Saturday, April 29

WWDD: What would a Democrat Do?

As we look forward to November we have a burning question still ahead of us as Democrats. What exactly will we do with reigns of power in Congress?

Beyond the obvious issues of actually having some genuine investigations of the Iraq WMD Intelligence Manipulation, the Renditions and Secret Prison Program, the links between the Bybee Memo, Don Rumsfeld's revised Gitmo Policy to Detainee Torture around the Globe, and of course the legality of the NSA Spying program. What is it that Democrats hope to accomplish and what do they stand for?

Will Democrats implement an Impeachment Agenda that will polarize the nation in much the same way that the Whitewater and Lewinsky Scandals paralyzed the Government while bin Laden was bombing our embassies in East Africa and subsequently made President Clinton's almost immediate response look like nothing more than an attempt to "Wag the Dog"?

I don't think the answer to that question is exactly clear.

Unlike the GOPers we can at the very least we can expect them not to be regularly indicted for Perjury, Obstruction of Justice, Bribery and involvement with a Prostitution at the Watergate Hotel. At least not usually or frequently. Democrats generally aren't so repulsive that they need to pay for it! Clinton certainly didn't (Odd that only as of today does that seem like a compliment in comparison to the GOP).

But with Democrats in power, will they force the President to implement a rapid withdrawal of our forces from Iraq by voting to nullify the Iraq Force Resolution recinding his authority to deploy troops?

But there are some breadcrumb indications that have cropped up recently.

We've had the Real Security Proposal where Democrats outlined a five point strategy to protect our troops and refocus our efforts on al Qaeda in the War against Terrorism. (As opposed to the GOP's War on a Feeling - Cue the Boston background music!)

We've had brave Senators like Russ Feingold put forth his Censure Resolution to hold the President at least rhetorically accountable for his legal mis-steps.

Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi has posted a litany of actions taken by Democrats:

  • Yesterday we've had Six Democratic Congressmen who were voluntarily arrested for protesting the Genocide in Darfur. Would that they have the ability to more than make symbolic gestures.

  • Rep Louis Slaughter has posted about the efforts to implement lobbying reform with teeth.

  • Rep. Ed Markley offered up the Net Neutrality Amendment.

  • Rep John Conyers has sued the President for signing a bill into "law", without the prior approval of both houses of Congress.

But is this enough? Isn't fighting back against the corruption and bullying of GOPThugs exactly what we expect from Congressmen and Senators of both parties (as Mary Scott O'Connor so eloqently pointed out on Faux News?

Shouldn't we expect from our elected leaders a bold vision of how we can realize the promise of American liberty, ingenuity and hard work?

Shouldn't we insist on a Marshall Plan for Energy Independance?

Shouldn't we insist that not only should check and balances be restored, but also the ability for Majority Party in Congress to muzzle the minority be forever limited with permenent rules changes granting them subpeona power?

Shouldn't we insist that disasters such as the ongoing Katrina Aftermath never happen on our shores again?

Shouldn't we insist on genuine voter accuracy and security?

Shouldn't we insist that Presidents can never start Wars without justification?

Shouldn't we insist on a real plan to lower costs and increase access to Health Care Coverage for all Americans?

Is it enough for us to sit back and expect them to pick of the slack - aren't they our representatives? Instead of the Prez and his special "Free Speech Zones" aren't we supposed to tell them where to go?

They represent US - they are not our overlords or Kings as Little Boy George would like to pretend.

Maybe we, Democrats among the Netroots (and uh, Snailroots), need to step forward and put forth the agenda ourselves - then rate and promote candidates who sign on to accomplishing that agenda. (Just like much of the GOP does!)

So, what would/should your Democratic (Representative) Do?

Vyan

Thursday, April 27

How Dems will Lose in 2006!

Sometimes I like to put on a virtual biochem hazmat suit and stroll over through sites like Free Republic and Red State just to see the depth of psychosis on the "other" side. (Not that we don't have our own psychos here, I'm just saying they're pretty easy to spot from a distance) While there I occasionally spot a post that pique my interest. That happened yesterday with the thread...

Why Republicans will Win in 2006

Seeing as I love fairy tales - I dove right in. Join me gentle readers ...

I haven't done this since I challenged a random Conservative blogger over the Legality of the NSA Spying Program which led to not one, but two follow up diarys. Neither of our positions changed, but I for one learned a great deal in the exchange.

In this case the Red-Stater in question laid out the essential issues that would take Republicans over the top in 2006. In a rare moment of nearly honest self-reflection he also presented the three largest vunerabilities for the Repubs. With each he supplied a solution - and I now, will provide my own (slightly snarky) rebuttal to each.

