Dover Bitch

Monday, October 31, 2005

Remember the Al-Qaqaa

DB has no exclusive information at all, but does find it interesting that the investigators in New Delhi, who are trying to find the culprits in the worst terrorist attack in India's history, are looking beyond the usual suspects, and the explosives that were used, RDX, are among the tons which went missing in Iraq when the U.S. left them unguarded.

There might be no connection at all (probably isn't) but what should be obvious at this point is that those explosives are deadly and Kerry's loss in the election doesn't change the fact that we blew it big-time when we rushed past those stockpiles.

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Because without cervical cancer... could anybody possibly encourage abstinence?

Next thing you know, someone will cure AIDS and there will be nothing preventing our teens from becoming Satan worshippers.

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Dubious government super-fun quiz!

Can you guess which of these latest polls is from the United States and which is from Russia?

Country A: "In the October poll, 52 percent of respondents said they did not consider a single branch of power to be honest; 30 percent said they believed [the President] was honest."

Country B: "The poll, conducted Friday night and yesterday, found that 55 percent of the public believes [there are] wider problems 'with ethical wrongdoing' in the [President's administration]... And by a 3 to 1 ratio, 46 percent to 15 percent, [the public says] the level of honesty and ethics in the government has declined rather than risen under [the President]."

Almost as tough as "In which country can a citizen be indefinitely detained with no counsel, phone call or charges?"


Waiter, there's a Bay leaf in my Kool-Aid

Hasn't Congress banned the kind of drugs Bay Buchanan is clearly on, and if not, for the love of god, why?

WOLF BLITZER: But, should the White House only be held up to a criminal standard? Is there a moral responsibility that some people should take for outing, if you will, the wife of Ambassador Wilson?

BAY BUCHANAN: Well, there's no-- no. A wife of an ambassador, there's nothing wrong with that.

BLITZER: But, she's a CIA operative.

BUCHANAN: Yes, but they didn't know that she was covert. It comes across now. The information appears that they weren't aware. Not even Libby was aware of this.

And so there's no mean spiritedness and deliberate attempt to hurt Joe Wilson. They were trying to get information out, Wolf, and they have a right to do that when the press was looking at them, as if they somehow were involved in sending Joe Wilson over there.

Uh, you may want to rethink that talking point, Bay.

UPDATE: Removed link to apparently bogus ABC News story.

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But we only understand broad labels here!

On "Hardball" today, Chris Matthews tried repeatedly to get Howard Dean to accept to the pro-choice label. In various ways, eight times, Matthews tried to shape the debate and force the label on Dean and the Democratic Party. He simply would not allow Dean to talk about abortion in the context of a greater issue -- governmental intrusion into personal decisions.

Dean was absolutely correct to stick to his guns and force Matthews to debate on his terms. In fact, Dean appears to understand that the only way Democrats will ever regain any control of the government is by regaining control of the debate.

Matthews, on the other hand, represents the problem for intelligent discourse in America. Not only does he resist any deviation from the binary script that the media has locked itself into, but he actually cited the public's inability to understand "complicated" issues as the reason to keep the conversation at an elementary school level (emphasis mine):

DEAN: This administration continually wants to insert themselves into the family's business, the Terri Shiavio case, that's the family's business, not the government's business... all these abortion cases, that's the family's personal business. That's not the government's business and we'd like to keep the government out of the people's private and personal lives.

MATTHEWS: So the Democrats are the pro-choice party, period.

DEAN: Well, the government...

MATTHEWS: The Democrats, your party, is the pro-choice party.

DEAN: No, my party respects everybody's views, but my party firmly believes that the government should stay out of the people's personal lives.

MATTHEWS: But, you're the pro-choice party, are you not? You sound like you're against them for being pro-life. Are you pro-choice?

DEAN: I'm not against people for being pro-life. I actually was the first chairman who met for a long time with pro-life Democrats.

MATTHEWS: This is a complicated thing for people. The people believe the Republican party, because of its record, supports the pro-life position. Does your party support the pro-choice position?

DEAN: The position we support is, a woman and a family has the right to make up their own mind about their health care without government interference.

MATTHEWS: That's pro-choice.

DEAN: A woman and a family have the right to make up their own minds about their health care without government interference. That's our position.

MATTHEWS: Why do you hesitate at the phrase "pro-choice?"

DEAN: Because I think it's often misused. If you're "pro-choice" it implies that you're not also pro-life. That's not true. There are plenty of pro-life Democrats. We respect them, but we believe the government...

