Chris's Rants

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Well, duh!

Lyn Davis Lear: Paging Frank Rich! GAO confirms - 2004 Election Was Stolen | The Huffington Post:
But the GAO report now confirms that electronic voting machines as deployed in 2004 were in fact perfectly engineered to allow a very small number of partisans with minimal computer skills and equipment to shift enough votes to put George W. Bush back in the White House.

Given the growing body of evidence, it appears increasingly clear
that's exactly what happened.

GAO Report
(pdf)

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Oooh look, we're winning!

Iraq National Strategy 11-30-05.pdf (pdf) Stay the course! Sempre fi! We're #1! Yippee!

Gag.

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Tuesday, November 29, 2005

You go, girl!

BBC NEWS | World | Middle East | Cheney accused on prisoner abuse:
Col Wilkerson has in the past accused the vice-president of responsibility for the conditions which led to the abuse of prisoners.

But this time he has gone much further, appearing to suggest Mr Cheney should face war crimes charges, our correspondent adds.
One wonders why the swiftboat veterans for truth™ haven't emerged from under their rocks to discredit Col. Wilkerson. Read the whole article. It is really quite amazing. Wilkerson's position seems to be changing quite radically from one of "mistakes were made" to "we were mislead":
He said that he laid the blame on the issue of prisoner abuse and post-war planning for Iraq "pretty fairly and squarely" at Mr Cheney's feet.

"I look at the relationship between Mr Cheney and Mr Rumsfeld as being one that produced these two failures in particular, and I see that the president is not holding either of them accountable... so I have to lay some blame at his feet too," he went on.

In the BBC interview, Col Wilkerson also developed his views on whether or not pre-war intelligence was deliberately misused by the White House.

He said that he had previously thought only honest mistakes were made.

But recent revelations about doubts in the intelligence community that appear to have been suppressed in the run-up to the war have made him question this view.

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Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain

Ex-Powell Aide Criticizes Bush on Iraq:
WASHINGTON -- Former Secretary of State Colin Powell's chief of staff says President Bush was "too aloof, too distant from the details" of post-war planning, allowing underlings to exploit Bush's detachment and make bad decisions.

In an Associated Press interview Monday, former Powell chief of staff Lawrence Wilkerson also said that wrongheaded ideas for the handling of foreign detainees after Sept. 11 arose from a coterie of White House and Pentagon aides who argued that "the president of the United States is all-powerful," and that the Geneva Conventions were irrelevant.
Do not arouse the wrath of the great and powerful Dubya. I said come back tomorrow.
Wilkerson blamed Vice President Dick Cheney, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and like-minded aides. Wilkerson said that Cheney must have sincerely believed that Iraq could be a spawning ground for new terror assaults, because "otherwise I have to declare him a moron, an idiot or a nefarious bastard."
Wow, those are pretty harsh words. However, I don't think Dick is either a moron or an idiot.
Cheney's office, Rumsfeld aides and others argued "that the president of the United States is all-powerful, that as commander in chief the president of the United States can do anything he damn well pleases," Wilkerson said.

On the other side were Powell, others at the State Department and top military brass, and occasionally then-national security adviser Condoleezza Rice, Wilkerson said.

Powell raised frequent and loud objections, his former aide said, once yelling into a telephone at Rumsfeld: "Donald, don't you understand what you are doing to our image?"

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Monday, November 28, 2005

Who's minding the store?

Via this Eric Alterman post on HuffPo, I stumbled across this gem in yesterday's NYT -- Help Wanted: Academic Economists, Pro-Bush - New York Times:
IT'S no secret that hurricanes and wars have swamped the economic agenda that George W. Bush planned for his second term. In the commotion, however, one fact has gone largely unnoticed: much of Washington's expert economic team has disappeared.

The chairmanship of the Council of Economic Advisers will soon be vacant, and two spots on the Federal Reserve Board that were recently filled by academic economists already are. There is no assistant secretary of the Treasury for tax policy, and the director's chair at the Congressional Budget Office, currently occupied by Douglas J. Holtz-Eakin, will soon be empty, too.

The White House and Congress need as many as five academic economists of high caliber, and it's not obvious where they will come from. The Republican Party may be facing something of a shallow bench.

'Bush's reputation in at least the academic community is about as low as you can imagine,' said William A. Niskanen, who was a member of the council during President Ronald Reagan's first term and is now chairman of the Cato Institute, a libertarian research group. 'A lot of people would not be willing to give up a good tenured position for a position in the White House.'
What will it take before the MSM wakes up to the fact that this administration has been, is, and continues to be a walking disaster that is ruining the coutry day by day? When will the congress wake up and assume its responsibilty of oversight of the executive branch?

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Mitt Romney ...

... is an idiot.
"The Commonwealth is very pleased with Microsoft’s progress in creating an open document format," said the state’s Administration and Finance (A&F) Secretary Tom Trimarco in a short statement on Thanksgiving eve. "If Microsoft follows through as planned, we are optimistic that Office Open XML will meet our new standards for acceptable open formats."
The so-called "progress" is nothing more than marketing legerdemain (aka FUD).

Not only that, but Romney is as slimey as Karl Rove when it comes to swiftboating:
In a front-page story, The Boston Globe said Quinn is being investigated for attending out-of-state conferences that were sponsored by technology and information companies. The Globe quoted two unnamed “Romney administration officials” who said Trimarco wants to know details of Quinn’s trips. The Globe said the investigation was launched after it made inquiries about Quinn’s trips and whether they violated state conflict-of-interest regulations.

Some sources said Quinn’s trips had been approved by Kriss and Quinn has noted he has been in demand as a speaker at computer conferences because of the interest in the state’s debate over the formats.

Kriss and Quinn have supported an “Open Standards, Open Source” policy, arguing that it would open up the state’s office software business to increased competition.
The kicker, of course, is this:
Supporters of Microsoft maintain that that stance would unfairly shut out Microsoft from state business.
That has to be the most ironic statement ever written.

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It depends on what the meaning of is is

Frank Rich's War - November 28, 2005 - The New York Sun - NY Newspaper:
Mr. Rich's New York Times column yesterday refers to Mr. Bush's 2003 State of the Union address with the 'bogus 16 words about Saddam's fictitious African uranium.' Those words were, 'The British government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa.' But those 16 words are neither bogus nor fictitious. They were and are true.
The Sun, a conservative rag if ever there was one, is parsing words here. yes, the words were and are true, to the extent that they are interpreted literally. However, the White House, none-the-less, retracted those very words when they were found to be a) quite disingenuous and b) misleading since the adminisration had also learned that the claim was debunked, despite the attempt of the editors to undebunk the claims.

However, they completely miss the point that the wrds were placed in the SOTU for a reason... to scare the bejeezus out of us all into believing that Saddam was minutes away from pushing the button and incinerating New York or Washington D.C. so that we would back his war of choice on a sovereign nation that was, in fact, no threat to us what so ever.

The words were chosen carefully so as not to be untrue but to convey a sense of dire and urgent threat which did not exist.

That is misleading.

The wingnuts are grasping at straws at this stage.

We were mislead. Anyone who was not brainwashed by FauxNews knew this then, and even some of the brainwashed know this to be true now that the flood of news only reinforces the argument that we were mislead.

Bush and Cheney and co may not have outright lied, but they were exceedingly selective with what they did tell us, all to scare the pants off anyone listening.

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You think maybe the building is speaking to us?

CNN.com - Marble chunk falls from Supreme Court facade - Nov 28, 2005:
WASHINGTON (AP) -- A basketball-sized piece of marble molding fell from the facade over the entrance to the Supreme Court Monday, landing on the steps near visitors waiting to enter the building.<.blockquote>

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Super W

Sy Hersh's latest piece; UP IN THE AIR -- Where is the Iraq war headed next?:
Current and former military and intelligence officials have told me that the President remains convinced that it is his personal mission to bring democracy to Iraq, and that he is impervious to political pressure, even from fellow Republicans. They also say that he disparages any information that conflicts with his view of how the war is proceeding.

Bush’s closest advisers have long been aware of the religious nature of his policy commitments. In recent interviews, one former senior official, who served in Bush’s first term, spoke extensively about the connection between the President’s religious faith and his view of the war in Iraq. After the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, the former official said, he was told that Bush felt that “God put me here” to deal with the war on terror. The President’s belief was fortified by the Republican sweep in the 2002 congressional elections; Bush saw the victory as a purposeful message from God that “he’s the man,” the former official said. Publicly, Bush depicted his reëlection as a referendum on the war; privately, he spoke of it as another manifestation of divine purpose.
Shouldn't that have been: Look, up in the air! It's a bird! No, it's a plane! Nope, it's SUPER DUBYA!! Faster than a fifth-grader on ridalin, able to ignore sound intelligence with a wave of his hand, more impervious to political pressure than Richard Nixon, and who, disguised as George, a mild mannered cowboy from Texas running a country into the ground, fights a never-ending battle for truth, justice and the American way.