Illegal Immigration: Illegal Immigration needs to be addressed in terms of national security. Any democrat trying to take advantage of the Dubai ports deal, like my Senator Bob Menendez has, in attempts to act tough on national security will get crippled by not supporting a tough barrier between the US and Mexico. Nearly every poll I have seen says the same thing: 60-70% of Americans want some kind of barrier between the United States and Mexico, this is an issue that's nearly as pro-Republicans as gay marriage.

First off, Illegal Immigration is not a "National Security" issue. I've had this debate on FDL taking on both Jane and Christy over the link between Illegals and Terrorists.

THERE. IS. NONE.

When the Repubs are done bitching about the NSA revelations "letting the terrorists see our playbook", maybe they should take a look at their playbook once in a while. As most of us know from a basic 9-11 101 class, none of Mohommad Atta's team entered the country illegally - they didn't climb under a fence, crawl through a tunnel, or swim from Cuba - they all used the normal legal visa process. It's true that they falsified some of their entries on the form, and we need Homeland Security to focus and closely monitor the Visa process in order to prevent future attacks, but the point is in order to implement their plan they needed to get Legal drivers licenses and legal flight training. They had to have access to our vital resources in order to turn them against us. Someone undocumented whose just made the Desert March isn't really going to be useful for the kind of high profile attacks that are Al Qaeda's stock in trade.

Just rememeber, we didn't catch Moussaoui because of brilliant detective work and super-secret NSA Surveillence - it was because of his expired Visa, he didn't jump the wall, he walked in and stayed too long.

Sure, we might have another McVey or Eric Rudolf knuckle-head, but genuine Al Qaeda operatives simply aren't going to get a job at a chemical or nuclear plant where they can do some real damage without being clean as a whistle, period. Al Qaeda knows this, we should know it too.

Simply setting off a car bomb isn't enough for Bin Laden, he's got to take out 12 Planes or 4 Embassies all at the same time. A total grand-stander. Right now, that dramatic and grandiose trait of his is our best protection. It's going to be years before he has all his players in position again.

The fact that people are afraid of immigrants (documented or not) having a huge impact on the American Economy and way of life is true - but it's clear that bills such as Sensenbrener's and Tancredos have done nothing so much as Galvanize what could be Millions of votes against the Republicans. Democrats had best stay out of the way, or even better yet - finally defuse the situation by insisting that the State Dept abolish the Visa quota system it currently uses to unreasonably punish people from Central and South America who actually want to abide by the law, but can't because the process itself is discriminatory, illegal and Unconstitutional.

We don't need to create a "Guest Worker Program", an H-1 or H-2 Visa already does exactly that - (allow someone from another nation to work here temporarily as was recently diaried concerning Arnold Schwarznegger's H-2 Visa) - the problem is again, the Quota System that only allows for one hundreth the number of Legal Visas per month from Mexico and Central America (975) as it does from Europe (11,225) or Africa (16,950). And - Gee Whiz - aren't many of the Terrorists are from- gasp - Africa?!. (You better bet that Al Qaeda knew this when they decided to recruit the highjackers from Saudi Arabian and the UAE. They didn't try and get people from Porta Villarta, ok?)

Fix that, grant or deny the Visa based on the merit and qualifications of the person instead of their nation of origin - y'know the way the 14th Amendment and Civil Rights Act require us to do - and most of your "illegal" problem will go away. People will follow the law if the law itself is fair. Yes, that might mean more immigrants from El Savador and less from Qatar - boohoo. The problem of fear has to be solved by facing that fear, not running away from it.

Democrats are probably not going to do what needs to be done here, but neither are Republicans. Most likely Repubs are going to blow it with fear-mongering that will alienate the next several generations of immigrants and their Voting Children.

Back to Red-ville...

Gas Prices: Every Republican challenger in 2006 needs to adopt the position of pro-drilling in ANWAR. Never before has the public been so pro-drilling than now. Gas prices are going to remain high til November and the sticker shock has just begun as drivers go on vacations during the summer. Gas prices has generally been seen as a pro-Democrats issue for some reason, but the fact is, Democrats have no short-term solution. We do, and its in drilling in Alaska.

I think we can all agree that there isn't a short-term solution to this. But neither is ANWAR a short, mid or long-term solution. It's no solution. A stop-gap at best. There are still questions about how much Oil we'll find there, and even if there is vast amounts of Oil we certainly won't see any of it for ten years even we started drilling today. This is a typical Republican band-aid solution - let's just completely fuck-up one our last and greatest unspoiled natural wildlife refuges on the hope and prayer that it might create some temporary jobs, and some temporary relief from our foreign Oil addiction. That's right, we'll get off the junk by getting a new supplier. Yeah, Right.

Oddly enough, I think the President is saying the right words when it comes to this issue. But Republicans trying to come to Environmental Table this late in the game just aren't credible. We just can't trust him to follow through on it with his ties to Big Oil and Big Energy - and that's where Dems have an advantage. Dems need to lobby for a Marshall Plan on Energy Independance. Rep Rahm Emmanuel, head of the DCCC, has come out hard on this issue supporting R&D Tax Credits for building more Hybrid Vehicles, the development of energy efficient vehicles and more.

