Tuesday, July 3, 2007

A Memo for David Brooks

From: Copy Desk
To: David Brooks
July 3, 2007

Mr. Brooks, our apologies. There was a snafu yesterday, and we neglected to send you the edited version of your latest column, which contained several queries from us. What appeared in the paper in today's Times was the copy you initially filed--with all those queries obviously unaddressed. Again, we apologize for the error and hope this did not cause you any trouble or embarrassment. For the record, below is the marked-up version of your column.


In retrospect, Plamegate was a farce in five acts. The first four were scabrous, disgraceful and absurd. Justice only reared its head at the end. [Powerful opening. Setting the bar high. Must be proved.]

The drama opened, as these dark comedies are wont to do, with a strutting little peacock who went by the unimaginative name of Joe Wilson. [Pot calling kettle back, Mr. Brooks? Besides, do most "dark comedies" open with plain-named birds. Query Mr. Rich?]

Mr. Wilson claimed that his wife had nothing to do with his trip to investigate Iraqi purchases in Niger, though that seems not to have been the case. [Chronology problem? Mr. Wilson did not "open" this "comedy" with such a claim. He began the episode by publishing an op-ed--on the very same page your column appears--that accused the administration of having "twisted" the prewar intelligence. The issue of his wife's involvement in his mission to Iraq came later.] He claimed his trip proved Iraq had made no such attempts, though his own report said nothing of the kind. [He did not claim his trip had "proved"--your word--the matter. He wrote that after speaking with past and present officials of Niger and "people associated with the country's uranium business," he had concluded that "it was highly doubtful that any such transaction had ever taken place." (We can forward you a copy of his op-ed.) And, as you know, columnists of the Times are not fact-checked. But we would point out that in his Times op-ed, Mr. Wilson did not claim, as you state, that "his trip proved Iraq had made no such attempts" to purchase uranium. He maintained that "there's simply too much oversight over too small an industry for a sale to have transpired." And--not to belabor what might be a fact-checking issue--according to a Senate intelligence committee investigation, the report written by the CIA on Mr. Wilson's trip "described how the structure of Niger's uranium mines would make it difficult, if not impossible, for Niger to sell uranium to any rogue states."]

In short order, Wilson established himself as the charming P.T. Barnum of the National Security set, an inveterate huckster who could be counted on to wrap every actual fact in six layers of embellishment. [An idea: explain the "actual facts" and then list the "six layers of embellishment."] His small part in the larger fiasco of the Iraq war would not have registered a micron of attention had the villain of the epic ‚ the vice president‚ not exercised his unfailing talent for vindictive self-destruction. [We suggest you peruse some of the clips of that time. Mr. Wilson's op-ed and his concurrent appearance on Meet the Press generated more than a "micron of attention"--and that occurred before the vice president responded to Mr. Wilson's charges.]

Act Two opened with a cast of thousands crowding the stage, filling the air with fevered vapors and gleeful rage. Perhaps you can remember those days, when the Plame story pretended to be about the outing of an undercover C.I.A. agent. [How can a story pretend to be something? And, if memory serves, there was indeed an outing of an undercover CIA official.] Perhaps you can remember the howls of outrage from our liberal friends, about the threat to national security, the secret White House plot to discredit its enemies. [For the reader's benefit, you might want to note Ms. Wilson's position at the time of her outing: operations chief for the Joint Task Force on Iraq, a unit of the Counterproliferation Division of the CIA's clandestine operations directorate. And you might want to note that her primary duty was overseeing covert operations designed to gather intelligence on WMDs in Iraq. Then again, you might not want to note this. Also, you seem to be suggesting there was no secret White House action to discredit Mr. Wilson. Are you aware that Mr. Libby met with Judith Miller, a former employee of this paper, and passed her classified information that he hoped would discredit Mr. Wilson? Are you aware that Mr. Libby conveyed classified information about Ms. Wilson to Ari Fleischer, then the White House press secretary, and Mr. Fleischer says he shared this information with reporters as part of an effort to undermine Mr. Wilson's charges?]

Perhaps you remember the media stakeouts of Karl Rove's driveway, the constant perp-walk photos of Rove on his way to and from the grand jury, the delirious calls from producers (The indictment is coming today! The indictment is coming today!). [Our readers might also remember that Mr. Rove leaked to Matt Cooper, then of Time , classified information regarding Ms. Wilson's covert employment at the CIA. As Mr. Cooper noted in an email, Mr. Rove did so "on double super secret background." They might possibly also recall that Mr. Rove confirmed Ms. Wilson's status as a CIA employee for Robert Novak, the first journalist to disclose her CIA identity.]

There were media types so eager to get Rove, so artificially appalled at the thought of somebody actually leaking classified information, they were willing to forgive prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald for throwing journalists in jail. [You cite many unnamed characters in this "dark comedy." Perhaps you ought to consider naming some of these "media types."] It was like watching a city of Ahabs getting deliriously close to the great white whale. [No one on our desk has read that classic recently. But a quick question: was Moby Dick ever suspected of having committed a crime?]

That was back when everybody thought Rove was the key leaker. But then it turned out he wasn't. Richard Armitage was, as Fitzgerald knew from the start. [See our note above. Mr. Rove did leak to Mr. Cooper and Mr. Novak. It was only because Time held its story for several days that Mr. Novak had the "scoop" and beat out Time . Had that not happened, Mr. Rove might have won the title of chief leaker.]

