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October 29, 2005

libby ankles

It's the say after, and, God-damn, yesterday was a whirlwind day.  Outside of the last two presidential elections, the last time I remember my antennae twitching so uncontrollably was the release of the Starr Report back when we were all innocent and young.

It'll take at least a full weekend to digest yesterday's events, their implications and the possible outcomes thereof.  My two cents would be that, spin aside, the Administration cannot be happy at all that a special prosecutor is sniffing into their pre-invasion conduct, because they did cut corners and manipulate intel, and, while I would project that they felt absolutely justified in doing so, they are beginning to realize that their justifications won't hold up to the light of day.  There are already two scandals eddying in the wake of the Fitzgerald investigation -- the possibility that the Administration mislead [reg. req.] the Senate Intelligence Committee in investigation the run-up to the war, and also the provenance of the forged Niger documents that started the whole Joe Wilson affair.  (Info on the Niger scandal, over at TPM, where Josh never takes his eye off the ball.)

My favorite bit of post-indictment info comes from a DailyKos diarist, who sums up an appearance by John Dean on CNN.  The point Dean makes is that, of all possible legal jeopardies, the grand jury indictment is the least feared, as the only information the prosecutor can release to the public is info directly related to indictments.  All of the other proceeds of the investigation have to remain confidential.  So all of the good stuff that Fitzgerald dug up that wasn't contained in the Libby Indictment will remain under seal.  (Unless there are further indictments, of course.)  There are deep implications of other actors in the indictment, but unless Libby goes to trial (i.e., he does not plea bargain, or is not pardoned), none of the dirt on the other actors will be made public.  Dean relates these concepts in the context of Watergate, in which he was directly involved.  What does the Administration fear?  A Senate investigation.  John Dean is smart, and experienced.

Finally, who was the happiest about yesterday's events?  No, not Karl Rove, and not your rank-and-file leftie.  Yesterday Tom DeLay had a super-good day, as he is no longer the highest profile potential Republican shitbird.  Yes, DeLay is still going to trial, and, if you catch up on the events in Austin, you will see that D.A. Ronnie Earle promises to be just as entertaining in his prosecution as DeLay has been in his defense.

Posted by mrbrent at 12:09 PM

October 28, 2005

i am one of us

12:23pm  I just hope all of us can take a second and realize the majesty of a large number of people all hitting the "refresh" button over and over again at the same time.

When I say "majesty", I mean like the majesty of six year-olds playing soccer.

The future is giving me repetitive stress syndrome.

Posted by mrbrent at 12:26 PM

maple syrup smell

Here's a funny question.  To any of you that reside in the general area of Manhattan, have you noticed a funny smell?

Though I live across the river, in much more beautiful Brooklyn, I walked around a goodly part of Mnahattan last night, from Chelsea down to Tribeca, and I noticed that there was a very distinct scent of maple syrup in the air.  This was confirmed by people in my party of walkers, and by people we met up with, who came from different parts of Manhattan.

So, what the hell is making New York City smell like maple syrup?

(BTW, once I got back to Brooklyn, no maple syrup smell -- just sweet wafting waste transer stations.)

[UPDATE - SCANT MINUTES LATER]  I'm not the only one asking the question.  So I'm late.

But no one's determined the answer yet.

Posted by mrbrent at 11:03 AM

October 27, 2005

all politix all the time

Real quick as I run out the door:

As we anxiously await the outcome of the Fitzgerald investigation, Murray Waas slips in a scoop of super-hugeness -- the Vice President's office withheld documents from a Senate Intelligence Committee investigation of pre-Irag invasion intelligence.

The smarty-pants among you have noted that the true danger for the Administration is not indictments over Valerie Plame but rather a deeper look into the run-up to the war.

Which is here now.  Have some.

Posted by mrbrent at 6:45 PM

we spell her name "meyers" just to spite her

Not shabby.  Even Harriet Miers' withdrawal from consideration was mediocre and unremarkable.

Of course you know, this is all stage-managed to distract attention from the world championship of the Chicago White Sox.

[UPDATE, LATER THAT DAY]  Whoa, I gotta take it back.  I hadn't even looked at her letter of withdrawal, as I was more concerned with making funny joke.  Ha.  Ha.  Ha.

But now I've glanced the sucker over, and it is remarkable indeed, at least in its head-scratchiness.

Ordinarily, these withdrawals (e.g., Kerik, Bernard) are couched in some half-true sentiment like, "I have become a distraction," or, "the scrutiny of my nomination is impeding the administration".  Some noble, sword-falling way of saying that the nominee has absolutely no shot of confirmation and will step aside for Plan B.

But not Miers.

She claims (and is echoed by the President in his reaction) that the insistence of the Senate to review documents generated by her during her years in the White House is a threat to the ability of the President to do his job, and that she would rather step down than see the "independence of the Executive Branch" be jeopardized.

To which I respond: "!?!"

If this is the fight that the President wants to bring to the American people, the inviolability of executive privilege, then, by all means, bring it.  Really, nothing could shore up the credibility of an administration beset by cronyism and corruption than a very public hissy-fit over secret papers.