Band-aids aren't going to stop the bleeding.

Taxes: Making the tax cuts permanent should be a rallying call within all Republicans because the rhetoric "Do you feel you have too much money?" is more convincing than any "We need to kill the deficit" rhetoric. Republicans need to articulate that our economy is strong, and its because of the Bush tax cuts that our economy is growing. I think slowly but surely, the myth that our economy is weak for some reason is being killed.

As was shown by both the Reagan and Bush Senior Administrations - irresponsible Tax Cuts always lead to huge Tax Increases in order to shore up the defecit. It's not a matter of "If", only "When". G.H.W. Bush going back on his "No New Taxes" pledge effectively ended his reelection bid. Eventually this binge is going to lead to a big fat purge, the only question is - will Republicans have the stomach for it (not likely) and will they be able to do it in a way that not only doesn't cripple the economy but allows it to grow at record paces the way that it did under Bill Clinton's Budget Plan?

Hell - freaking - No!.

Dems need to counter this lunacy with fiscal sanity. The Bush tax cuts need to be ended, but not simply repealed. They need to be rolled-over into Tax Credit Plans like Emmanuel's above. John Kerry had a similar Tax Credit Plan for employers who hire American Workers rather than sending jobs overseas. We need more this in order to counter the charge that the "Dems just want to Raise Your Taxes. There are literally hundreds of oppurtunities where Private Money can be Spent on the Public Good which should be rewarded in this way, so much so that it could even completely offset the Bush cuts. (Ok, maybe not - but I'm an optimist!) If framed properly this idea can even capture some anti-tax Republicans because it follows their own logic that Private individuals and organizations know how to spend their money better than the government does. (At least sometimes) We should say -"Ok - put your money where your rhetoric is". Go spend private funds on helping Rebuild The Gulf Coast and get a Tax-Credit for what you accomplish. Make it work, if you can. GO FOR IT. Every private dollar that eliminates the need for the government to spend - should be rewarded IMO.

The theory is that if people and good corporate citizens step up to the challenge, government spending will automatically go down and so will taxes. It's a total Win/win.

Now let's talk about the Downside for Republicans (most of which I think we're quite familiar)

Iraq: Iraq is hurting Republicans [V. Ya think!], and it's not going to get any better by November (or at least it doesn't look like it will). However, Iraq will not be the defining issue of 2006, especially since there is no clear consensus from either Republicans or Democrats on what to do with it. However, on the bright side, those who called for immediate pullouts are still radicals, and those who called for the 6 month pullout plan can still be debated and labelled as radicals.

I think the "radical" argument is a losing gambit. It didn't work for Jean Schmidt when she tried to Swiftboat John Murtha and it won't work in November. The publics patience has more than run out on Iraq and the consensus that a tight concise goal driven exit strategy such as John Kerry's are gradually gaining favor. The Prez continues with his Happy Talk that "we're making progress" while General after General comes forward to blast Rumsfeld for his incompetence on handling the War and it's aftermath.

The simply truth is this: If we have genuinely trained over 250,000 Iraqi troops - why aren't they standing up so that we can stand down in some type of phrased gradual redeployment? What's the hold-up?

The more we have revelations like those by Tyler Drumheller and the White House Memos that Bush was well informed that Iraq did not possess WMD's and simply ignored the evidence while using his authority to leak lies and several members of his administration conspired to out a Covert Agent in order to hide the truth - the worse it gets. With the still very real likelyhood that Karl Rove could be indicted for either his role in the leak or his efforts to cover it up, it's clear that Republicans who rally around the President on failure after failure, and crime after crime are going to feel the brunt of this rising tide in November.

Just remember, the Bush forecast is 32% and still falling.

The Deficit: While I do not like the deficit, it is not adversely affecting our economy. Our economy is growing, and when push comes to shove, nobody is going to buy that their taxes need to be raised in the name of the deficit. The call for fiscal responsibility is very ineffective when the economy is as strong as it is...

Sure, the Deficit is no big deal unless you notice that Medicaid is going bankrupt, while we're spending $10 Billion a month in Iraq. Yes, the economy is doing ok right now, but it's the weakest economic recovery we've seen in decades while we have a projected Budget Deficit of $337 Billion this year and it's clear that almost half of that is from Iraq Alone. Could you imagine what the economy could do if we didn't have the weight of $billions worth of interest payments on it's back? Look, New Orleans is still largely uninhabitable even 9-months after Katrina - does anyone think this will get better in November after yet another record Hurricane Season? Meanwhile, Bush still hasn't found a replacement for Heckuvajob Brownie yet and the Republican Congress doen't say a peep, they just keep their rubber stamp inked and ready to go.