There is nothing more dangerous than someone who thinks they are on a mission from god.
Jake: First you trade the Cadillac for a microphone. Then you lie to me about the band. Now you're gonna put me right back in the joint.
Elwood: They're not gonna catch us. We're on a mission from God.

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Sunday, November 27, 2005

A Journey That Ended in Anguish

A Journey That Ended in Anguish is a must read article, but I have heavily excerpted below (emphasis mine).
WASHINGTON — One hot, dusty day in June, Col. Ted Westhusing was found dead in a trailer at a military base near the Baghdad airport, a single gunshot wound to the head.

The Army would conclude that he committed suicide with his service pistol. At the time, he was the highest-ranking officer to die in Iraq.

The Army closed its case. But the questions surrounding Westhusing's death continue.

Westhusing, 44, was no ordinary officer. He was one of the Army's leading scholars of military ethics, a full professor at West Point who volunteered to serve in Iraq to be able to better teach his students. He had a doctorate in philosophy; his dissertation was an extended meditation on the meaning of honor.

[...]

A note found in his trailer seemed to offer clues. Written in what the Army determined was his handwriting, the colonel appeared to be struggling with a final question.

How is honor possible in a war like the one in Iraq?

[...]

But amid the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, he told friends that he felt experience in Iraq would help him in teaching cadets. In the fall of 2004, he volunteered for duty.

"He wanted to serve, he wanted to use his skills, maybe he wanted some glory," recalled Nick Fotion, his advisor at Emory. "He wanted to go."

In January, Westhusing began work on what the Pentagon considered the most important mission in Iraq: training Iraqi forces to take over security duties from U.S. troops.

Westhusing's task was to oversee a private security company, Virginia-based USIS, which had contracts worth $79 million to train a corps of Iraqi police to conduct special operations.

[...]

Then, in May, Westhusing received an anonymous four-page letter that contained detailed allegations of wrongdoing by USIS.

The writer accused USIS of deliberately shorting the government on the number of trainers to increase its profit margin. More seriously, the writer detailed two incidents in which USIS contractors allegedly had witnessed or participated in the killing of Iraqis.

A USIS contractor accompanied Iraqi police trainees during the assault on Fallouja last November and later boasted about the number of insurgents he had killed, the letter says. Private security contractors are not allowed to conduct offensive operations.

In a second incident, the letter says, a USIS employee saw Iraqi police trainees kill two innocent Iraqi civilians, then covered it up. A USIS manager "did not want it reported because he thought it would put his contract at risk."

[...]

However, several U.S. officials said inquiries on USIS were ongoing. One U.S. military official, who, like others, requested anonymity because of the sensitivity of the case, said the inquiries had turned up problems, but nothing to support the more serious charges of human rights violations.

"As is typical, there may be a wisp of truth in each of the allegations," the official said.

The letter shook Westhusing, who felt personally implicated by accusations that he was too friendly with USIS management, according to an e-mail in the report.

"This is a mess … dunno what I will do with this," he wrote home to his family May 18.

The colonel began to complain to colleagues about "his dislike of the contractors," who, he said, "were paid too much money by the government," according to one captain.

"The meetings [with contractors] were never easy and always contentious. The contracts were in dispute and always under discussion," an Army Corps of Engineers official told investigators.

[...]

After a three-month inquiry, investigators declared Westhusing's death a suicide. A test showed gunpowder residue on his hands. A shell casing in the room bore markings indicating it had been fired from his service revolver.

Then there was the note.

Investigators found it lying on Westhusing's bed. The handwriting matched his.

The first part of the four-page letter lashes out at Petraeus and Fil. Both men later told investigators that they had not criticized Westhusing or heard negative comments from him. An Army review undertaken after Westhusing's death was complimentary of the command climate under the two men, a U.S. military official said.

Most of the letter is a wrenching account of a struggle for honor in a strange land.

"I cannot support a msn [mission] that leads to corruption, human rights abuse and liars. I am sullied," it says. "I came to serve honorably and feel dishonored.

"Death before being dishonored any more."


[...]

Westhusing's family and friends are troubled that he died at Camp Dublin, where he was without a bodyguard, surrounded by the same contractors he suspected of wrongdoing. They wonder why the manager who discovered Westhusing's body and picked up his weapon was not tested for gunpowder residue.

Mostly, they wonder how Col. Ted Westhusing — father, husband, son and expert on doing right — could have found himself in a place so dark that he saw no light.

"He's the last person who would commit suicide," said Fichtelberg, his graduate school colleague. "He couldn't have done it. He's just too damn stubborn."

Westhusing's body was flown back to Dover Air Force Base in Delaware. Waiting to receive it were his family and a close friend from West Point, a lieutenant colonel.

In the military report, the unidentified colonel told investigators that he had turned to Michelle, Westhusing's wife, and asked what happened.

She answered:

"Iraq."
This story is just too sad for words. However, it raises more questions than it provides answers.

Why are civilian contractors being used to train Iraqi forces?!?! WTF is up with that?

If we don't need more troops, as Rumsfeld, Cheney and others keep reminding us ad nauseum, then why on earth are our tax dollars paying civilian contractors to do the work that the military are supposed to be doing?

Today, on MTP, Russert was asking Sen. Warner (R-Va) about the closed hearings he held this week in which it was leaked that what the battlefield commanders had reported was that they did not have enough troops and that they had repeatedly asked for more but were turned down flat. Warner weaseled out of a response to Russert's question with claims that he could not confirm nor deny the truthfulness of the leaked information about the substance of the hearings. When asked whether Sen. Warner thought that Rumsfeld and the president had been less than candid in their repeated statements that "if the commanders in Iraq ask for more troops, they will get them", the senator said he believed that Rumsfeld was being truthful.

I nearly threw up. What is unsaid in any of this is the fact that Rumsfeld has made it crystal clear that he doesn't want to hear about the need for more troops, and hence his immediate subordinates, those in charge in Iraq and Afghanistan, have never asked him and have simply been turning back any requests from the battlefield commanders. That was the substance of the hearing and Sen. Warner is being disingenuous and IMO unpatriotic by not letting us know the truth.

Sen. Biden (D-De) made that point clear (thankfully), and reiterated that it has been clear from the start that we didn't have enough going in, enough to secure the peace after Saddam had been overthrown, and didn't have enough to mount a counter-insurgency. He said that now it is too late, that increasing the forces will only reinforce the perception that the US is an occupying force; the very thing that fuels the insurgency.

Iraq is officially a clusterf***. Why Rumsfeld wasn't fired long, long ago is a mystery. He has completely ruined our military. The man is utterly insane, and yet Dipshit keeps him on. I can't wait for the "Rummy, you're doing a heckova job" statement from Dubya.

Fire Rumsfeld, now. This clusterf*** is his clusterf***, even if it is Cheney's war.

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Names have been assigned!

Dave Orchard's Blog: Names have been assigned! I'm more inerested to know when URIs will be assigned and even more curious to know what they have been called previously... thing 1 and thing 2?

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Friday, November 25, 2005

Eyes wide shut

The Seattle Times: Local News: Defense hawk Dicks says he now sees war as a mistake (emphasis mine):
WASHINGTON — It was after 11 p.m. on Friday when Rep. Norm Dicks finally left the Capitol, fresh from the heated House debate on the Iraq war. He was demoralized and angry.

[...]

Dicks now says it was all a mistake — his vote, the invasion, and the way the United States is waging the war.

While he disagrees with Murtha's conclusion that U.S. troops should be withdrawn within six months, Dicks said, "He may well be right if this insurgency goes much further."

"The insurgency has gotten worse and worse," he said. "That's where Murtha's rationale is pretty strong — we're talking a lot of casualties with no success in sight. The American people obviously know that this war is a mistake."

Dicks, a member of the House Intelligence Committee, says he's particularly angry about the intelligence that supported going to war.

Without the threat of weapons of mass destruction (WMDs), he said, he would "absolutely not" have voted for the war.

The Bush administration has accused some members of Congress of rewriting history by claiming the president misled Americans about the reasons for going to war. Congress, the administration says, saw the same intelligence and agreed Iraq was a threat.

But Dicks says the intelligence was "doctored." And he says the White House didn't plan for and deploy enough troops for the growing insurgency.

"A lot of us relied on [former CIA director] George Tenet. We had many meetings with the White House and CIA, and they did not tell us there was a dispute between the CIA, Commerce or the Pentagon on the WMDs," he said.

He and Murtha tended to give the military, the CIA and the White House the benefit of the doubt, Dicks says. But he now says he and his colleagues should have pressed much harder for answers.
Well, that's the whole point, isn't it. The war-criminals in the WH who claim that over 100 Democrats voted for the war as evidence that "everyone believed" and that "everyone had access to the same intelligence" are simply not to be believed. They are lying and they, and apparently a majority of Americans, know it.