By the start of Act Three, nobody cared about the outing of a C.I.A. agent. [Nobody? We are relatively sure that the Wilsons cared, that CIA officials cared, that Mr. Fitzgerald cared, that congressional Democrats cared, and that thousands of Americans who followed this story in the media cared.] That part of the scandal disappeared. And all that was left of Joe Wilson and Valerie Plame were the creepy photos in Vanity Fair. [You might want to consider describing the photos. A blonde in a convertible might not come across as "creepy" to all.]

Act Three was the perjury act, and attention shifted to the unlikely figure of Scooter Libby. [What is "unlikely" about a White House aide accused of lying?] As Joe Wilson was an absurd man with a plain name, Scooter Libby was a plain man with an absurd name. [What's in a name?] And the odder thing was that Libby was the only normal person in the asylum. [Have you read the sex scenes in his one novel? A girl with a bear?] People who knew him thought him discreet, honest and admirable. [We hear he was also a quiet man. Mention that?] And yet the charges were brought and the storm clouds of idiocy gathered once more. [We're not lawyers, but we do believe that there are instances when criminal charges are filed against people who other people consider admirable. You might want to explain why a special prosecutor should not file obstruction of justice charges against an official suspected of lying to investigators.]

Republicans who'd worked themselves up into a spittle-spewing rage because Bill Clinton lied under oath were appalled that anybody would bother with poor Libby over lying under oath. [Is there a continuity issue here? Above you contend that the charge was a product of idiocy. Shouldn't that justifiably cause Republicans to be appalled?] Democrats who were outraged that Bill Clinton was hounded for something as trivial as perjury were furious that Scooter Libby might not be ruined for a crime as heinous as perjury. [You seem to be skating past the case the Democrats made: lying to the FBI during a national security investigation is different from lying about sex in a civil proceeding.] It was an orgy of shamelessness. The God of Self-Respect took sabbatical. [Any word on what the God of Thou Shall Not Lie did at this time?]

The trial and sentencing, Act Four, was, to be honest, somewhat anticlimactic. Fitzgerald, having lost all perspective, demanded Libby get a harsh sentence as punishment for crimes he had not been convicted of. [We realize you were not in the courtroom during the trial, but news reports and transcripts show that Mr. Fitzgerald argued that committing perjury during a national security investigation was a serious matter and that a stiff sentence was warranted for that crime.] The judge, casting himself as David against Goliath, demonstrated an impressive capacity for talking about himself. [Ditto the previous remark. Again, we do not fact-check columnists for the Time s, but one of us did call--merely out of curiosity--several reporters who covered the case, and they told us that Judge Reggie Walton did not cast himself as a David-type figure, nor did he talk about himself more than the average federal district court judge. You might want to reconsider a characterization not supported by actual eyewitnesses.]

And finally, yesterday, came Act Five, and a paradox. Scooter Libby emerged as the least absurd character in the entire drama, and yet he was the one who committed a crime. [Another continuity problem? If the chief of staff to the vice president commits a crime, shouldn't there be a thorough investigation and even a rigmarole?] President Bush entered the stage like a character from another world, a world in which things make sense. [A world like Baghdad?]

His decision to commute Libby's sentence but not erase his conviction was exactly right. It punishes him for his perjury, but not for the phantasmagorical political farce that grew to surround him. It takes away his career, but not his family. [Fact: after Mr. Libby was indicted and resigned from Mr. Cheney's staff, he was named a fellow at the Hudson Institute, a conservative think tank. The Washington Post reported that his salary is probably at least $160,000--perhaps more. Most readers would think that with such a position Mr. Libby's career was not over.]

Of course, the howlers howl. That is their assigned posture in this drama. They entered howling, they will leave howling and the only thing you can count on is their anger has been cynically manufactured from start to finish. [Once again, continuity. If Mr. Libby did commit a crime--which you bravely acknowledge he did--then shouldn't anger be an appropriate response. Who are the howlers whose anger was "cynically manufactured"? And who did that manufacturing? Specifics would help.]

The farce is over. It has no significance. Nobody but Libby's family will remember it in a few weeks time. Everyone else will have moved on to other fiascos, other poses, fresher manias. [Good teaser of an ending. It's as if you expect another Bush aide to be caught lying under oath.]

I'm celebrating Independence Day by taking a breather. I'll be back soon.

Posted by David Corn at July 3, 2007 10:24 PM


Hajji said...

Saw "Sicko" tonight with my usual posse of health care workers, including 1 middle eastern doctor who drives a Mercedes...

Frisked him thoughouly...

No incidents to report...so far, but as of this writing Jill and Katie are still out with 'em!


Hajji said...

Oh...sorry to barge in like that...I seem to be stepping in someone's scattered entrails...OH MY GOODNESS it seem to be DAVID BROOKS!!!

Glasses, Rogain, lip-starch...yup David Brooks, all right...

I'd recognize those smug Little intestines, anywhere.

Thanks for all your work...


uncledad said...


So how was the movie? It aint in theaters here in "red" country yet. I always loved all of Moore's movies, he gets a real bad rap, as a political dude, but in fact he is a brilliant filmaker. Pets or meat?

uncledad said...