If Dems link the Deficit directly to Bush and Repub Congress poor stewardship of the nation across the board - they have a winner of an arguement.

And lastly...

Corruption: Complaining won't get the job done. The so-called "Culture of Corruption" will not be able to win out over people struggling with gas prices and worries over national security. Corruption simply isn't a primary issue, it's a secondary issue. And its especially ineffective in a mid-term election year when those who are percieved as corrupt aren't even on the ballot. Look for this talking point to be very ineffective in 2006. Even if Democrats take a strong Lobbyist reform stance, this issue just doesn't hit home like the first three do.

Ok, on this one I think he's just trying to talk himself into believing this B.S.

Yes, It's true that Former White House procurement Officer David Safavian isn't running for anything, he's in jail for accepting bribes.

It's true that Former White House Adviser Claude Allen isn't running - he's in jail, (or possibly out on bail by now) pending his shoplifting trial.

It's true that "Duke" Cunningham isn't running in November - he's in jail too.

Former House Majority Tom Delay isn't running either - because he's probably going to jail in Texas.

But Rep Bob Ney, who is heavily linked to Abramoff and Scanlon is running. Bill Frist is being investigated for Securities fraud, and he's running .

Meanwhile, the number of current Democratic Leaders who are already in jail or on the verge of going to jail because of a current criminal or Grand Jury Investigations : ZERO!

Speaking of those who are running - all but three Republican members of Congress (Tom Osborn-NE, Chris Shays-CT & Mark Kirk-IL) have direct financial ties to Tom Delay, who has been charged with Money Laundering in connection with Texas Campaign Finance Laws. And also let's not forget the continuing allegations of Delay's and Abramoff's involvement in the Saipan Sweat-Shops, Sex Trade and Forced Abortions - all with the complicity of the Republian Congress - one good high profile story in this should keep lots of the Rapture Right home this Novemeber.

IMO it simply won't be so easy to completely disavowed the corrupt and partisan nature of the K-Street Project and how this had led directly to the passage of the Bankruptcy Bill and Medicaid Part-(De)form.

I feel that True Campaign Reform requires an entirely new tact. Simply addressing the supply by tightening the screws and attempting to chase the money via McCain/Feingold simply isn't enough. We need completly public funding of political campaigns to take away the demand for those contributions, illicit or not. Connecticut has already passed legislation in this area for Statewide offices, but I think that we need to go a step further nationally. We need to provide free and equal airtime to all candidates to public office, the cost of which can be offset via a Tax Credit for all participating broadcasters. The idea is that the money won't have to come directly from the campaigns - and officers holders won't have to spend 70% of their time chasing donations, they might actually have time to govern. Maybe they could even take time read a bill before they vote on it. Politicians could still accept contributions, they just won't need as much and Broadcasters who currently depend on campaign advertising money will instead have it credited against their corporate taxes so they won't lose any actual revenue as long as they air all competeting ads equally. Again, a Win/Win proposal that Democrats are just inches away from (See Rahm and Kerry) while Republicans aren't even in the building.

Dems have the ideas - we just need to be bold with them.

Even if we aren't I think our chances look great in November except for three things that our Red-Stater didn't mention.

DIEBOLD. ES&S. and SEQUOIA.

Whether you're a tin-foil hatter or not, detailed works like Mark Crispin Miller's Fooled Again, make it quite clear that the greatest danger to Dems losing in November aren't any of these issues -- it's fraud in the election process itself.

Yes, Dems need to do more than simply bitch and complain - they can't afford to be complacent with the fate and soul of our Nation at stake - they need to put forth bold proposals such as the Real Security Plan, but neither can they expect that they're going to automatically get a fair shake behind the ballot box either. E-voting Whistle-blower after Whistle-blower have come forward, while we fight them in the courts.

Dems need to do everthing they can to fight for fair and accurate elections in each and every race in each and every state - or else suffer the fate of inaction.

2006 isn't their election to win, it's ours to lose.

Vyan

Wednesday, April 26

The New McCarthyism : Leak and Purge

"Leaking" have become a very strange thing in the last few weeks. A term with amazing elasticity and pliability.

We've had the two-year long Plame-Leak Investigation - which continues to drag on and on, sending one worthless shill reporter to jail and apparently even linking to the VP and President themselves, as it was revealed that they "Declassified" and leaked NIE information - using the special double super-secret handshake procedure - in order to "clarify the record".

We've had revelations that Senator Pat Roberts, one of the most ardent critics of classified leaks, himself leaked classified information just prior to the start of the Iraq war.

And then we've had the case of Mary McCarthy, who in a matter of a few days has gone from "Traitor", to "Whistle-blower", and now possibly "Scape-goat".

What a web we weave, eh?

Almost as soon as it was announced and discovered that the former CIA Assistant Inspector General Mary McCarthy had been fired for leaking information about our Secret Prisons in Eastern Europe most of the mainstream media presumed that she must of been guilty, and had most likely confessed.