MATTHEWS: Do you believe in abortion rights?

DEAN: I believe the government should stay out of the personal lives of families and women. They should stay out of our lives. That's what I believe.

MATTHEWS: I find it interesting that you have hesitated to say what the party has always stood for, which is the pro-choice position.

DEAN: The party believes that government does not belong in personal decisions.

MATTHEWS: OK. I'm learning things here about the hesitancy I didn't know about before. We'll be right back with Howard Dean.

DEAN: You know what you're learning...

MATTHEWS: Now, you're getting hesitant on the war and hesitant on abortion rights. It's very hard to get clarity from your party.

The Democrats were not giving him enough "clarity?" In what way was Dean's single sentence unclear?

And finally, what happened to Matthews' memory? Perhaps Dean learned a lesson from watching "Hardball" and realized that labels aren't helpful.

Dean fully explained his position, and Matthews just tried to get him to say "I am. Yes."

Gee, that really worked well for the last guy who followed Matthews down that road:

MATTHEWS: Would you like to have your sentences cut down like to a third of their length and let people decide on the first three or four words what you meant by the 20 words? Let me repeat it again, what he said. I'm not going to argue this any further tonight. I think [the Bush campaign] should consider taking this off your loop. I think the president ought to be shown this tape so he knows what he's talking about, instead of having it fed to him by somebody who doesn't show them full sentence. Here it is. Let's take it in. Can we show the tape again of John Kerry, what his answer was?


MATTHEWS: Do you think you belong in that category of candidates who more or less are unhappy with this war? The way it's been fought? Along with General Clark, along with Howard Dean, and not necessarily in companionship politically on the issue of the war with people like Lieberman, Edwards and Gephardt? Are you one of the anti-war candidates?

KERRY: I am. Yes. In the sense that I don't believe the president took to us war as he should have, yes. Absolutely. Do I think this president violated his promises to America? Yes, I do, Chris. Was there a way to hold Saddam Hussein accountable? You bet there was and we should have done it right.



This is what the RNC-related web video used:

MATTHEWS: Are you one of the anti-war candidates?

KERRY: I am. Yes. even had a page devoted to the way his little sound-byte label of Kerry was manipulated by the Republicans... because Matthews was upset about it. Now, he doesn't even seem to remember it. DB is glad Dean seems to have learned from it.

UPDATE: This post was completely rewritten after DB got to listen to the interview again and realized just how bad the level of discourse is these days.

Also, four percent of DB's brain regrets not going for the easy post, which would be to howl about Matthews' way-out-of-line race baiting all day. But the remaining 96 percent feels good about focusing on smaller details like this, while every other blog crucifies him for the big transgression. Plus, DB couldn't have said it any better than this.

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Friday, October 28, 2005

Plamegate: First reactions

1. Russert finally talks and says... Nothing! He couldn't say that earlier?

2. Where's the outrage from the media? Russert was discussing the fact that Cheney lied to him on Meet the Press, but all he said was that interview "would be scrutinized." He can't even admit his show was used to spread misinformation.

3. Where's the outrage from the media, Part II: The media made a huge stink about protecting sources. How could a whistleblower feel free to come forward? Well, know we know for a fact, not only were no whistleblowers being protected, but Libby was telling Fitzgerald that the media was to blame. Do I need to repeat that?

Reporters were willing to go to jail to protect a guy who told the prosecutor to go after them!

4. Cheney tells us not to judge Libby until he's had his chance to face the charges. Does anybody in the universe think Libby is going to trial? He's the FALL GUY! There's no way he allows this to drag on in court, with the Vice President possibly being called in to testify. No way the administration lets the rationale for war get debated in the "trial of the century" or whatever they label it.

5. Anybody who said or says Plame wasn't undercover... Time to put that one to rest.

More to come...

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Thursday, October 27, 2005

Memo to Graham: You are a senator

Lindsay Graham repeated over and over on CNN's "Larry King Live" that if there is an indictment for a technical violation of the 1982 Intelligence Identities Protection Act, then "the culture" in Washington has changed and it would be a sad thing for reporters and politicians.

Excuse me, but was this law written in stone? Can't senators like Graham change the law and make the culture "happy" again?

Or better yet, can't politicians be trusted with sensitive intelligence during a war?

UPDATE: Here's why I didn't put Graham's quote in quotes (smile):

GRAHAM: I don't know who's involved or what they will be charged with, but if it's a technical violation of the espionage act, then the culture of this town has changed. I hope it's not that.