Howdy Capt,

I love the quote you had on an earlier post:

"The United States is a nation of laws: badly written and randomly enforced."
~ Frank Zappa

Brilliant, and so relavent today.

Ivory Bill Woodpecker said...

Driftglass tears Bobo Brooks yet another new one over on his site.[driftglass.blogspot.com]

Maybe we should rename July 4 "Irony Day". After all, we won our independence from the UK, only to end up with a mad King George of our own. :/

Hajji said...


As if the Upperstate of South Carolina ain't "Red" country...

The movie was Boffo...like so many things confirming what many of us know...for the most part.

I gotta get off to work in the ER now, but I hope to be able to put together an essay about the film soon.


capt said...

Happy Fourth of July!

Libby will NEVER be pardoned - his appeal will prevail even if it has to go to the SCOTUS.


Part of the pardon includes admitting to the crime.

(per a radio show so it might not be true)


PS - New Mexico is a red state too.

capt said...

Five Obscure Facts about the Declaration of Independence

David B. Benson said...

David Corn --- Independence Day? Independent from what?

Maybe only Cheney is independent anymore, in his very own private Idaho, err, branch of gov'mint...

capt said...

"The vested interests - if we explain the situation by their influence - can only get the public to act as they wish by manipulating public opinion, by playing either upon the public's indifference, confusions, prejudices, pugnacities or fears. And the only way in which the power of the interests can be undermined and their maneuvers defeated is by bringing home to the public the danger of its indifference, the absurdity of its prejudices, or the hollowness of its fears; by showing that it is indifferent to danger where real danger exists; frightened by dangers which are nonexistent." Sir Norman Angell 1872 - 1967

"Iniquity, committed in this world, produces not fruit immediately, but, like the earth, in due season, and advancing by little and little, it eradicates the man who committed it. ...justice, being destroyed, will destroy; being preserved, will preserve; it must never therefore be violated." Manu 1200 bc

I will be harsh as truth, and as uncompromising as justice. On this subject i do not wish to think, or speak, or write, with moderation. No! no! Tell a man whose house is on fire to give a moderate alarm; tell him to moderately rescue his wife from the hands of the ravisher; tell the mother to gradually extricate her babe from the fire into which it has fallen; but urge me not to use moderation in a cause like the present.: William Lloyd Garrison (1805 - 1879)


Thanks ICH Newsletter!

David B. Benson said...

A most depressing Fourth of July...

micki said...

Dr. B, depressing is right.

Then there's that 128ยบ temperature recorded in Las Vegas to add to the misery.

friend of cornbloggers except happy said...

All the best to my cornblogger friends on this the 5th of july - irony day.

I'd like to pose two questions for discussion.

As voters and political activists, what is the best thing we could do for our country in the next 18 months?

Do you think the Bush Adminstrations policies and conduct have risen to the level of high crimes and misdemeanors? If so, would you support impeachment? Why/why not? If so, on what grounds?

If you wish, print this and affix it to your shirt or in a public space. this


capt said...

Altruistic Rats: First Evidence For Generalized Reciprocal Cooperation In Non-humans

Cooperation in animals has long been a major focus in evolutionary biology. In particular, reciprocal altruism, where helpful acts are contingent upon the likelihood of getting help in return, is especially intriguing because it is open to cheaters. In a new study published this week in the open-access journal PLoS Biology, Claudia Rutte and Michael Taborsky demonstrate the first evidence for generalized reciprocal cooperation in non-humans. The authors show that rats who received help in the past were more likely to help another unknown partner.

Although many models have predicted reciprocal altruism, scientists had found evidence only of direct reciprocity ("if you help me, I'll help you") in non-human animals in previous studies. Direct reciprocity is intuitively appealing, yet requires that animals interact repeatedly with the same individuals and remember past interactions. By comparison, generalized reciprocity makes no such cognitive assumptions. In generalized reciprocity, animals are more likely to help a partner if they have been helped in the past, regardless of the past helper's identity.

For example, in humans, people who found a coin in the coin return of a telephone were more likely to help a stranger pick up dropped papers than control subjects who had not previously found money. In humans, this can be explained by cultural experience as well as by natural selection. But if similar reactions to anonymous experience can be found in non human animals, an evolutionary explanation would be far more likely.

In this study, Norway rats received help gaining food from a partner who pulled a stick to produce the food. Rats could therefore be grouped into two classes: those that had previously received help and those that had not. The rats who had previously been helped were then more likely to help another unknown partner receive food. This simple mechanism may promote the evolution of cooperation among unfamiliar non-relatives in many other animals.

Citation: Rutte C, Taborsky M (2007) Generalized reciprocity in rats. PLoS Biol 5(7): e196. doi:10.1371/journal.pbio.0050196.

Note: This story has been adapted from a news release issued by Public Library of Science.


*****end of clip*****

“Pay it Forward” works in rat-land.


capt said...


As voters and political activists, what is the best thing we could do for our country in the next 18 months?

If everybody can convince one person that never votes to vote it will help. That and everybody needs to hold their representatives feet to the fire. Make sure they know they represent the people not their personal wealth.

Impeachment at this late date would serve to lock-up this WH - gone wild. There has never been enough votes to sustain an impeachment or remove Bush from office but if impeachment proceedings had started it would put the WH on notice that we fully intend to remind the slugs for whom they are suppose to be working.

And - GREAT picture.


David B. Benson said...