WASHINGTON - In a rare occurrence, the CIA fired an officer who acknowledged giving classified information to a reporter, NBC News learned Friday.

The officer flunked a polygraph exam before being fired on Thursday and is now under investigation by the Justice Department, NBC has learned.

Intelligence sources tell NBC News the accused officer, Mary McCarthy, worked in the CIA's inspector general's office and had worked for the National Security Council under the Clinton and and George W. Bush administrations.

Meanwhile Faux-Liberal Juan Williams stepped up to call what McCarthy (allegedly) did an "act of honor".

BRIT HUME: That is not an exercise simply of First Amendment rights. This was a violation of her oath and her responsibility.
CHRIS WALLACE: All right. I'm going to...
JUAN WILLIAMS: Let me -- no, let me...
CHRIS WALLACE: No, no, no. No.
WILLIAMS: Let me just quickly respond.
Brit, she took a risk. She was very aware of what she had signed. She is now bearing the cost of having broken that pledge.
WALLACE: So this is an act of conscience?
WILLIAMS: And so in that sense, yes, I do believe it's an act of honor.
So while Williams is painting McCarthy as a martyr of conscience, on the extreme wing-bat side of the world, they were practically giddy with glee - FreeRepublic and Michael Malkin (links offered for the brave and/or foolhardy only) have even tried to link McCarthy to Joe Wilson questioning whether she may have approved his Niger trip based on a so-called "Portolio Overlap".

Mary McCarthy: ... began her government service as an analyst, then manager, in CIA's Directorate of Intelligence, holding positions in both African and Latin American analysis. [I think this was 1984 to 1991]. 1991 to 2001: National Security Council

Joe Wilson: U.S. Ambassador to the [African ]Gabonese Republic 1992 to 1995...
Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for African Affairs at the National Security Council from June 1997 until July 1998

Oooh, big coincidence. Yeah, like I guess they were both with the NSC for about a year then they must have also been secretly dating while Valerie was away doing Spy stuff!. (Haven't they run out of people to blame for Wilson's trip yet?) Ok, Let's just nip this nonesense in the bud by pointing out Joe didn't go to Niger until 2002, and that neither the NSC nor the CIA's Inspector General's Office had anything to do with it. First it was "Valerie sent him", now it's Mary? Which is it, because you can't have it both ways? Sheshhh.

Backing away slowly from the nutballs on the right -- we find that even the Washingtonpost had pretty much tried and convicted McCarthy in absentia.

A majority of CIA officers would probably "find the action taken [against McCarthy] correct," said a former senior intelligence official who said he had discussed the matter with former colleagues in the past day. "A small number might support her, but the ethic of the business is not to" leak, and instead to express one's dissenting views through internal grievance channels.

Sen. Pat (I can leak if I want to) Roberts was practically glowing is reaction to the report of McCarthy's firing.

Pat Roberts (R-Kan.), who chairs the Senate intelligence panel, welcomed the CIA's actions. In a statement, he said leaks had "hindered our efforts in the war against al Qaeda," although he did not say how.

"I am pleased that the Central Intelligence Agency has identified the source of certain unauthorized disclosures, and I hope that the agency, and the [intelligence] community as a whole, will continue to vigorously investigate other outstanding leak cases," Roberts said.

Then some actual facts started to come it as McCarthy , through her attorney, denied the charges that she leaked classified information or that she "flunked" the polygraph. Now former CIA analyst Larry Johnson - who was an aquaintance of McCarthy's - has pointed out that she never had access to the information in question.

In fact, there are some things about the case that puzzle me. For starters, Mary never worked on the Operations side of the house. In other words, she never worked a job where she would have had first hand operational knowledge about secret prisons. She worked the analytical side of the CIA and served with the National Intelligence Council. According to press reports, she subsequently worked at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) from 2001 thru 2005. That is a type of academic/policy wonk position and, again, would not put her in a position to know anything first hand about secret prisons.

To paraphrase Oliver Stone - it seems that the CIA's chief suspect couldn't have done the shoot!

If Larry Johnson knows this, it seems to me that most of the CIA brass know this. Mary just couldn't be the leaker - particularly since the Pulitzer Prize Winning Dana Priest Story in question used dozens of sources, so just what the hell is going on around here?

The current speculation is that McCarthy was purged for being a - gasp - a DEMOCRAT!

Stop waving that tin-foil hat at me - and check this from Newsday via From Crooks and Liars -

The White House has ordered the new CIA director, Porter Goss, to purge the agency of officers believed to have been disloyal to President George W. Bush or of leaking damaging information to the media about the conduct of the Iraq war and the hunt for Osama bin Laden, according to knowledgeable sources. "The agency is being purged on instructions from the White House," said a former senior CIA official who maintains close ties to both the agency and to the White House. "Goss was given instructions ... to get rid of those soft leakers and liberal Democrats. The CIA is looked on by the White House as a hotbed of liberals and people who have been obstructing the president's agenda." (emphasis added)

Miller415 also has a diary which makes this point - but I have to point out that this isn't a new phenomenon among the CIA, I blogged about the big flush going on at CIA back when Porter Goss was originally appointed.