The scales are finally falling from their eyes, and they don't like what they see.

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Thursday, November 24, 2005

Turkey's in the oven

Our turkey is stuffed and in the oven (all 22 lbs of it!).

My secret ingredient is vino and lots of butter.

Coarsely chop up some carrots, celerey and onion and put them in the pan.

Heat a couple liters of decent chardonnay and melt a pound of butter in the heated wine. Cover the bird with some cheese cloth soaked the wine/butter mix. Then use the remainder to baste the bird periodically while it cooks.

Strain out the drippings (which are saturated in the wine/butter) to make a great turkey gravy.

Happy Thanksgiving all!

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Wednesday, November 23, 2005

No, it's not about oil

Nothing to see here, move along. Yesterday's Independent reports on Iraq's oil: The spoils of war (emphasis mine):
Yesterday's report said the use of production sharing agreements (PSAs) was proposed by the US State Department before the invasion and adopted by the Coalition Provisional Authority. 'The current government is fast-tracking the process. It is already negotiating contracts with oil companies in parallel with the constitutional process, elections and passage of a Petroleum Law,' the report, Crude Designs, said.
Newsflash to the 2,100 families of those killed in Iraq, and the 20,000 who have been maimed for life. Your sons and daughters, sisters and brothers died for a noble cause: to line the pockets of ExxonMobil, ChevronTexaco and British Petrolium executives.

This was a war of choice not to rid the world of Saddam's WMD (he had none), not to bring freedom and democracy to the middle east, it was all about oil. From the reports of the maps of Iraq laid out on the tables at the meetings with oil executives during Dick Cheney's Energy Task Force, this was, and has always been about oil. Not about terrorism, not about weapons of mass destruction, not about freedom and democracy. Oil.

Let's examine that paragraph carefully. "the use of production sharing agreements (PSAs) was proposed by the US State Department before the invasion and adopted by the Coalition Provisional Authority." The CPA existed before the invasion?! Worse yet, the CPA was a creation of the US State Department, wasn't it? Or, was the CPA a creation of the OSP? I'm so confused. Regardless, they were writing the contracts to divvy up the spoils of war before the first bullets flew.

Gee, it sure seems to me like someone had already made up their minds to invade a sovereign country before the first bombs were dropped.

No, this was never about oil.

I think I'm going to be sick.

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  • The use of the exploitative Production Sharing Agreements (PSA) was first proposed by the US State Department 'Future of Iraq' project before the 2003 invasion.

    Then, after the invasion, the US-controlled Coalition Provisional Authority adopted this plan, which is projectd to benefit foreign oil companies to the tune of $74-194 billion over the likely lifetime of the contracts.

    This is all extensively detailed in the report which The Independent covered: www.crudedesigns.org

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at November 27, 2005 6:02 PM  

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Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Doofus-in-chief

Blair talked Bush out of bombing al-Jazeera: report - Yahoo! News:
The Mirror said such a strike would have been "the most spectacular foreign policy disaster since the Iraq war itself."

The newspaper said that the memo "casts fresh doubt on claims that other attacks on al-Jazeera were accidents". It cited the 2001 direct hit on the channel's Kabul office.
No, the most spectacular foriegn policy disaster is Dubya himself.

Worst.President.Ever.

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A floor wax AND a dessert topping

Joe Gregorio rips apart the new charter for the W3C Efficient XML Interchange Working Group
Scope and Goals

XML has been enormously successful as a markup language for documents and data, { So let's start screwing with it! } but is not an optimal format for all purposes. { Really? You mean it's not a floor wax and dessert topping? Let's be clear, XML isn't for all applications. If it doesn't fit your needs don't use it! }
I had an interesting discussion with John Schneider at XML 2005 last week about this topic. He was rattling off usage scenarios such as DoD applications where compression alone wasn't sufficient: "because the messages exchanged are small and don't compress well". I nearly needed to be picked up off the floor I was laughing so hard inside. Let's see, the DoD will likely be applying message-level security... last time I checked, even a "ping" message that was signed and encrypted would be around 6kb, and compresses (zip) down to just under 1.5kb (76%). Then, there is the niggling issue that in order to sign/encrypt a message, you need more than just the infoset, you need the canonical lexical representation anyway, so what you might have saved in terms of performance of databinding XML to primitive datatypes is lost, because you have to reconstruct the canonical lexical representation to decrypt and validate anyway.

IMO, there is no silver bullet.

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Sunday, November 20, 2005

War of ideas

Col. Lawrence Wilkerson in CNN (Via C&L)

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What I Knew Before the Invasion

Former Sen. Bob Graham (D-FL) -- What I Knew Before the Invasion (emphasis mine):
In the past week President Bush has twice attacked Democrats for being hypocrites on the Iraq war. "[M]ore than 100 Democrats in the House and Senate, who had access to the same intelligence, voted to support removing Saddam Hussein from power," he said.

The president's attacks are outrageous. Yes, more than 100 Democrats voted to authorize him to take the nation to war. Most of them, though, like their Republican colleagues, did so in the legitimate belief that the president and his administration were truthful in their statements that Saddam Hussein was a gathering menace -- that if Hussein was not disarmed, the smoking gun would become a mushroom cloud.

The president has undermined trust. No longer will the members of Congress be entitled to accept his veracity. Caveat emptor has become the word. Every member of Congress is on his or her own to determine the truth.

[...]

I, too, presumed the president was being truthful -- until a series of events undercut that confidence.

[...]

From my advantaged position, I had earlier concluded that a war with Iraq would be a distraction from the successful and expeditious completion of our aims in Afghanistan. Now I had come to question whether the White House was telling the truth -- or even had an interest in knowing the truth.

On Oct. 11, I voted no on the resolution to give the president authority to go to war against Iraq. I was able to apply caveat emptor. Most of my colleagues could not.
Yep... everyone had access to the same intelligence... NOT!

Sen. Graham comes as close as one comes in politics to saying that the president is full of s***.

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HuffPo's O'Reilly Blacklist

Thank you!



We will add your name to the blacklist so Bill O'Reilly will know where to direct his anger.

Count me in. Add yourself here.

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Mein Gott!

How U.S. Fell Under the Spell of 'Curveball' - Los Angeles Times (emphasis mine):
The senior BND officer who supervised Curveball's case said he was aghast when he watched Powell misstate Curveball's claims as a justification for war.

"We were shocked," the official said. "Mein Gott! We had always told them it was not proven…. It was not hard intelligence."

In a telephone interview, Powell said that George J. Tenet, then the director of central intelligence, and his top deputies personally assured him before his U.N. speech that U.S. intelligence on the mobile labs was "solid." Since then, Powell said, the case "has totally blown up in our faces."


[...]

"The Iraqis were adept at feeding us what we wanted to hear," said a former official of the Pentagon's Defense Intelligence Agency who helped debrief about 50 Iraqi emigres in Germany before the war. "Most of it was garbage."

[...]

It got worse, like a children's game of "telephone," in which information gets increasingly distorted.

[...]

"Our fear is that as it was analyzed and translated and reanalyzed and retranslated, and comments got added, it could have gotten sexed up by accident," agreed a former CIA operations official.

[...]


But the story had holes.

"His information to us was very vague," said the senior German intelligence official. "He could not say if these things functioned, if they worked."

Curveball also said he could not identify what microbes the trucks were designed to produce.

"He didn't know … whether it was anthrax or not," said the BND supervisor. "He had nothing to do with actual production of [a biological] agent. He was in the equipment testing phase. And the equipment worked."

David Kay, who read the Curveball file when he headed the CIA's search for hidden weapons in 2003, said Curveball's accounts were maddeningly murky.

"He was not in charge of trucks or production," Kay said. "He had nothing to do with actual production of biological agent. He never saw them actually produce [an] agent."

But the CIA and the White House overlooked the holes in the story.

[...]

More problematic were the three sources the CIA said had corroborated Curveball's story. Two had ties to Chalabi. All three turned out to be frauds.

The most important, a former major in the Iraqi intelligence service, was deemed a liar by the CIA and DIA. In May 2002, a fabricator warning was posted in U.S. intelligence databases.

Powell said he was never warned, during three days of intense briefings at CIA headquarters before his U.N. speech, that he was using material that both the DIA and CIA had determined was false. "As you can imagine, I was not pleased," Powell said. "What really made me not pleased was they had put out a burn notice on this guy, and people who were even present at my briefings knew it."

[...]

In May 1999, before Curveball defected, a national intelligence estimate on worldwide biological warfare programs said Iraq was "probably continuing work to develop and produce BW [bio-warfare] agents," and could restart production in six months.

In December 2000, after a year of Curveball's reports, another national intelligence estimate cautiously noted that "new intelligence" had caused U.S. intelligence "to adjust our assessment upward" and "suggests Baghdad has expanded'' its bio-weapons program.