O'Reilly ---

Emmm, Peach Mint!

capt said...

"To ensure Iran never gets nuclear weapons, we need to keep ALL options on the table. Let me reiterate - ALL options must remain on the table." - Former Senator John Edwards (D-NC)

"we should take no option, including military action, off the table." - Senator Barack Obama (D-IL)

"as I've also said for a long time, no option can be taken off the table." - Senator Hilary Clinton (D-NY)

Are Democrats simply being careless with their language or are they also willing to consider using nuclear weapons against Iran? Ask the candidates yourself.

The next Democratic debate will be held July 23 in South Carolina, and as part of the event, citizens like you can send in video questions for the candidates through YouTube.

Ask the candidates if "all options on the table" includes the nuclear option. If it does not, then tell the candidates to stop using dangerous language and to be clear that nuclear weapons are not an option.

To submit a video question for the debates, please click here for submission guidelines.

Two weeks ago, we showed you a video where four Republican presidential candidates clearly responded "yes" to a question about whether they would consider using nuclear weapons against Iran.

If you haven't seen the video yet, you can view it here.

The Republican candidates are following President Bush's lead in using the phrase "all options are on the table" to refer to the use of nuclear weapons. While the Republican candidates were responding to a specific question, Democratic presidential candidates are also using this language
In past years, responsible government leaders would never have considered a nuclear first strike. Now, however, it has been reported that the Bush Administration has discussed using nuclear weapons against Iran.

In order to find out if Democrats are simply being careless with their language or if they are also willing to consider using nuclear weapons against Iran, send a video question to YouTube asking the candidates whether "all options on the table" includes the nuclear option. If it does not, then tell the candidates to stop using dangerous language and to be clear that nuclear weapons are not an option.

John Isaacs and Guy Stevens
Council for a Livable World

Gerald said...


Bush/Cheney in '08?

by Hilton Obenzinger Page 1 of 1 page(s)


I admit I’m paranoid. But I get this sinking feeling that we may not see the end of the Bush/Cheney regime with the next election. Mainly, because there won’t be another presidential election.

Paranoid? How’s this for a scenario: There’s a spectacular terrorist outrage in the U.S. (How about the much-anticipated “dirty bomb”?), or the long-awaited, massive attack against Iran is launched and all Hell breaks loose. In response, Bush/Cheney declare a national emergency and “postpone” the election under powers of the commander-in-chief during a time of war. Outraged citizens take such usurpation of power to the Supreme Court, and...well, we’ve been to the Supreme Court before, and it’s even worse now.

Maybe this won’t happen. But there are other ways this particular gang will continue to impose itself beyond 2008. They are trying to do as much as possible to entangle the U.S. in so many disasters abroad that it will be very difficult for the next administration to free itself from interlinked military adventures, particularly if they are at all beholden to similar foreign policy interests. At home, the Katrina-ization of domestic policies will have advanced to the point that the courts, public agencies, public schools, and everything else associated with the government acting at the behest of the people will be in shambles.

The Bush/Cheney gang is not incompetent, as so many believe. “Brownie” did his job as expected (although the untidiness in New Orleans presented some short-term political discomfort). Bush/Cheney have done a good job of wrecking the positive capacity of government. They have forced the military to over-extend itself at breakneck speed, established a decades-long occupation in Iraq and the rest of the Middle East, and wrecked the Department of Justice, the EPA and the FDA, not to mention the supreme vandalism: the imposition of corporate "justice" in the highest court in the land, with people of color, women and all other ordinary people targeted. The name of the game has been “impunity”, and now the high court is available to give it a stamp of approval. All of these things will have a lasting impact, even if they don’t call off the election.

My paranoia may, inevitably, call the 1930's to mind, but it looks like we need an anti-fascist, “anti-impunity” front that will last for decades to come. This would be a front that embraces all politics to defend constitutional rule--good old bourgeois democracy--against the militarized corporate state. Basic ideas need to be reasserted: government can be the instrument of the people to ensure that backward clerico-fascists don’t gut the core of America’s democratic promise. This is a front that includes corporate executives and the homeless, all races, the religious and the secular--everyone with a heart and a mind.

Did you ever imagine that paranoid fantasies could actually come true?



micki said...

From the post-Nixon Watergate era:

CONGRESSMAN HOGAN: Mr. President, don't you feel that the very acceptance of the pardon by the former President is tantamount to an admission of guilt on his part?

THE PRESIDENT (Gerald Ford). I do, sir.

CONGRESSMAN HOGAN. So, those who say again that they would have preferred that the President admit his culpability before a pardon being issued again are overlooking that fact?

THE PRESIDENT. The acceptance of a pardon, according to the legal authorities--and we have checked them out very carefully--does indicate that by the acceptance, the person who has accepted it does, in effect, admit guilt.

Does acceptance of a pardon indicate an admission of guilt?

Budrick v. United States, among other cases, accepting a pardon involves admitting guilt.

capt said...

Rep. Wexler Introduces Motion to Censure Bush

This post, written by Taylor Marsh, originally appeared on Taylor Marsh.com

Huffington Post has the teaser, so I went looking for the rest of the story and the text of the censure motion Rep. Wexler intends to introduce in the House next Tuesday. It is below.