At a time when the threat of terrorism has placed a premium on accurate intelligence, the White House is creating chaos at the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). The White House has ordered Bush's new CIA director, Porter Goss, "to purge the agency of officers believed to have been disloyal to President George W. Bush." According to a senior CIA official, the agency is planning to get rid of "liberals" and others who are perceived as "obstructing the president's agenda." Among career CIA officials, Goss's partisan agenda has created "an atmosphere of ill will and apprehension [that] could distract the agency from its work in the fight against terrorism."

GOSS INSTALLS POLITICAL CRONIES IN TOP CIA POSITIONS: Goss has installed inexperienced political operatives from Capitol Hill in powerful positions and "given [them] wide latitude in running the agency." A staffer from the House Intelligence Committee, Patrick Murray, is Goss's chief of staff, and two other House Republican aides have been installed "as senior advisors with broad but unspecified authority." Rep. Jane Harman attributed low morale at the CIA to the "inexperienced" House Intelligence Committee staff members Goss has placed in top positions. Harmon described the group as "highly partisan," saying, "many of us worked with that staff in the House...on both sides of the aisle in committee, we were happy to see them go." Goss initially named another aide, Michael J. Kostiw, as the CIA's No. 3 official. But Kostiw "quickly withdrew from considerations after former intelligence officials mentioned that he had resigned from the C.I.A. in the early 1980's after an administrative leave in connection with a shoplifting case."

Since polygraph testmony isn't admissible in court - how likely is there to be a prosecution unless the CIA has a lot more substantial evidence (which at this point I doubt they have)? And if McCarthy was indeed wrongly fired, isn't it convenient that she was just a week away from retirement - because if she sued for back pay and won, they'd only owe her for that last week wouldn't they? Talk about targetting the low hanging fruit.

From Larry Johnson's appearance on Countdown.

OLBERMANN: The subject of authorized versus unauthorized, this has become the black and white of the 21st century. Whoever the source of the “Washington Post” report was, is the worst transgression, in your eyes, leaking the existence of repurposed Soviet-era gulags into CIA prisons in Eastern Europe, or blowing the cover of a covert op like Valerie Plame Wilson?

JOHNSON: No intelligence capabilities were destroyed by the leak of the secret prisons. In fact, that came from multiple sources within the intelligence community who were alarmed that the United States was starting to engage in the very practices we used to condemn the Soviets for.

Whereas in the case of Valerie Wilson, not only was her cover destroyed, but an undercover company was destroyed. Intelligence assets that were involved with trying to determine, detect, and protect America against weapons of mass destruction, they were destroyed in that leak.

That was a case where the Bush White House participated in smearing and attacking innocent Americans. That‘s a far different thing, and I think far more heinous, than someone who tries to blow the whistle, or a group of somebodies, who blow the whistle on administration practices which take us down the road toward something that looks a lot like what we had when the Soviets were running gulags.

Is McCarthy's career and future employability being slow roasted on a spit for something she couldn't possibly have done while the Prez and Pat Roberts can apparently leak at will? Probably.

Was McCarthy fired for being a Democrat? Possibly not. Since the revelations have been coming fast and furious over this issue - the only thing we do know at this time, is that we really don't know what's going on. Yet. But it should be interesting finding out.

Vyan

Tuesday, April 25

I used to have Republican Friends...

Once upon a time, back in those halcyon days when I used to be a devout Centrist, I had Republican Friends. I had Liberal Friends too, and we would debate vigorously the issues of the day and the time. I loved a good politlcal debate with opposing views. I remember, way back in the 90's, when one Republican Friend became so upset with Bill Clinton over the "Gays in the Military" thing -- not because he tried to change the discrimination that was (and is) in place, but because he didn't talk about it during the campaign. I pointed out that he did talk about it, in fact he made up his mind to do it on tv - during the MTV News "Choose or Lose" Townhall meeting. My Friend responded - "MTV Has News?"

Yeah, it used to. Ah, those were the days...

And that time is long gone.

I can't count the number of Republicans who I used to call friends, even close ones, and aquintances that I simply don't associate with anymore. It's not just a divide over policy, I've begun to realize that it's a divide in thinking processes.

Although President Bush's current approval have finally reached the sub-artic level of 32%, and that only four states currently have him at 50% of better approval. There still remains the phenomenon, as shown in other polls, that among Republicans President Bush's approval remains at approx 66% -- well over twice the national average, how is that possible?

