Archive for October, 2005

Scooter Scoots Out After Indictment

Friday, October 28th, 2005

Lewis Libby, a senior aide to Vice President Dick Cheney who was indicted in the CIA leak investigation, has resigned and left the White House, White House spokesman Scott McClellan said on Friday.

Libby resigned “earlier today, it was accepted, and he is no longer at the White House,” McClellan told reporters.

“We’ll have more to say after the special counsel has his press availability,” he said. Special counsel Patrick Fitzgerald planned to hold a news conference at 2 p.m. EDT.

Libby submitted his letter of resignation earlier on Friday, McClellan said.

Libby was indicted on five criminal counts of obstruction of justice, perjury and making false statements after a two-year investigation into the leak of a covert CIA operative’s identity.

Sandra, Retire in Florida

Friday, October 28th, 2005

Stream of Consciousness
A Column by A.F. Greenwood
Oklahoma City, OK

Well, we all know who is running the government now.

The brush cutter from Crawford, Texas looks much like one of the Muppets or Howdy Doody now. One also wonders if there is a hand coming from below or whether all the strings are being pulled from the outside.

If the Texan gets his information from below or from Rove maybe we will find out if the leak inquiry gets really down and dirty. Many times Mr. Bush has said “I make my own decisions, I do not feel the outside pressure.” Well, someone must has pulled the right money string. Bye, bye Harriet.

Poor Harriet, why didn’t they tell her how to dress. Her dress colors might have been too loud plus the conservatives felt she had forgotten how to talk. Did anyone ever hear her speak? Was her life that shallow? If her life was a little lacking, then she must be doing a heckuva job pulling the cowboy hat over her boss’s eyes; after all, he says she is worldly. I wonder if her college background made a difference, not Ivy League.

I have to think poor Harriet deserved a shot at the hearings anyway.

I wonder if the President will have to call the far right wing when it is time to ask someone else to be humiliated by their own party.

The pressure and the clatter from all his “friends” must have run him out of Dodge. He has gone to Florida to see his brother and the heckuva job FEMA is doing once again. People are lined up just for ice and water and seem to be having trouble getting it. There is very little infrastructure damage with the exception of the lack of power. The military have very large generators which are mobile.

Here’s an idea: Get these machines down there. JUST DO IT.

Remember all you Floridians, how did you vote?

By the way, you must conserve. One reason is it costs all of us approximately $20,000 for that ride down to see that the lights are off in his brother’s state.

Go Sandra, stay there.

Brownie’s Concern: Getting to Eat in a Restaurant

Thursday, October 27th, 2005

Brownie: What a jerk–have you read the emails about what he was doing while New Orleans was awash in disaster?

“I just ate an MRE (meal ready to eat) and crapped in the hallway of the Superdome along with 30,000 other close friends so I understand her concern about busy restaurants,” Mr Bahamonde emailed a colleague from the Superdome.

Damage Control, Part 1

Thursday, October 27th, 2005

In an effort to prevent a full month of worse news, Bush gets Miers to drop out of Supreme Court consideration. Now he can focus on getting Karl Rove, Scooter Libby and Dick Cheney’s nuts out of a vice.

Our advice to our dimwit president: pick a moderate for the Court. Don’t be such an arrogant dumb ass.

Secondly, fire Rove and Libby as soon as indictments are handed down. Nixon knew how to handle such things.
Third, tell Cheney to resign. Then pick a human to be your Veep.

Or…what the hell…just be yourself. Do it the way you always do…it will only help us retake the House in 2006…

Isn’t it great that the grownups are now in charge?

Indictments Will Seal Lame Duck Status

Thursday, October 27th, 2005

Republicans outside the White House are pleading with Bush to act quickly and decisively if aides are indicted. “What is of most concern is that the president handle it properly — that he ask [officials who are indicted] to step down; that he not vacillate, not equivocate; that he be decisive,” said Rep. Christopher Shays (R-Conn.), a leading Republican moderate.

“Changing the subject will not work,” said David Gergen, a former aide to Presidents Reagan and Clinton. “Giving more speeches about Iraq or the state of the economy doesn’t have the weight that action does…. It’s dangerous for the country to have a disabled president for three years, and we’re getting close to seeing that happen. I worry that they [Bush and his aides] are in denial.”