Resolution relating to the censure of George W. Bush

Whereas President George W. Bush has failed to comply with his obligations under Executive Order 12958 concerning the protection of classified national security information in that the covert identity of Valerie Plame Wilson as a Central Intelligence Agency operative was revealed to members of the media, and in June 2003 Bush Administration officials discussed with various reporters the identity of Ms. Wilson as a covert Central Intelligence Agency operative;

Whereas on July 14, 2003, the name of Ms. Wilson and her status as a CIA operative was revealed publicly in a newspaper column by Robert Novak, and on September 16, 2003 the Central Intelligence Agency advised the Department of Justice that Ms. Wilson's status as a covert operative was classified information and requested a federal investigation;

Whereas knowingly leaking the identity of a covert agent is a criminal violation of the Intelligence Identities Protection Act (P.L. 97-200); ... ..


*****end of clip*****



capt said...

Nancy Pelosi and the Low Bar Democrats

In a fascinating interview with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi , reporters Mike Stark and Dave Johnson get Pelosi to admit that she had decided "at least a year ago," before Democrats had even taken control of the House and Senate, "that impeachment was something that we could not be successful with, and that would take up the time we needed to do some positive things to establish a record of our priorities and [Republican] short-comings."

She then goes on to say, "The President isn't worth it ... he's not worth impeaching. We've got important work to do."

Stark then says, "Respectfully, the question is whether or not the Constitution is worth it," to which Pelosi responds, "Well, yeah, the constitution is worth it if you can succeed."

That the leading Democrat in the House, and one of the most powerful people in the Democratic Party leadership, could be so dismissive of the Constitution, so seemingly ignorant of the workings of the impeachment clause, and so openly pessimistic and negative about the power of her opposition party, is simply astonishing.

Pelosi is admitting here that back in early 2006, before the off-year election campaign had even gotten fully underway, she had already concluded that Democrats could never hope to obtain a majority vote in the House for impeachment!

If Democrats in 1974 had adopted such a defeatist attitude in confronting the crimes of Richard Nixon (who after all was midway through his second term, after having won a landslide victory over George McGovern in 1972), he would have slid through his second term like Bush and Cheney are hoping to do. Remember, when bills of impeachment were first filed against Nixon, only some 25 members of Congress supported the idea of impeachment, and no one thought that the idea had a chance.

The whole point of impeachment hearings is to investigate and make the case for impeachment. Until that is done, it is simply nonsense to say the process "could not be successful."

This is especially true when one considers that this president, unlike Nixon, has actually already admitted to major crimes. There is no question that he has seriously abused power by refusing to enact laws passed by the Congress. Furthermore, in the case of his ordering the National Security Agency to spy on Americans without obtaining court orders--in direct violation of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act--a federal district judge trying that activity has ruled that it was a serial Class A felony. And even after that August 2006 decision, the president continued with the illegal program for another six months.

Not to impeach the president for these high crimes against law and the Constitution is a dereliction of duty on the part of Pelosi and the rest of Congress or major proportions. It is not as though she has a choice. We objectively have a president who is willfully violating the law and undermining the Constitution. How can Congress, all of whose members take an oath to uphold and defend the Constitution, not initiate impeachment proceedings?

Pelosi tells Stark and Johnson it is only worth protecting the Constitution if there is a certainty that the impeachment process can be won. She is wrong on several counts.

First of all, it should not at all be assumed that following impeachment hearings, a majority of the House would not vote for impeachment--at least on the issues of the signing statements and the NSA FISA crimes. And should they so vote, at that point the president would be impeached, and for all time, his crimes and abuses of power would be labeled as wrong, thus letting future presidents know that such behavior is unconstitutional and will not go unchallenged. The corollary is that if Bush is not confronted for these and other crimes, future presidents will free to adopt his cavalier attitude towards the Constitution, and his usurpation of the legislative authority of Congress.

Second, there is not even a requirement in the Constitution that the Senate try and remove an impeached federal official. That is something that the Senate decides on its own whether to do. Once the House votes for impeachment, a president stands impeached. That in itself would be an important act, and is hardly one that Pelosi can declare to be an impossible goal.

Pelosi made another important admission in her interview with Stark and Johnson, confirming something I have been saying for some time now. That is, she admits that she and the Democratic leadership have known all along that they couldn't pass any significant legislation. Rather, they are simply hoping to use their legislative ability to pass bills (knowing that nothing of consequence could survive a veto or a signing statement), in order to "establish a record of our priorities" and of the Republican Party's "shortcomings."

Talk about setting the bar low!

This of course is hardly what Pelosi and the Democratic National Committee and congressional campaign committees were telling voters during last year's election campaign, or even what they were saying when they took control of Congress in January. Back then the bold talk was all about passing an "important Democratic agenda" of measures like health care reform, electoral reform, education reform and, or course, ending the Iraq War.

I've always said that this was just for show, and that the only real aim of Pelosi et al has been to position themselves to win in 2008-a narrow partisan goal that has led them to sacrifice both ending the war and defending the Constitution.

Now we know that this is exactly what Pelosi and her colleagues in the Democratic Party leadership had in mind all along.

It's not really that she doesn't think Congress couldn't succeed in impeaching Bush and/or Cheney. It's that trying to do that would interfere with her only real goal-getting herself and her Democratic colleagues re-elected.