The very idea of a "confidential work-product" in the office of the chief executive of a nation, which executive, under the Constitution, say it with me, serves at the leisure of the electorate, is a very offensive idea indeed.

Plus also unwise.  So, please, more.

[UPDATE: WE LIKE UPDATING.]  Thinking it through, Harriet Miers pulling herself out of consideration for a seat on the Supreme Court on the grounds of erosion of presidential privilege is perhaps the most stunning admission of her own lack of fitness for the bench possible.  "I don't want to be in the judiciary because my doing so would hamper the unrestrained power of the executive branch."  I hope she enjoys her remaining years as a footnote, and a mediocre footnote at that.

Posted by mrbrent at 11:04 AM

October 26, 2005

there is no number 2000

Everyone knows that the Administration has been leary to release information on the U.S. casualties of the Iraq War.  Information management is now the rule and not the exception when it comes to the government's interface with the press.

And I'm sure no one in the Administration was looking forward to the 2,000th U.S. fatality (espeically this week), but I really had no idea that they were campaigning against it.  From a Pentagon spokesman:

The 2,000 service members killed in Iraq supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom is not a milestone.  It is an artificial mark on the wall set by individuals or groups with specific agendas and ulterior motives.

Actually, military dude, it's also kind of what you would call "news".  You have a dictionary, right?  Well, crack that sucker open.  Hell, while you're at it, look up "milestone".  If you do, you'll find that its literal meaning is "a roadside marker indicating distance" (yes, made of stone, also yes, in miles).  So if that concept is the grandaddy of the current popular useage of "milestone", then the presence of a particular ordinal (2,000th), indicating a fixed quantity or "distance", if you will, is very milestone-worthy indeed, innit?

Plus also, military dude, if you are truly free of a specific agenda and/or an ulterior motive, I will personally give you five shiny American dollars, to spend on what you wish.

Is anything more fun than ending a post with, "Pentagon asshole"?

[Via Romanesko]

Posted by mrbrent at 1:12 PM

October 25, 2005

you'll talk -- oh yes, you'll talk

Ahhh, Yahoo! Box O' Headlines, you are my only friend:
• Negotiators on torture bill feeling pressure

Yep, a little more bamboo under the fingernails and "negotiations' should be completed.

(Actually, it's a pretty fucked up story full of information you should arm yourself with if you have not already done so.  Senate passed an anti-torture bill -- i.e., our armed forces, being good guys, shall not use bad guy methods, so as to retain our good guy status -- and Vice President Cheney thinks that our right to torture foreign nationals should be inviolate.  Read up here.)

Posted by mrbrent at 4:13 PM

and now i make fun of airline security alerts

Story this morning on the AP wire concerning some hot new West Coast bomb threats.  The lede:
A "non-specific, non-credible" bomb threat has delayed flights at the Long Beach Airport in California, and a separate bomb threat at Orange County airport has been resolved, security officials said on Tuesday. 

In other words, "Security officials delayed passenger flights due to a 'non-credible' bomb threat."

I know that everyone's doing their job the way they should, but the jargon is killing me.  Maybe we can take all the unsubstantiated threats to heart, and leave the non-credible threats out in the cold with the empty threats and the broken promises.

Posted by mrbrent at 10:48 AM

October 24, 2005

half of blogging is linking

I totally have a writer-crush on James Wolcott.  In this recent post, Woolcott engages in a dash of wishful thinking, though I like to think of it as more of a helping hand and a smiling face offered to the man None Dare Not Call Scooter.

Basically, a whole bunch of words that are the equivalent of a very public depantsing of Scooter, followed by a dissection of the extent to which he is being thrown overboard by his colleagues, ending with an entreaty.  To do the right thing.

Are you going to be the fall guy, the patsy, the designated chump bearing the cross of blame while Rove plays the part of injured bystander?  Are you happy at the prospect that your name may soon be a national joke on the lips of every late-nite comedian?  Are you going to ignore the humiliation of being hung out to dry by your colleagues and hold your head high in silent stoic resolve?

You go right now!

Posted by mrbrent at 11:25 AM

the coming week

From everything I read, this week looks to be significant, as far as the American politcal spectrum runs.  I swear to God, my first television memory is one of the soap-opera pre-empting hearings that lead to the Nixon resignation.  Not that that's going to happen this week.  The only thing Nixon can resign from now is being dead.

Though wouldn't it be better, more convenient, if all these lose ends of eeeeevil could get tied up at the same time?  Like an indictment for Harriet Miers?  Or Tom DeLay quitting the New York Times?  Or fifteen simultaneous Lee Atwater moments?

(That's admittedly morbid.  I'm not looking specifically for deathbeds, though I can think of a number of Republican bodies trying valiantly to reject their souls.)

A gaggle of indictments would no doubt be heartening for those of us who still belive that political success is not a mitigating factor in law-breaking.  Personally, though, I'm not clicking my heels until I see teary confessions.

Prison is prison, bla bla, but I'd most like to see one of these vicious fucktards grow a conscience.

Posted by mrbrent at 1:02 AM