The Spin on Cheney’s Lies

Wednesday, October 26th, 2005

A little Q & A about lies and dissembling (or is that disassembling?) with the White House mouthpiece, Scott McClellan…

Q Scott, a couple of years ago, you told us that Scooter Libby and Karl Rove had nothing to do with the CIA leak. It appears that you may have gotten bad information before you made that statement. Now, today, we learn through extrapolation that when the Vice President said in September of 2003 that he didn’t know who said Joe Wilson to Niger to investigate the claims that Iraq was trying to buy yellow cake, that he was not speaking the truth. My question is: Can we be confident that when we hear statements from the White House in public that they are truthful?

MR. McCLELLAN: I think you can because you know that our relationship is built on trust, and I have earned that trust with you all. As you pointed out, you pointed back to some past comments that I gave and I’ve talked to you about the assurances that I received on that.

In terms of the investigation, it is an ongoing investigation. The policy of this White House has been to carry out the direction of the President, which is to cooperate fully with the special prosecutor. That means not commenting on it publicly from here at the White House. There is a lot of speculation that is going on right now. There are many facts that are not known. The work of the special prosecutor continues, and we look forward to him successfully concluding his investigation.

Q But in terms of public trust, if it is true that Scooter Libby learned of Valerie Plame’s identity from Vice President Cheney in June of 2003, would that not mean then that the Vice President made a false statement three months later when he said he didn’t know who sent Wilson to Niger?

MR. McCLELLAN: I appreciate that. A couple of things. One, the question you bring up is relating to a matter that is under investigation. And secondly, as I pointed out, there is a great deal of speculation that is going on right now, and I would urge you not to engage in that speculation. But certainly, you are pursuing this story as you should. We will wait to see what the special prosecutor does and learn more about the facts at that point.

Q Are you not commenting on whether this report is accurate or not? Will you comment?

MR. McCLELLAN: No, I’m not going to comment because it’s relating to an ongoing investigation; the story that you’re referencing relates to an ongoing investigation.

Q Given the fact that the Vice President did say publicly in September of 2003 that he never knew about Joe Wilson or who sent him, as John points out, and now there appears to be information to contradict that, how do you explain that contradiction?

MR. McCLELLAN: Again, there’s an ongoing investigation. There are many facts that are not known. I would encourage you not to engage in speculation. And on top of that, if there’s any additional information that the Vice President’s Office wants to provide you, you can direct questions there. But the policy of this White House has been not to comment on this investigation while it’s ongoing. And it has been that way for some time.

Q Does that mean that if you had information that could help clear this up and perhaps make it look like something other than what it is, which is a contradiction, would you provide that, or would you hold that just because you don’t want to —

MR. McCLELLAN: Well, I said — I mean, if you want to ask any more from the Vice President’s Office, you’re welcome to do that, but —

Q Have you done that?

MR. McCLELLAN: — our policy has been that this is an ongoing investigation, we’re not going to comment on it. The special prosecutor is the one that has been gathering the facts related to it. But just because I’m not commenting on it doesn’t mean you should read anything into that one way or the other.

Q Have you attempted to clarify it with the Vice President’s Office?

MR. McCLELLAN: No, this is an ongoing investigation, and what the President directed us to do was to cooperate fully with the special prosecutor. And so, as part of doing that, we’ve been carrying out the President’s direction from the White House. That means — we’re not doing that ourselves, the special prosecutor is doing that.

Q So that’s, no, you have not sought clarification?

MR. McCLELLAN: So, no — no.

Q Does Vice President always tell the truth to the American people?

MR. McCLELLAN: Yes.

Q The President then stands by the Vice President’s account in September of —

MR. McCLELLAN: I think it’s a — frankly, I think it’s a ridiculous question, Terry, because —

Q Well, no, we now have reports that there are documents that directly contradict the public statement of the Vice President of the United States.

MR. McCLELLAN: Reports. The Vice President, like the President, is a straightforward, plainspoken person.

Q One other question on Vice President Cheney. Has he met with Senator McCain and asked Senator McCain to exempt the CIA from the amendment that Senator McCain is attaching that is the so-called “anti-torture” amendment? Does the administration want to exempt the CIA from the restrictions —

MR. McCLELLAN: Well, as a member of the — as the leader of the United States Senate, the Vice President engages in conversations with members of the Senate on a regular basis. In terms of the issue you bring up, I think we’ve made our views known through a statement of administration policy.