My own view, and it is being borne out by the amazing collapse in public support that Democrats have suffered over the course of Pelosi's and Sen. Harry Reid's five months in control of Congress (a fall from 65 percent support to under 20 percent!), is that the Democratic leadership's political strategy is all wrong: they could win big in 2008 by standing up forcefully on the issues of ending the war and defending the Constitution, and they are likely to lose by taking this minimalist, self-serving approach.

But even if they were right, and they could gain seats and perhaps the White House by doing nothing of consequence and by avoiding taking any serious confrontational stances for two years, it is unconscionable that they would allow more Americans and innocent Iraqis to die in a pointless, illegal war, and that they would allow the Constitution to be raped and plundered by a criminal administration, simply for their own narrow political gain.

Yet now we have it from the speaker's own mouth. She isn't about defending the Constitution. It's just not worth it.


*****end of clip*****

I think this puts to rest any notion that Pelosi was just being coy or politically calculating by taking impeachment “off the table”. It is not her position that we should have ever considered such a thing.

Damn those majority Democrats they never really wanted to stop this damn war either.

Maybe the January party parties were a bit premature? Maybe it is just a tad more realistic to be skeptical about all politicians especially incumbents that have proved time and again they do not represent the people.

We know that polls are just a collection of statistics that reflect what people are thinking in 'reality.' And reality has a well known liberal bias.
~ Stephen Colbert, Speech to White House Correspondents' Dinner, April 30, 2006


capt said...

Poll: 54 percent favor Cheney impeachment.

According to a recent poll taken by the American Research Group, “54% of American adults want the US House of Representatives to begin impeachment proceedings against Vice President Dick Cheney, including 76% of Democrats, 17% of Republicans, and 51% of Independents. The same poll found 46% of voters in favor of the same thing for President George W. Bush, including 69% of Democrats, 13% of Republicans, and 50% of independents.”

UPDATE: More from Pollster.com.


*****end of clip*****

With politicians like Pelosi in the leadership[sic] impeachment is just an interesting flavor of ice cream.


capt said...

Hello Kirk,

Your idea has been logged into our Random Genius Ideas Database. If we decide to use it, you'll be hearing from us.

Idea Type: Flavor
Idea Name: Mmmm Peach-Mint
Mix peach ice cream with mint chocolate chunk. Or ???

Thanks again for your idea.

Consumer Assistance
Ben & Jerry's

capt said...

"Strange times are these in which we live when old and young are taught in falsehoods school. And the one man that dares to tell the truth is called at once a lunatic and fool"
-- Plato.

I think that we should be men first, and subjects afterward. It is not so desirable to cultivate a respect for the law, so much as for the right: Henry David Thoreau, Civil Disobedience, 1849

As long as the world shall last there will be wrongs, and if no man objected and no man rebelled, those wrongs would last forever: Clarence Darrow

If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor. If an elephant has its foot on the tail of a mouse and you say that you are neutral, the mouse will not appreciate your neutrality: Bishop Desmond Tutu

He does not believe who does not live according to his belief: Thomas Fuller


Thanks ICH Newsletter!

capt said...

A Postcard from Iraq

Have you ever felt numb? Like a paralytic numbness?

I put the receiver down, stared at the wall, beyond the wall and saw yet another wall, and more walls...

Unable to move, unable to take a step forward, a step back. I was stuck in that spot for what seemed to be forever.

I felt the warmth of the cigarette, its heat, getting closer to my fingertips, almost burning me.

I guess the thought of being burnt took me out of this trance like state...that state of being walled in.

Some of you may recall that I already have 2 relatives who had been kidnapped and are now imprisoned in "Detention centers".

Kamel, 60 plus, is still in American "custody". He is sick and we have no news except that he is still alive...at least we hope so.

Omar, 19 years old, also detained by the Americans. Seems he has been transferred from American hands in Baghdad and moved to Southern Iraq.

When we enquired about him, they said that he is in a military hospital getting treatment in Southern Iraq.

That is very strange indeed. Bear in mind that Southern Iraq prisons are run by the sectarian militias from Iran and neither them nor the Americans actually provide any medical treatments in "hospitals".

How long will he be there? What is he suffering from? Is it possible to visit him?

None provides us with any answers.

I personally believe that Omar is dead. I believe that Omar has been killed. Possibly under torture...most probably under torture.
A few weeks back, Salam, another relative was kidnapped and badly battered, bashed up. I have already relayed her story in my previous post "Scream Quietly".

A few days ago, it was Raouf's turn. Now Raouf is very close family.

I chose to call him Raouf because Raouf in Arabic means "kind spirited, gentle..."

And Raouf is both. Raouf is a very gentle soul. A soft spoken man, who cared about poetry, philosophy, arts, animals, the land...which he cultivated with great care and love.


capt said...

Earth Is Smaller Than Assumed

Although the discrepancy is not large, it is significant: Geodesists from the University of Bonn have remeasured the size of the Earth in a long lasting international cooperation project. The blue planet is accordingly some millimeters smaller than up to now assumed. The results are important, for example, to be able to demonstrate a climate contingent rise in sea level.

The system of measurement used by the Bonn Geodesists is invisible. It consists of radiowaves that are transmitted into space from punctiform sources, the so-called Quasars. A network of more than 70 radio telescopes worldwide receives these waves. Because the gaging stations are so far apart from each other, the radio signals are received with a slight time-lag. "From this difference we can measure the distance betwen the radio telescopes--and to the preciseness of two millimeters per 1,000 kilometers," explained Dr. Axel Nothnagel, research group leader for the Geodesy Institute of the University of Bonn.