But the caveats disappeared after the Sept. 11 attacks and the still-unsolved mailing of anthrax-laced letters to several U.S. states.

[...]

Other warnings poured in. The CIA Berlin station chief wrote that the BND had "not been able to verify" Curveball's claims. The CIA doctor who met Curveball wrote to his supervisor shortly before Powell's speech questioning "the validity" of the Iraqi's information.

"Keep in mind that this war is going to happen regardless of what Curve Ball said or didn't say and the Powers That Be probably aren't terribly interested in whether Curve Ball knows what he's talking about," his supervisor wrote back, Senate investigators found. The supervisor later told them he was only voicing his opinion that war appeared inevitable.

[...]

On Feb. 5, 2003, Powell told the packed U.N. chamber that his account was based on "solid sources" and "facts and conclusions based on solid intelligence." "We thought maybe they had the smoking gun," recalled the BND supervisor, who watched Powell on TV. "My gut feeling was the Americans must have so much from reconnaissance planes and satellites, from infiltrated spotter teams from Special Forces, and other systems. We thought they must have tons of stuff."

Instead, Powell emphasized Curveball's "eyewitness" account, calling it "one of the most worrisome things that emerge from the thick intelligence file."

A congressional staffer on intelligence said she realized the case was weak when she saw Powell display CIA drawings of trucks but not photos. "A drawing isn't evidence," she said. "It's hearsay."

Powell's speech failed to sway many diplomats, but it had an immediate impact in Baghdad.

"The Iraqis scoured the country for trailers," said a former CIA official who helped interrogate Iraqi officials and scientists in U.S. custody after the war. "They were in real panic mode. They were terrified that this was real, and they couldn't explain it."

An explanation was available within days, but U.S. officials ignored it.

On Feb. 8, three days after Powell's speech, the U.N.'s Team Bravo conducted the first search of Curveball's former work site. The raid by the American-led biological weapons experts lasted 3 1/2 hours. It was long enough to prove Curveball had lied.


This part was most striking for me:
One CIA-led unit investigated Curveball himself. The leader was "Jerry," a veteran CIA bio-weapons analyst who had championed Curveball's case at the CIA weapons center. They found Curveball's personnel file in an Iraqi government storeroom. It was devastating.

Curveball was last in his engineering class, not first, as he had claimed. He was a low-level trainee engineer, not a project chief or site manager, as the CIA had insisted.

Most important, records showed Curveball had been fired in 1995, at the very time he said he had begun working on bio-warfare trucks. A former CIA official said Curveball also apparently was jailed for a sex crime and then drove a Baghdad taxi.

Jerry and his team interviewed 60 of Curveball's family, friends and co-workers. They all denied working on germ weapons trucks. Curveball's former bosses at the engineering center said the CIA had fallen for "water cooler gossip" and "corridor conversations."

"The Iraqis were all laughing," recalled a former member of the survey group. "They were saying, 'This guy? You've got to be kidding.' "

Jerry tracked down Curveball's Sunni Muslim parents in a middle-class Baghdad neighborhood.

"Our guy was very polite," Kay recalled. "He said, 'We understand your son doesn't like Americans.' His mother looked shocked. She said, 'No, no! He loves Americans.' And she took him into [her son's] bedroom and it was filled with posters of American rock stars. It was like any other teenage room. She said one of his goals was to go to America."

The deeper Jerry probed, the worse Curveball looked.

Childhood friends called him a "great liar" and a "con artist." Another called him "a real operator." The team reported that "people kept saying what a rat Curveball was."

Jerry and another CIA analyst abruptly broke off the investigation and took a military flight back to Washington. Kay said Jerry appeared to be nearing a nervous breakdown.

"They had been true believers in Curveball," Kay said. "They absolutely believed in him. They knew every detail in his file. But it was total hokum. There was no truth in it. They said they had to go home to explain how all this was all so wrong. They wanted to fight the battle at the CIA."

Back home, senior CIA officials resisted. Jerry was "read the riot act" and accused of "making waves" by his office director, according to the presidential commission. He and his colleague ultimately were transferred out of the weapons center.

The CIA was "very, very vindictive," Kay said.

Soon after, Jerry got in touch with Michael Scheuer, a CIA analyst who felt he had been sidelined for criticizing CIA counterterrorism tactics. Scheuer would quit within a year.

"Jerry had become kind of a nonperson," Scheuer recalled of their meeting. "There was a tremendous amount of pressure on him not to say anything. Just to sit there and shut up."

A CIA spokeswoman confirmed the account, but declined to comment further. Jerry still works at the CIA and could not be contacted for this report. His former supervisor, reached at home, said she could not speak to the media. "What was done to them was wrong," said a former Pentagon official who investigated the case for the presidential commission. "But we didn't see it so much as a cover-up as an expression of how profoundly resistant to recognizing mistakes the CIA culture was."
Bullshit. "we didn't see it so much as a cover-up?" Give me a break. Where did the pressure come from? From Dick and Scooter's repeated visits to the CIA demanding evidence that Saddam had WMD? Nope... nothing to see here, move along.

Re-writing history? Had access to the same intelligence as the White House?

Hey, Dick... may I call you Dick? You, and your dimwitted boss took this country to war on a pack of lies. You mislead the country. You know it, I know it, 57% of Americans think you and your sock puppet lied. In fact, were it not for FauxNews repeating your propagandistic lies day in, and day out, the numbers would be worse.
"Do you think President Bush gave the country the most accurate information he had before going to war with Iraq, or do you think President Bush deliberately misled people to make the case for war with Iraq?" Half sample (Form A)

Most
Accurate Misled Unsure
% % %
11/4-7/05 35 57 8
6/04 RV 44 47 9
3/04 52 42 6
Each day, we are treated to yet more evidence that you lied. That you "fixed the facts around the policy".

Hey Dick, go Cheney yourself!

1 Comments:

  • Just as Curveball was given a Burn Notice and anything he says is disregarded, it is time to come together to challenge and disregard other things such as the irrationality that led to the Iraq war.

    By Anonymous The Burn Notice, at February 07, 2016 8:43 AM  

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Saturday, November 19, 2005

Rube Goldberg would be proud.

Blue Ball Machine (Classic GIF Returned) is pretty cool.

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A little humor

(Via Yellow Dog Blog)

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Catch me if you can

The World Community Grid will be one year old on Monday, and they have launched a new project: FightAIDS@Home:
FightAIDS@Home (Launched November 21, 2005)
FightAIDS@Home is a project focused on using computation methods to identify candidate drugs that have the right shape and chemical characteristics to block HIV protease. This approach is called 'Structure-Based Drug Design', and according to the National Institute of General Medical Sciences, it has already had a dramatic effect on the lives of people living with AIDS.
I've been running the WCG as a screensaver, with no problem (it's hardly noticable) since the end of July and have thus far accumulated over 200 hours of runtime.
Totals:

Total Run Time (y:d:h:m:s) (Rank) 0:201:09:17:34 (#8,697)
Points Generated (Rank) 140,232 (#7,189)
Results Returned (Rank) 581 (#7,523)

Averages:

Avg. Run Time Per Calendar Day (y:d:h:m:s) 0:001:15:17:42
Avg. Run Time Per Result (y:d:h:m:s) 0:000:08:19:08
Avg. Points Per Hour of Run Time 29.01376
Avg. Points Per Calendar Day 1,140.09756
Avg. Points Per Result 241.36317
Avg. Results Per Calendar Day 4.72358

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Let the Swiftboating Begin!

CNN.com - Defense official: Rumsfeld given Iraq withdrawal plan - Nov 18, 2005:
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The top U.S. commander in Iraq has submitted a plan to the Pentagon for withdrawing troops in Iraq, according to a senior defense official.

Gen. George Casey submitted the plan to Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld. It includes numerous options and recommends that brigades -- usually made up of about 2,000 soldiers each -- begin pulling out of Iraq early next year.

Why does Gen. Casey hate our troops! Why is he emboldening the "terrorists"?

The WH smear machine launched itself into full attack mode on Rep. Murtha for suggesting as much:
Press secretary Scott McClellan released this statement : "Congressman Murtha is a respected veteran and politician who has a record of supporting a strong America. So it is baffling that he is endorsing the policy positions of Michael Moore and the extreme liberal wing of the Democratic party. The eve of an historic democratic election in Iraq is not the time to surrender to the terrorists. After seeing his statement, we remain baffled -- nowhere does he explain how retreating from Iraq makes America safer."
Here's the problem with Scotty's missive (empahasis mine):
Known as a friend and champion of officers at the
Pentagon and in the war zone, it is widely believed in Congress that Murtha often speaks for those in uniform and could be echoing what U.S. commanders in the field and in the Pentagon are saying privately about the conflict.
No wonder the cheerleader-in-chief is always speaking to military units, reiterating his "stay the course" talking points.