In terms of the broader issue that some of the news reports raise, I think the President has made our position very clear. We do not condone torture, nor would he ever authorize the use of torture. We have an obligation to abide by our laws and our treaty obligations, and that’s what we do. That is our policy.

Q And the Senate is moving to pass a law that would affirm, confirm, and enforce that commitment. Does the administration want the CIA exempted from that law?

MR. McCLELLAN: And we’ve stated our views on that amendment. The House passed a different version of the Department of Defense spending legislation. The Senate included some language on that. We’ll be working with congressional leaders as they move forward to pass that legislation.

Q I don’t get it. Is that a yes or a no?

MR. McCLELLAN: I’m not going to get into discussions that we’re having with congressional leaders about how to move forward on the legislation.

Q You’ve already said the President is going to veto anything that would exempt us from torture. You have — this White House demeans —

MR. McCLELLAN: No, that’s not correct, that’s —

Q — you demean all Americans when you support torture. And your answer is so fuzzy —

MR. McCLELLAN: No, Helen, our answer is very clear, and that’s flat-out wrong what you’re suggesting, because this President has made it very clear what our policy is —

Q Didn’t you say that he would veto any part of that legislation of defense spending?

MR. McCLELLAN: We did express our views on that legislation, but it is not the way you characterized it, because there are laws and treaty obligations that are on the books. We adhere to those laws and treaty obligations.

Q No, you don’t. You are supporting torture.

MR. McCLELLAN: You are wrong. This is a — the United States is a country that —

Q Is the story in the paper today wrong?

MR. McCLELLAN: — believes in adhering to our laws and our values. And we do. And this President believes in abiding by our laws and our treaty obligations.

Q Why do we keep reading about torture then?

MR. McCLELLAN: Well, if you’ll let me respond, I will. The President has made it very clear that he does not condone torture, nor would he ever authorize the use of torture —

Q Condone it, but does he allow it?

MR. McCLELLAN: — and our policy is to comply with our laws and our treaty obligations. That’s what we expect everyone to do. If there are ever instances of wrongdoing, we investigate and we follow through and hold people accountable.

Q That’s not the point. He should —

MR. McCLELLAN: Sure it is.

Q — come out flatly and say he was against torture.

MR. McCLELLAN: He has.

Go ahead.

Q The President didn’t say when the troops might come home. Do the elections in December offer you an opportunity to take another look at this?

MR. McCLELLAN: Well, part of our strategy is to support the Iraqi people as they move forward on their political process. Another part of our strategy is to train and equip the Iraqi security forces. The President outlined our strategy today and the progress that we’re making on that strategy. It’s important that we continue to support the Iraqi people as they take steps to build a lasting democracy. And they took another important step just recently when they voted in large numbers. The preliminary information from the Iraqi election commission was some 63 percent; we’ll see what those final tallies are, but I think it’s clear to everyone that were a large number of Iraqis that participated, including a significant number of Sunnis. And the numbers were well above what they were in January. So that’s a very positive and encouraging sign. And as we move forward on the political process, that will help defeat the terrorists who seek to prevent democracy from taking hold.

There is important progress being made. As the President pointed out, there are difficulties and challenges that remain. And that’s why the international community must continue to stand firmly behind the Iraqi people as they move forward on elections in December, and as they continue to move forward on building a brighter future.

Q So after those elections in December you might be able to look at bringing the troops home?

MR. McCLELLAN: Well, again, the President doesn’t believe in artificial time lines. It will be based on circumstances on the ground. As we stand up Iraqi forces, we will stand down coalition and American forces. The commanders on the ground have recently briefed the American people and the members of Congress about the progress that were making on that strategy. It’s a very clearly defined strategy. It’s a strategy for success and victory in Iraq. And the Iraqi people are showing through their courage and determination that they want a free and democratic and peaceful future, and we’re going to continue to support them as they move forward on that.

One other thing. It was a good indication in the recent elections that the level of violence was down from where it was in — around the January elections.

Q Scott, last week there was a story in The New York Daily News, I think, that you — the question is accuracy — a question about — or a story about the President dressing down Karl Rove. So it would not be inconsistent if you thought that The New York Times story was inaccurate for you to say that?