The procedure is called VLBI, which stands for "Very Long Baseline Interferometry." The technique can be used, for example, to demonstrate that Europe and North America are distancing from each other at a rate of about 18 millimeters annually. The distance of the gaging stations from each other allows the the size of the Earth or the exact location of the center of the Earth to be determined. "We have analyzed the measurements and calculations from 34 partners in 17 countries," explained Nothnagel. "A combination of GPS and satellite laser measurements will enable the availability of the coordinates from almost 400 points on the surface of the Earth with unparalleled exactness."
The results are the basis for a new coordinate system for the planet. With this system it would be possible, for example, to determine the track of so-called Altimeter-Satellites within a few millimeters precision. Altimeter-Satellites measure their altitude over the Earth's surface and can, for example, register a rise in sea level. Deviations from the flight path, however, falsify the result. If the satellite flies higher than expected, the distance to the surface of the Earth differentiates from what is recorded--the sea level appears lower than it really is.

The results are published in the Journal of Geodesy.

Note: This story has been adapted from a news release issued by University of Bonn.


*****end of clip*****

Is it always a size thing? Now earth will have to go buy a real big truck with big stupid tires or a red sports car to compensate.


micki said...

General William Odom -- Former NSA Chief for Reagan -- Suggests Impeachment May Be Necessary

Please send this article to your Senators and Representative, no matter if they are Dem, Independent or Repub...

Gerald said...

A Moral Coward

Gerald said...

Sacrifice Is for Suckers

Gerald said...

Secret Memo Re: "SICKO"

A lengthy article!

Gerald said...

The Next 100 Million Americans

Gerald said...

The Next 100 Million Americans is a MUST READ ARTICLE!!!

Gerald said...

This Is Nazi America's War

Gerald said...

The new Nazi Americans must love to see the vaporization of Iranian babies with their lips, fingers, and toes vaporized along building walls and on the streets of Iran.

Gerald said...

Improving Women’s Health

When Doctors Leo Lagasse and Robert Greenburg visited Africa in the 1990’s, they were so moved by the suffering of women without medical care they started Medicine for Humanity.

“The health of women is so important,” says Dr. Lagasse. “We directly improve the health of the whole community when we improve the health of women. When women are healthy, they gain confidence and they start leading. What we do…becomes an agent for improving society.”

The non-profit gathers medical supplies and brings teams of volunteer physicians and nurses to 16 countries including South Africa, the Philippines and Costa Rica where they work with local doctors to provide needed medical care.

“We don’t have failures, only different degrees of success. The only failure is if we don’t go,” says Dr. Lagasse.

Never stop caring about others.

Do not forget the birth pangs of your mother. Remember that it was of your parents you were born; how can you repay what they have given to you? (Sirach 7:27-28)

Encourage us to show our love for others through deeds on their behalf, Lord of Life.

Gerald said...

Say No to Drugs with a Pharmacist’s Help

Pharmacist Armon Neel has not worked behind a prescription counter for years. Instead, he specializes in working with patients to determine whether they are taking the right medication and/or the right dose. Sometimes, that involves helping patients avoid or reduce drug therapy.

Neel’s profession affects his patients, particular the elderly in nursing homes. “If I can get the drug therapy management for these patients correct,” he says, “there are fewer hospital stays and admissions, lower costs and a better quality of life for the residents.”

Neel’s mission is to advance the idea that pharmacists must serve and protect the people who take the medications they dispense. “I get paid by the patient, not by the doctor,” he says.

Your life’s work can also improve the lives of those you serve. How?

There are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit... to each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good. (1 Corinthians 12:4,7)

Loving Lord, help me serve others through my work.

Gerald said...

Louis Armstrong’s Barber

Joe Gibson recalls the visits that Louis Armstrong made to his barbershop in Corona, Queens, New York.

“He didn’t like me to put him ahead of anybody,” he says. “He would ask me how many customers I had, but he was never in a hurry.”

Sometimes a kid would find Armstrong in the barbershop and run off to bring back friends. The legendary jazz man would joke with the kids, gently lecture them about staying in school, and take down each child’s name and address. “He would later send each one a card,” Gibson recalls.

Armstrong died on July 6, 1971, at his home in that same Queens neighborhood. Among the late musician’s possessions was a manuscript entitled, “Barbershops,” in which he touts Joe’s place as his first choice for a haircut – and for good company.

Certain places feel welcoming. Treasure them.

The Lord is my shepherd…He makes me lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside still waters…He leads me in right paths. (Psalm 23:1,2,3)

Shepherd of the flock, bring us to Your pastures of peace and love.

David B. Benson said...

Bush the bottom feeder.

Hajji said...


I just wanted to say something about the incredible effort by the organizers and performers at today's "Live Earth" concerts.

It will prove to be the largest event in history, and for the nobelest of causes. The artists who signed on did so, I believe with the best of intentions.

The performances were uniformly heartfelt and sincere and the message, whether one believes in the science or not, of taking better care of Mother Earth as she grudgingly continues to care for us was unmistakable.

I was pleased to see many performers I personally admire sign on. I'd just seen Angelique Kidjo a few weeks back in Louisville. Her performance of "Gimme Shelter" with Joss Stone is not to be missed, as was the Keith Urban and Alicia Keys.