During last night's debate on the so-called Murtha resolution (which was actually a Republican resolution, submitted by Rep. Hunter, not Rep. Murtha's motion at all), the cowards in the GOP leadership put up Rep. Jean Schmidt (R-Wingnuttia and the lowest ranking Republican in the House) who launched into a direct attack on Rep. Murtha's patriotism, effectively calling him a coward on the floor of the House... words that, once the House was called back into order following the ensuing melee, she had to have removed from the record:
The battle boiled over when Representative Jean Schmidt, an Ohio Republican who is the most junior member of the House, told of a phone call she had just received from a Marine colonel back home.

"He asked me to send Congress a message: stay the course," Ms. Schmidt said. "He also asked me to send Congressman Murtha a message: that cowards cut and run, Marines never do."

Democrats booed in protest and shouted Ms. Schmidt down in her attack on Representative John P. Murtha of Pennsylvania, a Vietnam combat veteran and one of the House's most respected members on military matters. They caused the House to come to an abrupt standstill, and moments later, Representative Harold Ford, Democrat of Tennessee, charged across the chamber's center aisle to the Republican side screaming that Ms. Schmidt's attack had been unwarranted.

"You guys are pathetic!" yelled Representative Martin Meehan, Democrat of Massachusetts. "Pathetic."
There's also the matter of the suspicious timing of a GOP-led ethics investigation of Rep. Murtha. Seriously, you can't make this shit up. They are desperate.
On Countdown tonight, Newsweek's Howard Fineman was tapped with commenting on the Republican attack on Murtha, which has now devolved into Republicans asserting they will launch an ethics probe of Murtha in explicit retaliation for his stance on the Iraq War. Fineman is a frequent guest on the program, an expert commentator, a solid reporter, and usually meets the challenge with the same plays of detached though good-natured bemusement that most reporters choose for such occasions. Punditry has to be light, it seems, to make up for the subject matter.

But this time around, on the heels of a report on the Iraq War debate in the House, Fineman was somewhere between somber and simmering, from the first moment of the interview to the last. Professional, yes, but the raw darkness of the mood was striking.

Fineman was remarkably blunt in his assertions that the "ethics" and other attacks on Murtha are being orchestrated by Karl Rove -- by name -- and the White House, which intends to hit Murtha with everything "necessary". He stated directly that the White House sees everything as a political operation. He was blunt in Murtha's record and leadership position in the war, and in attributing to Murtha the behind-the-scenes voices of many top Pentagon voices who are unhappy with both the state of the war effort and with Rumsfeld's planning in the specific.

In short, he made it perfectly, bitterly clear that the White House itself sees Murtha as a tremendous threat, considers itself at war with Murtha, and that Rove -- again, by name -- intends to hit him with everything at the administration's disposal.
This is going to backfire bigtime on the Bu$hCo slime machine. The American people have had enough of this bullshit. We don't want petty politics, we want some frickin' answers and a real plan for dealing with the disasterous quagmire in Viet Nam Iraq, not pithy talking points from Chimpy McSmirk. There were over 100 people killed yesterday in suicide bomb attacks. This has been one of the deadliest months in Iraq for U.S. troops, 57 dead in just 19 days. Last month, 99 dead with god only knows how many wounded.

Iraq is beyond FUBAR.

It's time for some adult supervision.

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Two turkeys

Dan Froomkin:
The White House Web site wants your help picking a name for the two turkeys who, in a long White House tradition, will be 'pardoned' by the president before Thanksgiving.

The official choices are: Democracy and Freedom; Blessing and Bounty; Marshmallow and Yam; Wattle and Snood; and Corn and Maize.

Too bad they're not accepting write-ins. You know who would win: Scooter and Karl.
LMAO!

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Friday, November 18, 2005

Not me

I thought they couldn't comment on an on-going investigation.

Top News Article | Reuters.com:
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Top administration officials from Vice President Dick Cheney to national security adviser Stephen Hadley denied being Washington Post journalist Bob Woodward's source about CIA operative Valerie Plame, White House officials, lawyers and other sources said on Thursday

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Let loose the dogs of war!

House Republicans Respond to Murtha - New York Times

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Big Time Smackdown

Rep. Murtha in his tirade calling for an immediate withdrawal from Mess-o-potamia:
Seldom overtly political, Murtha uncharacteristically responded to Vice President Dick Cheney's comments this week that Democrats were spouting 'one of the most dishonest and reprehensible charges' about the Bush administration's use of intelligence before the war.

'I like guys who've never been there that criticize us who've been there. I like that. I like guys who got five deferments and never been there and send people to war, and then don't like to hear suggestions about what needs to be done,' Murtha said.

Referring to Bush, Murtha added, 'I resent the fact, on Veterans Day, he criticized Democrats for criticizing them.'
Yes, let's remind everyone what a pucilanimous chicken-hawk Big Time really is.

Then, we have former top spook Adm. Stansfield Turner yesterday:
The accusations have been made by Admiral Stansfield Turner who labelled Dick Cheney "a vice president for torture".

He said: "We have crossed the line into dangerous territory".

The American Senate says torture should be banned - whatever the justification. But President Bush has threatened to veto the ruling.

The former spymaster claims Mr Bush is not telling the truth when he says that torture is not a method used by the US.

Speaking of Bush's claims that the US does not use torture, Admiral Turner, who ran the CIA from 1977 to 1981, said: "I do not believe him".

On Dick Cheney he said "I'm embarrassed the United States has a vice president for torture."

Admiral Turner's remarks were echoed by Republican Senator John McCain, himself a victim of torture in Vietnam.

He said torturing to get information was immoral, was not effective and encouraged potential enemies to do the same.
I can only hope that Dimwit and de Sade keep up their attacks, because they are backfiring. The VP for torture is sputtering vitriol at those who would dare to accuse the administration of lying in the run up to war, calling them un-American and unpatriotic. Unfortunately for him, his venomous spittle is sprayed in the direction of a majority of Americans, some 57% who now believe that the administration intentionally lied to them in the run-up to war. Keep it up, Dick. You're doing a heck-uv-a-job at alienating yourself to the country.

The MSM is no longer your sock puppet. Last night, on Anderson Cooper 360, for the second night in a row, Anderson skewered the Bu$hCo clownshow. He called "liar, liar, pants on fire" to Dubya's claim that the Democrats in the House and Senate received the same intelligence as the war criminals in the administration... NOT! Only eight members of congress saw the unclassified NIE, the one that contained all of the footnotes that suggested that the intelligence, that was blown out of all proportion by the administration hacks on the Sunday talk shows, might be flawed. What's worse is that the Dems who did manage to receive the "same intelligence" voted against giving the war criminals authority to use force against Iraq.

Finally, with the bombshell dropped by Woodward this week, the CIA leak investigation and its focus on the lies that lead us to war is once again frontpage news. We now learn that Fitzgerald intends to present Woodward's deposition to a new grand jury... that can't be good news for the members of the WHIG.

I'm looking forward to the day when "our long national nightmare is over". There's finally light at the end of the tunnel.

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Thursday, November 17, 2005

Tipping point

The Stakeholder:: Murtha in Full:
The war in Iraq is not going as advertised. It is a flawed policy wrapped in illusion. The American public is way ahead of us. The United States and coalition troops have done all they can in Iraq, but it is time for a change in direction. Our military is suffering. The future of our country is at risk. We cannot continue on the present course. It is evident that continued military action is not in the best interests of the United States of America, the Iraqi people or the Persian Gulf Region.

General Casey said in a September 2005 hearing, 'the perception of occupation in Iraq is a major driving force behind the insurgency.' General Abizaid said on the same date, 'Reducing the size and visibility of the coalition forces in Iraq is part of our counterinsurgency strategy.'

For 2 1/2 years, I have been concerned about the U.S. policy and the plan in Iraq. I have addressed my concerns with the Administration and the Pentagon and have spoken out in public about my concerns. The main reason for going to war has been discredited. A few days before the start of the war I was in Kuwait - the military drew a red line around Baghdad and said when U.S. forces cross that line they will be attacked by the Iraqis with Weapons of Mass Destruction - but the US forces said they were prepared. They had well trained forces with the appropriate protective gear.

We spend more money on Intelligence that all the countries in the world together, and more on Intelligence than most countries GDP. But the intelligence concerning Iraq was wrong. It is not a world intelligence failure. It is a U.S. intelligence failure and the way that intelligence was misused.

My plan calls:

1. To immediately redeploy U.S. troops consistent with the safety of U.S. forces.
2. To create a quick reaction force in the region.
3. To create an over-the-horizon presence of Marines.
4. To diplomatically pursue security and stability in Iraq.

This war needs to be personalized. As I said before, I have visited with the severely wounded of this war. They are suffering.