Even though Democrats and Independants see this Presidency as a near total disaster his approval among rank and file Republicans, not just the wing-bats, neo-cons and Kool-aid afficionados, remains high.

This obviously pathological state of denial is why I can't talk to these people anymore.

Regardless of each and every new revelation from Tyler Drumheller and the White House Memos which show that the WMD evidence was thin and grossly exaggerated - these people insist that we went into Iraq for other reasons, and that it's still a "Noble Cause". Never mind that none of those reasons seem to be included in the Iraq Force Resolution.

I vividly remember challenging one ex-friend about a year and a half ago about the WMD's. My position - Saddam simply didn't have them anymore and our invasion was unjustified. His position - well, where'd they go? Me - "I don't know. But we've had plenty of time to search and they aren't in Iraq." Him - "Maybe they went to Syria" Me - "There's no evidence of that, but they aren't in Iraq - you think we should chase them into Syria without any evidence?". Him - "Sure, why not - take 'em all out."

It was like debating with a 2-year-old.

Hello - McFly - No weapons here, no weapons there - time to put the Abram's Tank back in the barn.

Another one, just a couple months ago actually tried to defend the Smear Boat Veterans to me, arguing that John Kerry "admitted to having committed and witnessing atrocities in Vietnam", his point being that it was his responsibility to report these to his superior officer. Me - "What makes you think he didn't - and What makes you think that officer listened to him?" He also tried to argue that flying a plane (In the Texas Air National Guard?) was more difficult and complicated than piloting a boat (in the Mekong Delta!) and therefore George Bush was smarter and more prepared to be the Military's Commander-in-Chief than a Decorated War Vet/Hero like John Kerry.

I pretty much hit the roof when he told me Kerry still hadn't released his Military Records (he had) and that the best place to find all of Bush's service information was at Free Republic!!!

Even after sending him email proof supporting each and every one of my points - he was still arguing with me.

Can you see why I can't talk to these people? It's maddening.

I eventually realized that this is just a political cognitive disfunction, this skip-logic and arrogant ignorance was part of their state of being. They desperately needed to believe this shit.

For many people it's just one issue. Either it's taxes or it's abortion. They don't seem to notice that Bush's version of tax cut is probably never going to do them any good in the short term, and that in the long term is simply going to force the kind of record-breaking tax hike that both Ronald Reagan and G.H.W. Bush implemented in their time. With the rising deficits it creates, it's merely a tax shift, a loan with interest, not a tax cut.

They don't seem to notice that these abortions under Bush are on the rise, and that puritanical abstinence-only sex ed plans don't work, and that 88% of the kids who take these pledges to abstain from premarital sex - break the pledge within 18 months. No only do they have premarital sex, they're having PORN STAR sex, oral and anal without condoms, because they're been made so deathly afriad of pregnancy and haven't been properly educated on STD transmission on contraceptive use.

But the worst, are the armchair militarists - like my two ex-friends above - who haven't served in the military for a single minute their entire lives, but think - thanks to SOCOM II - that they know everything there is to know about warfare. Y'know the type, you're basic blowhard meatbrain bully hiding behind the beedy eyes of a spindly techno-geek.

They probably both figure it's high-time to simply turn Iran into one big shining sheet of glass with a few Nukes.

Maybe there are people who can, but I can't abide this lunacy and remain calm and civil.

Not after months of ignoring all the warnings about Al Qaeda.
Not after 7 Minutes of My Pet Goat!
Not after Abu Graib.
Not after revelations about NSA Domestic Spying and Our Foreign Gulags.
Not after the use of White-Phosphorus in Fallujah on civilians.
Not after the deliberate outing of Valerie Plame-Wilson's cover to perpetuate a lie.
Not after Amnesty International. Called for Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld to be investigated, arrested and tried for International War Crimes.
Not after $10 Billion a Month in Iraq.
Not after the incompetence that led to the Flu Vaccine Shortage.
Not after the indictments of Tom Delay, Michael Scanlon, David Safavian, "Duke" Cunningham and Jack Abramoff.
Not after Hurrican Katrina and it's sad ongoing aftermath of callous cronyism.
Not after Cheney -Popped A Cap in some Dudes Dome!
Not after the latest Bin Laden Tape - yeah, that's right MR-Dead-Or-Alive speaks yet again, still very Alive and very Free.
Not after $4 a Gallon - Again!

I can't abide it, and I can't abide the endless denials and excuses for it.

There is no excuse for this bullshit.

We have to realize that Bush himself isn't the real problem here, he's merely a symptom of an American sickness, a deep pathological psychosis, that has been there for a long time. Rooted in Cold-war facism it's grown and spread - linked itself with the Radical Neo-Con Warhawks and Rapturist Fundamentalism. (It's not a coincidence that the "Left Behind" series is runaway a best seller - many people want to "Believe")

If we Dems fixate ourselves on Bush, we'll ignore all these people, these 66% of Republicans who despite all the clear and obvious evidence of the incompetency and malice of this administration who continue to support it with every breath, we'll completely miss the big picture. We aren't fighting with Bush - we're fighting over the heart and soul of this nation with Them.