MR. McCLELLAN: Again, I’m just not going to have further comment on an ongoing investigation, and I indicated that at that time, as well.

Q Can you give us — I have to ask — do you know if the Vice President talked to the President about Plame, or if the President may have talked to Tenet, himself, about Plame?

MR. McCLELLAN: Again, I appreciate the question, and it’s relating to an ongoing investigation. You need to direct questions to the special prosecutor.

Q But can you clear this up, though? You said that the Vice President always was truthful with the American people; yet here we have the appearance of an untruthful statement, based on this reported memo.

MR. McCLELLAN: I think it’s a ridiculous suggestion in the first place, John. That’s what I was responding to.

Washington Waits

Wednesday, October 26th, 2005

Suzanne Malveaux told Lou Dobbs on CNN last night: “One insider says Mr. Bush is ready for the outcome. His feeling being, whatever it is, let’s get on with it . . . .

“Should the president’s top political adviser, Karl Rove, or the vice president’s chief of staff, Scooter Libby, be indicted, insiders say it is widely assumed they will resign immediately, and trusted aides will move in to fill the void. The president will make a brief statement citing the legal process that is ongoing, and the White House and its friends will make a dramatic pivot to change the subject and move forward. . . .

“While one White House insider says losing Karl Rove would be a devastating blow to the president, Mr. Bush thinks that his own ability and authority derives from his policies; that Rove is an extension of the president, not a puppet master, that the administration can move forward on its long-term agenda, including tax reform and immigration.”

Rove Did It

Thursday, October 20th, 2005

CNN.com - CIA leak: Sources point to Rove-Libby contacts - Oct 20, 2005

WASHINGTON (AP) — Top White House aides Karl Rove and I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby discussed their contacts with reporters about an undercover CIA officer in the days before her identity was published, the first known intersection between two central figures in the criminal leak investigation.

Quote of the Week

Wednesday, October 19th, 2005

From Capitol Hill Blue:

Right-wingers consider God one of their own. They invoke the deity’s name often, usually by misquoting the Bible or misconstruing a religious intent in a lame attempt to justify their actions. Bush even claims God told him to invade Iraq and says God has spoken to him – a vision that may be more the result of an alcohol-induced haze than any actual divine intervention.

Worst Fed Chief Ever?

Tuesday, October 18th, 2005

MSN Money - Greenspan: The worst Fed chief ever

Alan Greenspan gave a speech recently titled “Economic Flexibility.” It should have been called “Damn, I’m Good,” because the world’s biggest serial bubble blower — and most incompetent, irresponsible Fed chairman of all time — tried to rewrite history. My column today will endeavor to set the record straight.

At least he was nice enough to organize his speech so that the majority of objectionable material fell into seven or eight consecutive paragraphs, as he tried to set up Ben Bernanke (his likely successor) to be the fall guy for all of the problems that Greenspan and the rest of the yes-men at the Fed have precipitated.

The India of the Western World

Tuesday, October 18th, 2005

Guest Editorial

By A.F. Greenwood
Oklahoma City, OK

After seeing the problems the Republican conservatives are having, it is abundantly true that they are only human. Human they are– but also greedy. They tell false stories and it seems they don’t know the difference between pushing hard on politics and actually doing harm to people only to get their way.

I am all for hardball politics, but it is not right to do harm to other Americans. Especially those in the military, diplomatic service or in the intelligence community.

It seems certain people feel that it is their destiny to be the God of our country. The last time I checked there was only one true immortal being. As the Party in control at the present it is their responsibly to guide the country in a positive direction. This includes using the military in our interest, not to just enhance the profit margin of some elite corporations.

By the way I wonder how long it took them to find the participants in the last news conference with the military: “I like you Mr. Bush.”

I see now that these great viewers of the future are once again going to put the burden of health care costs on the middle class. The company which 20 years ago was the number 1 corporation in our country is now ranked 119 in sales. Do you know which is number 1 now? Well you guessed it, an energy company.

WHO is paving the way for them?

WHO is the party in power?

WHAT Party’s Vice President is a former board chairman of an oil company?

Oh yes, that company is now moved ahead of GM in the ranking of American Companies. It’s a real shame that the middle class Americans continue to move downward in jobs and money earned. We are not too far from becoming the India of the Western World. The rich continue to become richer and the upper class continues to push down the working class.