Because we in Congress are charged with sending our sons and daughters into battle, it is our responsibility, our obligation, to speak out for them. That's why I am speaking out.

Our military has done everything that has been asked of them, the U.S. can not accomplish anything further in Iraq militarily. It is time to bring them home.
The administration war criminals have already begun their swiftboat attack on Rep. Murtha. What cowards.

This is a tipping point. Murtha is a hawk of the first order. Viet Nam vet, ranking member, and former chairman of the House defense appropriations subcommittee.

C&L has the video. This is one pissed off dude.

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Bastards

The Left Coaster: White House Promises "Sustained Attack" Against Democrats Challenging Iraq Lies:
Fantastic. The White House promised this afternoon to conduct a sustanined attack against the Democrats for suggesting that the administration lied to the American people to sell the war in Iraq. Bring it on losers.

The more the White House keeps the "we didn't lie" message in the media, the more the public will be reminded that they probably did.

And under the alternate theory category, throw in a dash of WMD "salting" into Iraq as the reason why the White House Iraq Group intentionally blew up Brewster Jennings, and who knows how bad it will get for them in the coming weeks?
Interesting post... apparently, there may be more to the outing of Ms Plame than just to retaliate against Joe Wilson's op-ed.

Smells like treason to me, as if there's not already enough treasonous behavior emenating from the OVP.

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More headlines like these, please

This Knight Ridder article: In challenging war's critics, administration tinkers with truth offers a smackdown on the Cheney Bu$hCo administration's latest distortion of the truth in their criticism of those who dare to criticize the administration.
ASSERTION: In his speech, Bush noted that "more than a hundred Democrats in the House and the Senate - who had access to the same intelligence - voted to support removing Saddam Hussein from power."

CONTEXT: This isn't true.
Snark! I only wish that the headline editors had been a little less cautious. However, let's give them credit for not using a headline that read: Administration to war critics: You're hurting the troops" which is what we would have been reading before the MSM smelled blood in the water and relocated its spine.

In today's WSJ, we have this gem: Bush's Approval Rating Falls Again, Poll Shows. The article details the results of the latest Harris Poll that places Dubya's approval rating at 34% and Dr. Evil's approval rating slipping to just 30%, down from 35% in August. Even Condi's approval rating has slipped to 52% down from 57%.

You know things are bad for the administration when Joe Scarborough is complimenting Barbara Boxer on MSNBC's Scarborough Country for the great job she's doing on the Hill for calling for the panel of Big Oil execs to be brought back to the senate, under oath this time, to answer charges that they lied before congress. Even FoxNews has this headline: Dems: Oil Execs Lied at Senate Hearing. Yes, that's right folks... FoxNews.

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas...

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Wednesday, November 16, 2005

We apologize for the inconvenience

Apparently, I ran out of space on my ISP and as a result, it hosed my blog's index page for today (at least). I've made some room for the time being by deleting some old images... I'll need to figure out a way to deal with this.

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Adding insult to injury

Following up on my post on my developerWorks blog about my experience at XML 2005, I wanted to rant about my first experience with AirTran. Let's just say that after last night's experience, I am less inclined to recommend AirTran to anyone else.

The flight down to Atlanta was fine. I managed to get a business class upgrade ($35) (available on first-come first served basis I think) and the flight was uneventful, although there was a slight delay pushing back from the gate.

Last night was simply unacceptable. I had managed another business class upgrade, but there were technical difficulties that prevented an on-time departure (wing lights were not functioning I think is what they claimed to be the problem). We sat on the plane at the gate for over an hour while mechanics worked on the problem until they finally abandoned all hope of fixing the problem and deplaned everyone while they scrounged around for another plane.

We sat at the gate for another hour until they determined that they couldn't find another plane and cancelled the flight.

Apparently, they did manage to find a larger plane and dumped all of the 7:15 pm passengers on a (supposedly) 9:45 pm flight.

Business class was already full, so I lost the upgrade. They gave me a refund and a comp upgrade for a future flight (yeah, riiiight). But now I was stuck in coach with my knees compressed against the seat in-front of me. Talk about tight fits! Holy cow. I couldn't even manage to squeeze my laptop bag under the seat!

They finally managed to get all of the 7:15 passengers re-ticketed and boarded by 10:30 or so, but then we were delayed again at the gate for an unspecified reason (at the time) at about 11:00 the pilot informed us that they had to change the flight crew with some mumbling about some ostensible rationale (I think that it had to do with weather and the fact that the pilot originally assigned hadn't managed to fly yet without training wheels or something).

Soooo... we waited another half hour for the replacement flight crew (sigh) and finally lifted off at 11:30 pm... over four hours late.

Upon arrival at Logan, we were delayed yet again because they had no one at the arrival gate to work the jetway. So, we waited on the plane for an unnecessary 15 additional minutes while they found someone.

To add insult to injury, MassPort apparently doesn't run any shuttle busses to the overflow lot next to the Hyatt after 12:45 pm... however, they neglected to inform their other shuttle bus drivers of this and so I and a few others sat at the shuttle bus stop for 25 minutes waiting for a bus that didn't exist (despite the fact that we received repeated assurances that it was on its way).

So, I didn't make it home until nearly 3 am.

Thanks AirTran. Thanks MassPort. NOT!

I am glad that I am not going on anymore trips until after Turkeyday.

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Senator Hagel Talks Truth to Power

From TPMCafe - Senator Hagel Talks Truth to Power:
The Bush Administration must understand that each American has a right to question our policies in Iraq and should not be demonized for disagreeing with them. Suggesting that to challenge or criticize policy is undermining and hurting our troops is not democracy nor what this country has stood for, for over 200 years. The Democrats have an obligation to challenge in a serious and responsible manner, offering solutions and alternatives to the Administration's policies.

Vietnam was a national tragedy partly because Members of Congress failed their country, remained silent and lacked the courage to challenge the Administrations in power until it was too late. Some of us who went through that nightmare have an obligation to the 58,000 Americans who died in Vietnam to not let that happen again. To question your government is not unpatriotic - to not question your government is unpatriotic. America owes its men and women in uniform a policy worthy of their sacrifices.
I'm glad someone of the red persuasion is calling Bu$hCo on their sickening talking points.

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Tuesday, November 15, 2005

firedoglake: Did Rover Roll Over?

Jane Hamsher - firedoglake: Did Rover Roll Over?:
However, I think that if Rove gave anybody up, it had to be Cheney. I read over the Libby indictment again last night, and Fitzgerald has him cold (more about that later this afternoon). I don't think he would let Rove skate for another nail in Scooter's already air-tight coffin.

[...]

If true, this is one dangerous game they are playing. While I'm sure Dubya would sacrifice Cheney to save Rove, it really is hard to contemplate that this arrogant administration is already making that kind of concession to Fitzgerald. It's the kind of move that threatens to bring down the whole house of cards, especially when you're talking about someone as vicious and vindictive as Dick Cheney.

Whatever is going on behind the White House wall of silence, I'm quite certain it is not the portrait of amicable let's-get-back-to-screwing-the-poor relief that the Rove machine is zealously painting.

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Another Set of Scare Tactics

E.J. Dionne writes in Another Set of Scare Tactics (emphasis mine):
There is a great missing element in the argument over whether the administration manipulated the facts. Neither side wants to talk about the context in which Bush won a blank check from Congress to invade Iraq. He doesn't want us to remember that he injected the war debate into the 2002 midterm election campaign for partisan purposes, and he doesn't want to acknowledge that he used the post-Sept. 11 mood to do all he could to intimidate Democrats from raising questions more of them should have raised.

The big difference between our current president and his father is that the first President Bush put off the debate over the Persian Gulf War until after the 1990 midterm elections. The result was one of most substantive and honest foreign policy debates Congress has ever seen, and a unified nation. The first President Bush was scrupulous about keeping petty partisanship out of the discussion.

The current President Bush did the opposite. He pressured Congress for a vote before the 2002 election, and the war resolution passed in October.
This is an important point that is often lost. It is something that is even raised in the Downing Street Memos (emphasis mine):
The Defence Secretary said that the US had already begun "spikes of activity" to put pressure on the regime. No decisions had been taken, but he thought the most likely timing in US minds for military action to begin was January, with the timeline beginning 30 days before the US Congressional elections.
The political class will never admit to this, though.

This tactic was something that, at the time, sickened me. With the current administration of war criminals, politics always trumps national interest.

The results have been disasterous.

