "treason" advisedly.
"Even though I'm a tranquil guy now at this stage of my life, I have nothing but contempt and anger for those who betray the trust by exposing the name of our sources. They are, in my view, the most insidious, of traitors." - president George H.W. Bush, April 26, 1999
Is he ashamed of his son right now?

From
Raw Story, the talking points behind the strangely similar things every Republican talking head has chanted for the past 48 hours:







And here's Timothy Noah at Slate demolishing much of this.

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  Does It Matter?

If everyone stopped even pretending they believed anything Bush said, would it matter?

I'd like to see. And this is worth thinking about: is Bush really at all in charge of this administration, or is this starting to show just what a figurehead he truly is? Look at this again.



Because I actually can imagine Rove firing Bush before the reverse could happen. In fact, not only does the entire Bush family owe Karl Rove that much, but as he mapped out the strategy that keeps winning Republicans elections, most of Congress owes him their political lives as well. To destroy him would be to cut their own throats. Nixon was easy for Republicans to abandon, because he'd abandoned them in the 1972 election. But everyone owes Rove.

Only an indictment will do anything. And here's a prediction right now: Bush will pardon Rove if that happens. And all you'll hear after that is Republicans talking on Hardball about Clinton's questionable pardons.

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  Why Nothing Will Happen

Over at Salon Letters:

...What a pity all that intelligence and information is a complete waste of space!

Over the years of the Bush regime, I have come to realize that Rove could have written: "Joe Wilson's wife Victoria Plame is an undercover CIA operative and outing her as I ask you to do, as part of our political attack on Wilson, is treason and will endanger the lives of all her contacts living in other countries, but go ahead and do it anyway" in letters 9 feet high on a billboard, signing his name with a flourish; he could have been filmed doing so by a documentary news crew and 26 amateur videographers, and still not one damn thing would happen to him.

The Bush administration has never held anyone accountable for anything. They give medals to total screw-ups. Karl Rove knows the deepest, darkest, dirtiest secrets of everyone in the administration. Between his knowledge and his ability to spin any amount of evil into looking like it's OK, he is far too dangerous and valuable to them to let anything happen to him, even if they ever did hold anyone to account.

He will not be convicted, he will not go to trial, he will not be fired, he will not be asked to resign, he will not be reprimanded. He will go on dismantling American democracy and covering up for others who do so. Notice that, though willing to push Scott McClellan around a little –- and a wonderful sight that was! -– no reporter has yet so much as mentioned all the senior intelligence people who stepped forward when Ms. Plame was outed and said, "The lives of many if not all of her contacts have just been endangered."

No one dares harm Karl Rove. And what could be a more sad and profound statement of how the democracy of America has crumbled into tyranny?

-- Katharine Wiley

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"These people don't want us to be happy. They want us to sit in the ruins and cry."

This is how you stand up to bullying fascist assholes.

...Last week, music lovers got another jolt when gunmen broke up the concert of popular singer Amar Hassan at An Najah University in the West Bank city of Nablus. Hassan shot to local fame last year after he came in second in a Lebanese TV version of "American Idol," a competition of aspiring artists in which fans vote for their favorites.

Before the Nablus show, militants from the Al Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades came to Hassan's hotel room. They told him he must sing only political songs, and cut love songs from his repertoire. The Al Aqsa gunmen, who have ties to Fatah, told Hassan that light-hearted entertainment is forbidden as long as Israel occupies the West Bank.

Hassan said he ignored the demands, and started his concert before a crowd of 6,000. During his show, dozens of gunmen and hundreds of protesters rallied outside the university's walls. Gunmen fired in the air and threw stun grenades, eventually forcing Hassan to break off the performance. As concertgoers left the campus, the protesters barged in, throwing chairs and scuffling with those leaving.

Hassan said in an interview Tuesday that he would not be silenced. "These people (the militants) don't want us to be happy.They want us to sit in the ruins and cry," he said. "We will wage a creative war against them, with more poems, more art, more singing."

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The Boy In The Bubble

Here's Bush today and look, there's Turd Blossom smugly sitting right behind him. Appropriate that Rove looks as though he's using Bush as a shield.



I guess we know he values his friends more than his presidency or the good of America. There is a rather sad precedent for this.



Grant's presidency was plagued with scandals, such as the Sanborn Incident at the Treasury and problems with U.S. Attorney Cyrus I. Scofield. The most famous scandal was the Whiskey Ring fraud in which over $3 million in taxes were taken from the federal government. Orville E. Babcock, the private secretary to the President, was indicted as a member of the ring and escaped conviction only because of a presidential pardon. After the Whiskey Ring, Grant's Secretary of War, William W. Belknap, was involved in an investigation that revealed that he had taken bribes in exchange for the sale of Native American trading posts.

Although there is no evidence that Grant himself profited from corruption among his subordinates, he did not take a firm stance against malefactors and failed to react strongly even after their guilt was established. He was weak in his selection of subordinates. He alienated party leaders by giving many posts to his friends and political contributors, rather than listen to their recommendations.

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  Bastard Gets His

Clumsy and stupid Worldcom greedhead Bernard Ebbers was sentenced to 25 years in prison. Good.

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"Eternity with Beelzebub, and all his hellish instruments of death, will be a picnic compared to five minutes with me and this pencil." - E. Blackadder, 1791
JLRoberson Self-Portrait 2005.
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