Good Bye and Good Luck.

But He’s a Uniter, Not A Divider!!!

Thursday, October 13th, 2005

Bush approval dips below 40 percent
NBC-WSJ poll shows only 28 percent believe U.S. headed in right direction

By Mark Murray
Political reporter
NBC News
Updated: 9:46 a.m. ET Oct. 13, 2005

WASHINGTON - It has been weeks since Hurricane Katrina slammed into the Gulf Coast; since gas prices began spiking to record highs; and since Cindy Sheehan, whose son was killed in Iraq, held her antiwar vigil outside President Bush’s Texas ranch. But, according to the latest NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll, the fortunes of the Bush administration and the Republican Party have not yet begun to recover.

For the first time in the poll, Bush’s approval rating has sunk below 40 percent, while the percentage believing the country is heading in the right direction has dipped below 30 percent. In addition, a sizable plurality prefers a Democratic-controlled Congress, and just 29 percent think Supreme Court nominee Harriet Miers is qualified to serve on the nation’s highest court.

“Any way you slice this data, I think these are just terrible sets of numbers,” said Democratic pollster Peter D. Hart, who conducted this survey with Republican pollster Bill McInturff.

The poll shows that Bush’s approval rating stands at 39 percent, a new low for the president. In the last NBC/Wall Street Journal survey, which was released in mid-September, 40 percent approved of Bush’s job performance while 55 percent disapproved. In addition, just 28 percent believe the country is headed in the right direction, another all-time low in Bush’s presidency.

Strikingly, much has happened in the time between those two polls — many of them seemingly positive events for the White House. The president delivered a prime-time speech from New Orleans, in which he promised to rebuild the Gulf Coast. He also made several more visits to the region, to examine the damage caused by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. Furthermore, he saw the Senate confirm John Roberts to the Supreme Court, and he nominated Miers, his White House counsel, to replace retiring Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor.

‘Huge question mark’ on Miers
The Miers nomination, however, has disappointed some of the president’s conservative supporters, because they say she lacks judicial experience and a clear conservative record on social issues. According to the poll, 29 percent say she’s qualified to serve on the Supreme Court, while 24 percent think she’s unqualified. Forty-six percent say they don’t know enough about her.

“There is nothing to suggest that people have turned on her,” Hart said. “But there is just a huge question mark behind her at this stage. She has to establish her own bona fides.”

The poll, which has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.4 percentage points and which was conducted from Oct. 8-10 of 807 adults, also finds that strong majorities don’t believe that the recent charges against GOP leaders Tom DeLay of Texas and Bill Frist of Tennessee are politically motivated. Sixty-five percent say that DeLay’s indictment on charges of illegally using corporate contributions for political campaigns suggests potential illegal activity, while 24 percent say the indictment is politics as usual and has little merit. (Since his indictment, DeLay stepped down from his leadership position but still plays a prominent role in the U.S. House of Representatives.)

Meanwhile, 57 percent say Frist’s sale of stock in a company his family runs — just before the value of the stock declined — indicates potential illegal activity, compared with 28 percent who say the charge has little merit.

48 percent want Democratic-controlled Congress
In addition, with 13 months until the 2006 congressional elections, 48 percent say they prefer a Democratic-controlled Congress, compared with 39 percent who want the Republicans to control Capitol Hill. In fact, that nine-point difference is the largest margin between the parties in the 11 years the NBC/Journal poll has been tracking this question.

But Hart argues that Democrats aren’t necessarily responsible for this margin. “It is not that Democrats have done so well,” he said. “It is that people are disgusted.” McInturff puts it this way: “People are very turned off and unhappy with the state of play in American politics.”

People also seem to be turned off and unhappy with high gas prices. According to the survey, 69 percent believe the worst is still to come with energy and fuel prices. Just 25 percent think the worst is behind us.

Because of this generally sour attitude, the NBC/Journal pollsters doubt that Bush will be able to climb out of his standing anytime soon. “His trampoline [is] made of cement,” Hart said.

And while McInturff thinks that Bush’s approval rating actually may actually hover between 40 and 45 percent, he says that’s still problematic terrain from which to govern. “It is a very difficult place to be.”

Mark Murray covers politics for NBC News.
URL: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/9672058/