1 Comments:

  • To claim that Bush lied or mislead the country or Congress is more a commentary about the people of this country and our elected legislators than it is about the president. Nothing said by Bush or Cheney in 2002 differed from what Clinton and Gore were saying as early as 1998. The only difference was that by 2002, Saddam had ignored 13 UN Security Council Resolutions since 1991 instead of the 8 he had ignored by 1998. That Saddam had WMD by 2002 was pretty well the consensus of the international community and intelligence services of several close American allies and some not so close (Russia). Dionne's article simply tracts a different attack upon Bush for using possible war in the 2002 midterm elections. May I remind him and the other liberal media that WE WERE ALREADY AT WAR in 2002 and had been since Sept 11, 2001. It would have been irresponsible for any President, according to Clinton, to ignore the threat Saddam's WMD would have posed had he shared it with bin Laden. Bush had two choices...continue the "talk-fest" at the UN or act decisively upon our new strategy of pre-emption. He chose the latter and every current Democratic Senator considering a run for the Democratic nomination for President in '08 voted for the war. Now, they claim thay were mislead or didn't have enough info to make an educated decision. That's the purest form of BS there is and every time they make that argument, they lose more and more credibility for having "blindly" voted to approve a war they claim they didn't know enough about. Give me a bleeping break! Being a high school teacher for 30 years, I've heard better BS from 17 and 18 year olds! War against Saddam was the right thing to do, I just wish we had not screwed it up from the git-go. Had we not, most American forces would be out of that hell-hole by now, but that's another story for another time.

    By Anonymous Greg, at November 15, 2005 10:15 AM  

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Misleader-in-chief

(Via Eschaton )
Misleader-in-chief: Tom Toles cartoon

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  • When someone will investigate how much money M. Bush and his family made with Oil price increase which followed the Iraqi war?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at November 18, 2005 8:58 AM  

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Monday, November 14, 2005

Way forward?

Received from a much forwarded email:
George Bush has started an ill-timed and disastrous war under false pretenses by lying to the American people and to the Congress; he has run a budget surplus into a severe deficit; he has consistently and unconscionably favored the wealthy and corporations over the rights and needs of the population; he has destroyed trust and confidence in, and good will toward, the United States around the globe; he has ignored global warming, to the world's detriment; he has wantonly broken our treaty obligations; he has condoned torture of prisoners; he has attempted to create a theocracy in the United States; he has appointed incompetent cronies to positions of vital national importance.

Would someone please give him a blow job so we can impeach him?

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25 years!

Unbelievable as it may seem, my wife, Cheryl, and I have been married 25 years as of today. I don't know how she has put up with me all these years.

I, on the other hand, couldn't have made it this far without her.

Of course, as par for the course, I will be travelling to XML2005 today.

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  • I was surprised to learn that XML2005 was NOT a convention of Garment District shirt manufacturers... Anonymous 81

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at November 16, 2005 5:33 AM  

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Sunday, November 13, 2005

2000

My Dad passed this along: 2000.

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Lies and the lying liars

Think Progress � Debunking the Right: The World Did Not See the Iraqi Threat as Bush Did:
The defenders of the Bush Iraq policy rolled out a new talking point this morning on the Sunday talk shows. That is: the Bush administration wasn’t the only one to get the pre-war intelligence wrong — rather, this was a global failure of intelligence.
Sen. John McCain: “Every intelligence agency in the world, including the Russian, including the French, including the Israeli, all had reached the same conclusion, and that was that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction.” [Face the Nation]
Sen. Pat Roberts: “Not only ours but the British, not only that but the French, not only that but the Russians, not only that but the Israelis – this was a worldwide intelligence failure.” [Fox News Sunday]
Former White House Political Director Ken Mehlman: “The UN looked at it, the Germans looked at it, the French looked at it… they all agreed that this guy has WMD.” [Meet the Press]
What the right wants you to believe is that because these intelligence agencies may have believed Saddam had WMD, they also believed that the intelligence rose to the necessary level of justifying military force to invade Iraq. That is entirely false. In fact, many of our friends and allies believed the opposite — that based on the intelligence they had, the threat of Iraq did not rise to the level of justifying immediate force.
Thankfully, there's ThinkProgress to debunk the lies spewed by the Rethuglicans. I am simply nauseated by the way that the Bu$hCo apologists stare into the camera week after week and knowingly lie to the American viewing public.

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Libby May Have Tried to Mask Cheney's Role

In today's WaPo, Carol D. Leonnig and Jim VandeHei explore the $64,000 question:
In the aftermath of Libby's recent five-count indictment, this curious sequence raises a question of motives that hangs over the investigation: Why would an experienced lawyer and government official such as Libby leave himself so exposed to prosecutor Patrick J. Fitzgerald?
Why, indeed.
But when Libby was called to answer Fitzgerald's questions under oath before the grand jury on March 5 and again on March 24, 2004, he stuck to the story he had given in October. He repeated that he believed he had learned the information from a reporter and had forgotten Cheney had told him about Plame. He explained that he had not thought the material was classified because reporters knew it. But Fitzgerald pressed Libby -- and not so subtly raised the specter of a coverup. 'And let me ask you this directly,' Fitzgerald said. 'Did the fact that you knew that the law could . . . turn on where you learned the information from affect your account for the FBI -- when you told them that you were telling reporters Wilson's wife worked at the CIA but your source was a reporter rather than the vice president?' Libby denied it: 'No, it's a fact. It was a fact, that's what I told the reporters.'

After lengthy court battles over journalists' duty to testify in the case -- including several contempt citations by a trial court judge, appeals to the Supreme Court and one reporter's jailing -- Fitzgerald got all the reporters' testimony that he had sought. Russert, Time magazine reporter Matthew Cooper and Judith Miller of the New York Times all testified about their conversations with Libby. All contradicted Libby.
It is inconceivable, to me, that Libby had any other intention than to cover for Dr. Evil. To suggest that Libby, and Rove (let's not forget that Rasputin is still under investigation), both of whom have been caught in a lie... the same lie, could have had any other motivation than to bamboozle the investigation such that there could be no charge of intentionally outing a covert operative of the CIA. Frankly, the WH lies don't pass the smell test. Unfortunately, because the law requires proof of malicious intent, aside from the obstruction charges, their nefarious scheme may indeed have succeeded in its objective; to protect BigTime.

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New look

Someone, who shall not be named *cough* Dad *cough*, had complained about the color contrast of my blog's style. Hopefully, this new style is an improvement.

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Friday, November 11, 2005

ROFLMAO!

On the Effectiveness of Aluminium Foil Helmets: An Empirical Study:
Among a fringe community of paranoids, aluminum helmets serve as the protective measure of choice against invasive radio signals. We investigate the efficacy of three aluminum helmet designs on a sample group of four individuals. Using a $250,000 network analyser, we find that although on average all helmets attenuate invasive radio frequencies in either directions (either emanating from an outside source, or emanating from the cranium of the subject), certain frequencies are in fact greatly amplified. These amplified frequencies coincide with radio bands reserved for government use according to the Federal Communication Commission (FCC). Statistical evidence suggests the use of helmets may in fact enhance the government's invasive abilities. We theorize that the government may in fact have started the helmet craze for this reason.

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Don't worry, be happy

FOXNews.com - FOX News Polls - FNC Poll - 11/09/05 FOX News Poll: Global Warming:
NEW YORK — Most Americans believe global warming exists and a majority thinks it is a major problem — if not a crisis, according to a recent FOX News poll. Even so, less than half think they personally can do anything about the problem.

The new national poll finds that 77 percent of Americans believe global warming is happening and, of those, more than twice as many think it is caused by human behavior (46 percent) than by normal climate patterns (17 percent).
So much for the GOP talking points.

Hey, here's an idea... you know all the billions that Exxon, Shell, Mobil et al are gouging reaping quarter by quarter? How about they invest even a fraction of that into say, alternative/renewable energy source research and development.

If Bush wants his plummeting poll numbers to rise, he needs to pull a Nixon in China. Bush's China could be big oil. He could do something good for the country, instead of turning it into a third-world disaster zone by doing something to set our energy policy on a course to a) eliminate our dependency on Middle East oil and b) reduce carbon emissions that contribute to global warming.

I doubt that Dubya is up to the job though. His brain is too busy worrying about the indictment hanging over his head.

Update: Robert F Kennedy Jr. had this to say on his HuffPo blog today:
A Fox News Special “The Heat is On: The Case of Global Warming” airing this Sunday at 8:00 p.m. and 11:00 p.m. EST, documents the devastating impacts that global warming is already having on our planet. In one segment of the show, I accompany a Fox News crew to Glacier National Park in Montana where only 27 of the 150 glaciers that graced the park in 1850 remain--and these will be gone within our generation.

The portrayal of global warming in Fox’s piece is both fair and accurate.
Could it be that the tide is turning? That the scales have finally fallen from the eyes of the so-called "Conservative" types?

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I've fallen and I can't get up!

FOXNews.com - FOX News Polls - FNC Poll - 11/10/05 FOX Poll: President Bush's Ratings Continue to Suffer:
Today, 36 percent of Americans approve and 53 percent disapprove of the job Bush is doing as president. For comparison, two weeks ago 41 percent said they approved and 51 percent disapproved, and at the beginning of his second term 50 percent approved and 40 percent disapproved (January 25-26).