Please check out the clips from today's shows, enjoy the performances and pass them on.

There's not any posters here who disagree with the basic premise of honoring and caring for our planet, I think, and it says much about our many angles and views on politics.

I've always felt the power of musical performances and the songs of heroes have washed over me for all my life. More such heroes are stepping up daily. Enjoy them, listen to them BECOME one of them!

Now I've got to figure out how to explain why this fat ass of mine kept dancing around the ER all day, today.

Now THAT'S entertainment!


capt said...

Be alert that dictators have always played on the natural human tendency to blame others and to oversimplify. And don't regard yourself as a guardian of freedom unless you respect and preserve the rights of people you disagree with to free, public, unhampered Expression: Gerard K. O'Neill, 2081

The greatest dangers to liberty lurk in insidious encroachment by men of zeal, well-meaning but without understanding: Louis D. Brandeis

Morality is the best of all devices for leading mankind by the nose: Friedrich Nietzsche, The Antichrist

The Framers of the Bill of Rights did not purport to "create" rights. Rather, they designed the Bill of Rights to prohibit our Government from infringing rights and liberties presumed to be preexisting: Justice William J. Brennan, 1982

We need a type of patriotism that recognizes the virtues of those who are opposed to us. We must get away from the idea that America is to be the leader of the world in everything. She can lead in some things. The old "manifest destiny" idea ought to be modified so that each nation has the manifest destiny to do the best it can - and that without cant, without the assumption of self-righteousness and with a desire to learn to the uttermost from other nations: Francis John McConnell


Thanks ICH Newsletter!

capt said...

Impeach 'Em Both!

ARG is out with a new poll showing that a resounding 11% support a full pardon for Scooter Libby. I jest, of course. The poll also shows that 45% of respondents support the House of Representatives starting impeachment proceedings against President Bush, and 54% support the same for Vice President Cheney.

I don't know that I'd make too much of these results though. Dick Bennett was probably the only pollster in America making phone calls over the Fourth of July.


*****end of clip*****

Obama might be a groundswell but he will not get over fifty percent (not for some time).


David B. Benson said...

Emmm, Peach Mint!

Double scoop!

capt said...

Sheehan Plans Run Against Pelosi Unless Bush Impeachment Sought

CRAWFORD, Texas - Cindy Sheehan, the fallen soldier’s mother who galvanized the anti-war movement, said Sunday that she plans to run against House Speaker Nancy Pelosi unless she moves to oust President Bush in the next two weeks.

Sheehan said she will run against the San Francisco Democrat in 2008 as an independent if Pelosi does not file articles of impeachment against Bush by July 23. That’s when Sheehan and her supporters are to arrive in Washington, D.C., after a 13-day caravan and walking tour starting from the group’s war protest site near Bush’s Crawford ranch.

“Democrats and Americans feel betrayed by the Democratic leadership,” Sheehan told The Associated Press. “We hired them to bring an end to the war. I’m not too far from San Francisco, so it wouldn’t be too big of a move for me. I would give her a run for her money.”

Messages left with Pelosi’s staff were not immediately returned. The White House declined to comment on Sheehan’s plans.

She plans her official candidacy announcement Tuesday. Sunday wrapped up what is expected to be her final weekend at the 5-acre Crawford lot that she sold to California radio talk show host Bree Walker, who plans to keep it open to protesters.

Sheehan made the surprising announcement in late May that she was leaving the anti-war movement. She said she felt her efforts had been in vain and that she had endured smear tactics and hatred from the left as well as the right. She said she wanted to change course.


*****end of clip*****

This is good news. Go Cindy!


capt said...

"America is a nation founded on the principle that all human life is sacred ..... Destroying human life in the hopes of saving human life is not ethical."- GW Bush on the occasion of vetoing Congressional bill on stem cell research.. June 20, 2007

"What does it matter to the dead, the orphans, and the homeless whether the mad destruction is wrought under the name of totalitarianism or the holy name of liberty or democracy?" Mahatma Gandhi

"Fear not the path of truth for the lack of people walking on it." Arabic Proverb


Thanks ICH Newsletter!

capt said...

An Open Letter to Nancy Pelosi

Madam Speaker:

It is time to impeach George Bush and Dick Cheney.

We all know the case for doing so: the litany of this administration’s offenses is long and tragic, the damage they have wrought to our nation and the principles it was founded upon profound.

And yet many of us understood - even if we did not agree - when you said “impeachment is off the table.” Your case was credible, if not persuasive. The proceedings would have been disruptive, making progress in other areas difficult, and the fact that three of the last six presidents would have been impeached by the opposition party could have damaged the presidency and sank this nation into a permanent partisan war. It could have fed the notion that impeachment proceedings were simply another political maneuver to be used by partisans to cripple their opponents, much as partisan Republicans did with Clinton. And with two years remaining, this did seem a high price to pay for getting rid of George Bush and his partners in crime. Taking the high road had a certain nobility, even if it didn’t satisfy a hunger for justice many of us felt.

But now - with scarcely eighteen months left - you have no choice but to impeach Bush and Cheney regardless of the cost, because it has become increasingly clear that the very foundations of this nation have been assaulted as never before in our history, and to let that record stand would be an act of cowardice on your part and a dangerous precedent to future presidents.


capt said...

New Thread