We on this site and many others are fighting to protect "All men are created equal", "Equal Protection of the Laws", "Cruel and Unusual Punishment", "Seperation of Church and State", and of course accountability and the True Seperation of Powers. All of these tenets are merely inconvenient platitudes to them. We can't afford to forget that we are on the right and correct side of history here, they are not.

These are the same people who bought everything Ken Starr had to say about Bill Clinton. They believed everything they heard about Vince Foster being murdered, about Clinton running a drug smuggling ring out of Arkansas while bedding three hookers and raping two others every other night.

All of it - total crap.

Many of these people are very smart, and very inteliigent.

But that only means they're even more dangerous, not more reasonable.

Forewarned is forearmed. Let the battle rage on.

Vyan

Monday, April 24

TPM : Whitewashing the Intelligence

If you didn't see it, you need to stop now and go the CBS Website to review the interview with ex-CIA Europe Chief Tyler Drumheller from yesterday's 60 Minutes.


"It just sticks in my craw every time I hear them say it's an intelligence failure. It's an intelligence failure. This was a policy failure," Drumheller tells Bradley.

Drumheller was the CIA's top man in Europe, the head of covert operations there, until he retired a year ago. He says he saw firsthand how the White House promoted intelligence it liked and ignored intelligence it didn't:

"The idea of going after Iraq was U.S. policy. It was going to happen one way or the other," says Drumheller.

Josh Marshall at Talking Points Memo has apparently done a follow-up interview with Drumheller and in it he asked the oh-so-obvious questions, did you talk to the Robb-Silberman Commission and the Senate Select Committee about what you saw the White House doing?

And he answered - "Yes."

From TPM


(snip)

I just got off the phone with Drumheller. But before we get to that, let's run down the key points in the story.

(snip)

The White House, as Drumheller relates it, was really excited to hear what Sabri would reveal about the inner-workings of Saddam's regime, and particularly about any WMD programs. That is, before Sabri admitted that Saddam didn't have any active programs. Then they lost interest. Now, if you didn't see the episode you can catch most of the key facts in this story at the 60 Minutes website. But here's an angle I'm not sure we're going to hear much about.

Drumheller's account is pretty probative evidence on the question of whether the White House politicized and cherry-picked the Iraq intelligence. So why didn't we hear about any of this in the reports of those Iraq intel commissions that have given the White House a clean bill of health on distorting the intel and misleading the country about what we knew about Iraq's alleged WMD programs? Think about it. It's devastating evidence against their credibility on a slew of levels. Did you read in any of those reports -- even in a way that would protect sources and methods -- that the CIA had turned a key member of the Iraqi regime, that that guy had said there weren't any active weapons programs, and that the White House lost interest in what he was saying as soon as they realized it didn't help the case for war?

What about what he said about the Niger story? Did the Robb-Silverman Commission not hear about what Drumheller had to say? What about the Roberts Committee? I asked Drumheller just those questions when I spoke to him early this evening. He was quite clear. He was interviewed by the Robb-Silverman Commission. Three times apparently. Did he tell them everything he revealed on tonight's 60 Minutes segment. Absolutely. Drumheller was also interviewed twice by the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence (the Roberts Committee) but apparently only after they released their summer 2004 report.

(snip)

"I was stunned," Drumheller told me, when so little of the stuff he had told the commission's and the committee's investigators ended up in their reports. His colleagues, he said, were equally "in shock" that so little of what they related ended up in the reports either.

Although we've already heard about this exact same scenario from the Downing Street Memos for nearly a year. Although we've already had confirmation via Downing Street II (Where Bush told Tony Blair that the lack of WMD Evidence "Didn't matter").

[Updated: This IMO is even worse than Downing Street, because it shows the complicit actions of the Republican Controlled Rubber-Stamp Senate, with strong implications for 2006, and even 2008.]

Current Republican Presidential Front-Runner, Senator John McCain, who was a member of the Robb-Silberman commission has repeatedly said that he "Looked those CIA analysts in the eye and asked if they felt pressure from the White House - and they said, 'No'" - is apparently a God-Damn Liar.

[Update II From Comments: And let's not forget that the question of "Pressure" is a strong-man argument in the first place. The analysts weren't pressured to change their assesments - their assessment were simply ignored if they didn't fit the WH Spin. "The facts were being shaped around the policy"... and the Policy was War and Regime Change.]

So how's that next shot at the Presidency going to look for McCain now that he's been shown to have been involved in a cover-up to protect the Bush Administration from the consquences of manipulating intelligence information that led us into an unjust and unwarranted war?

Vyan