Until this week, Bush's approval rating had been at 40 percent or above — buoyed in large part by consistent strong support among Republicans; however, in mid-October approval among Republicans fell below 80 percent for the first time of his presidency and now sits at 72 percent.
Poor George... even Faux News can't spin this news. Keep in mind that this is GOPTV we're talking about and they have him at 36% and as low as 72% amongst GOPers and wingnuts.

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Thursday, November 10, 2005

Miss Run Amok

The Reporter's Last Take (emphasis mine):
Then the political editor based in New York, Clymer was awakened just after midnight one morning by a call from Miller, he says. She was demanding that a story about Democratic candidate Michael Dukakis be pulled from the paper.

The story was too soft, she complained -- and said Lee Atwater, the political strategist for Vice President George H.W. Bush, believed it was soft as well. Clymer said he was stunned to realize that Atwater apparently had either seen the story or been told about it before publication. He and Miller argued, he recalls, and he ultimately hung up on her, twice.

To Clymer, it was an indication of what he and others believe is Miller's main problem.

'She had gotten too close to her sources,' he says.
Exsqueeze me? Lee Atwater said it was too soft?! Lee Atwater? Karl Rove's mentor had access to a NYT story on his political opponent before it was published?!

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Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Ouch! That's gonna leave a scar!

Deconstructing Cheney - The Boston Globe:
THE INDICTMENT of the vice president's chief of staff for perjury and obstruction of justice is an occasion to consider just how damaging the long public career of Richard Cheney has been to the United States.
It only gets worse for Cheney de Sade as the article progresses from that rather scathing introduction.

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Monday, November 07, 2005

Moron-in-chief

SF Chronicle reports on Bush’s visit to Brazil:
At one point, da Silva even exhibited a map of his country, which is larger than the continental United States. 'Wow! Brazil is big,' Amorim quoted the U.S. president as responding.
"Wow! Brazil is big"?! The leader of the free world had no idea that Brazil was larger than the lower 48? Seriously, how did this moron get (re-)elected president?

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Sunday, November 06, 2005

The Gang That Couldn't Shoot Straight

The Gang That Couldn't Shoot Straight showed up at Howard University for a photo-op intended to win over black voters and turned it into a student protest.

How Bush Visit Became the Siege Of Howard U.:
To set off a student protest at this school, you'd have to be politically tone-deaf in the extreme, out of touch and flying blind. And yet, Bush did it.

God help us in Iraq.
Indeed.

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Stop the presses!

BREAKING! I actually agree with Mark Baker! <grin/> Sean Rhody is a clueless maroon. Editor-in-chief, pfft... no wonder I never visit any sys-con sites.

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Yet more evidence of lies

Report Warned Bush Team About Intelligence Doubts - New York Times (emphasis mine):
WASHINGTON, Nov. 5 — A top member of Al Qaeda in American custody was identified as a likely fabricator months before the Bush administration began to use his statements as the foundation for its claims that Iraq trained Al Qaeda members to use biological and chemical weapons, according to newly declassified portions of a Defense Intelligence Agency document.

The document, an intelligence report from February 2002, said it was probable that the prisoner, Ibn al-Shaykh al-Libi, "was intentionally misleading the debriefers" in making claims about Iraqi support for Al Qaeda’s work with illicit weapons.

The document provides the earliest and strongest indication of doubts voiced by American intelligence agencies about Mr. Libi’s credibility. Without mentioning him by name, President Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney, Colin L. Powell, then secretary of state, and other administration officials repeatedly cited Mr. Libi’s information as "credible" evidence that Iraq was training Al 8Qaeda members in the use of explosives and illicit weapons.

Among the first and most prominent assertions was one by Mr. Bush, who said in a major speech in Cincinnati in October 2002 that "we’ve learned that Iraq has trained Al Qaeda members in bomb making and poisons and gases."
You know why al Libi was making shit up? Because he was being tortured.
In outlining reasons for its skepticism, the D.I.A. report noted that Mr. Libi’s claims lacked specific details about the Iraqis involved, the illicit weapons used and the location where the training was to have taken place.

"It is possible he does not know any further details; it is more likely this individual is intentionally misleading the debriefers," the February 2002 report said. "Ibn al-Shaykh has been undergoing debriefs for several weeks and may be describing scenarios to the debriefers that he knows will retain their interest."
You know damn well that the word "debrief" used above is just a euphamism for "torture". Those who drafted this report knew that the guy was just telling them what they wanted to hear.

Sen. McCain (emphasis mine):
Mr. President, to fight terrorism we need intelligence. That much is obvious. What should also be obvious is that the intelligence we collect must be reliable and acquired humanely, under clear standards understood by all our fighting men and women. To do differently would not only offend our values as Americans, but undermine our war effort, because abuse of prisoners harms – not helps – us in the war on terror. First, subjecting prisoners to abuse leads to bad intelligence, because under torture a detainee will tell his interrogator anything to make the pain stop. Second, mistreatment of our prisoners endangers U.S. troops who might be captured by the enemy – if not in this war, then in the next. And third, prisoner abuses exact on us a terrible toll in the war of ideas, because inevitably these abuses become public. When they do, the cruel actions of a few darken the reputation of our country in the eyes of millions. American values should win against all others in any war of ideas, and we can’t let prisoner abuse tarnish our image.
Too late for that. It will take decades for the U.S. to undo the damage to our international reputation wrought by the Cheney-Rumsfeld "cabal".

Update: C&L has the video of the PBS Newshour interview with Col. Wilkerson. I highly recommend it.

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Friday, November 04, 2005

More Cheney de Sade

The WaPo's Dan Froomkin - Another Thunderbolt from Wilkerson:
On NPR yesterday, the former chief of staff to the secretary of state said that he had uncovered a "visible audit trail" tracing the practice of prisoner abuse by U.S. soldiers directly back to Vice President Cheney's office.
These people need to be impeached, drawn and quartered and then buried up to their necks next to a colony of fire ants.

Seriously. This administration, and the Vice Creep himself have besmirched our country, used lies and deciet to trick the nation into an unprovoked and unjust war, destroyed our military (and the sovereign nation we attacked) and our good standing among nations of the world, and what is worse, they have increased not decreased the threat of international terrorism. If that isn't treason, I don't know what is.

Impeach the whole lot of them.

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Brownout

CNN Ousts Aaron Brown and Gives Slot to Anderson Cooper:
CNN ousted its longtime prime-time anchor, Aaron Brown, today in favor of Anderson Cooper, who has received extensive media attention in the wake of his widely publicized coverage of Hurricane Katrina.
Aaron Brown is the one CNN correspondant that I looked forward to each night to catch up on the news. Anderson Cooper is fine, but he ain't no Aaron Brown.

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Thursday, November 03, 2005

Bush lied, people died

Italian lawmaker: U.S. told of WMD forgeries - International Terrorism - MSNBC.com:
ROME - Italian secret services warned the United States months before it invaded Iraq that a dossier about a purported Saddam Hussein effort to buy uranium in Africa was fake, a lawmaker said Thursday after a briefing by the nation's intelligence chief.

'At about the same time as the State of the Union address, they (Italy's SISMI secret services) said that the dossier doesn't correspond to the truth,' Sen. Massimo Brutti told journalists after the parliamentary commission was briefed.
Yet, despite the fact that the source of the Niger forgeries said that they were in fact forgeries, Darth Cheney, Rove and Scooter Libby pressed the attack on Wilson, disclosing classified information to retaliate against someone who might blow the cover off their lies.

The wheels have come off the administration. Can we possibly survive 39 more months of these war criminals?

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What were they thinking?

Think Progress documents the atrocities since King George II was re-elected. makes one wonder, what the people who voted for these war criminals, incompetents and treasonous lairs were thinking as they cast their ballot.

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Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Boo hoo!

Worst. President. Ever. now at 35% and still in free fall.

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Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Game, set, match?

ABC News: Time Reporter Says He Learned Agent's Identity From Rove (emphasis mine):
Oct. 31 2005 — - One of the reporters at the center of the investigation into the leak of the identity of an undercover CIA officer, says he first learned the agent's name from President Bush's top political advisor, Karl Rove.

Time magazine reporter Matt Cooper also said today in an interview with "Good Morning America," that the vice president's chief of staff, I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, confirmed to him that Ambassador Joseph Wilson's wife, Valerie Plame, was a covert CIA operative.

[...]

"There is no question. I first learned about Valerie Plame working at the CIA from Karl Rove," Cooper said.

Libby has since claimed that he heard the Plame rumors from other reporters. Cooper disputed that version of events. "I don't remember it happening that way," he said. "I was taking notes at the time and I feel confident."

If a trial goes ahead, Cooper said he would name Rove as his source of the information.

"Before I spoke to Karl Rove I didn't know Mr. Wilson had a wife and that she had been involved in sending him to Africa."

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