The only reason I feel bad about giving Graham a hard time is, every once in a while, he throws out something like this:

I would argue that our numbers are not tied to the Supreme Court choice but the nation's future is and if you want a fight we've got one in Afghanistan and Iraq. We've lost 2,000 young men and women over there.

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You're no Ronald Reagan...

DB has been greatly entertained by those who suggest the current scandals in the White House are merely "natural" rites of passage for a two-term administration. Sure their voices are cracking, but it's just puberty! Give them a break!

But the ones who really seem to be missing the mark are those who are calling for George Bush to learn from Ronald Reagan and the way he turned things around.

What they're all missing is that 2005 has even less in common with the late 1980's than Bush has to Reagan.

1. "Advisor to five, no four, is it four? OK, FOUR presidents" David Gergen suggests that Bush should clean house the way Reagan did. Might have been a good idea a while ago, but John Poindexter and Ollie North were gone well before their indictments came down in 1988. Bush might be facing indictments of people still working for him.

2. Nobody turned on their television in 1988 and saw reports that American soldiers were being killed by Contras on a daily basis. Nobody ever accused Reagan of creating more communists with his shenanigans. Americans saw reasons to believe the Berlin Wall could come down without a shot being fired. They saw signs the Soviet Union was nearly over. The USSR pulled out of Afghanistan. The Iran-Iraq war even ended that year. Bush can fire everyone he ever hired, but the war Bush started in Iraq isn't ending any time soon. Neither is his war against fiscal sanity.

3. The Iran-Contra indictments also came down after Congress had issued its final report on the affair. We still have no idea what really happened in this CIA leak case. As the facts come out, the rationale for war will be rehashed endlessly. It does not look likely that many, if any, of the revelations we can expect will bolster the case for invading Iraq.

4. People in the Reagan administration were accused of subverting (a Democrat-controlled) Congress. There's no separation-of-powers/Commander in Chief philosophical argument to hash out here. Congress went along with this president on what is increasingly looking like a manipulation of intelligence. American citizens put their faith in George Bush.

5. Tom Delay, Bill Frist, Tom Noe, Jack Abramoff, Ralph Reed... Bush can't fire any of those guys.

6. Reagan beat his Democratic opponents by an absurd electoral margin of 1,014-62 (489-49 over Carter, 525-13 over Mondale). Bush wouldn't be president today if not for a 5-4 party-line Supreme Court decision in 2000 and a narrow victory in Ohio in 2004. This president just does not have the broad support Reagan had.

7. Reagan nominated Sandra Day O'Connor to the Supreme Court. Bush nominated Harriet Miers. Whether he rallies his base with his next choice or looks for consensus, the charges of cronyism that have been resounding since Katrina, will not be quickly forgotten.

8. DB also deeply believes that the American people don't like seeing people destroyed for trying to engage in our important national debates. Freedom of speech and an honest discussion about the direction of the country are the foundations of a democracy. When people are smeared for speaking out on questions of life and death, it undermines the fabric of who we are. Reagan didn't win by silencing critics, he won by getting more people to buy what he was selling.

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Where's Snuffolupogus?

Democrats in Ca-lee-fornia seem to be fully embracing the idea that Ahnold should be packaged with the president he campaigned for.

UPDATE: Current polls make DB optimistic.


Harriet, we hardly knew ye...

Why should Bush even bother nominating someone else? Why not ask Sandra Day O'Connor to stick around for another year? The term's already underway.

It might even be in the GOP's best interests to wait it out. They can have their big culture war they completely ducked with swift boats at the election last year. And Bush can ride out the storm brewing in Washington. After all, didn't he rush the nomination of Miers to beat the latest round of bad news? That didn't work out so well.

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Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Being There, with Ed Rogers

What happened to the Ed Rogers we all know and love?

You know, this guy:

ED ROGERS, REPUBLICAN CONSULTANT: The clumsy politics that the Kerry campaign is playing on terrorism should be offensive to all Americans. And the media should blow the whistle on them. I think -- in my heart of hearts, I think that they're hoping for an attack, so that they can say, I told you so.

Deep breath... Count to 10...

Well, somehow he's been replaced with soft-spoken zen master Chance the Gardener:

In a garden, growth has its season. First comes spring and summer, then we have fall and winter, and then we get spring and summer again. There will be growth in the spring.

Here's how Rogers quietly enlightened "Hardball" viewers today:

Every White House has their time in the dunking booth. This is clearly the Bush White House's time in the political dunking booth.

Paging Peter Sellers! "This is just like television, only you can see much further."

Forget about everything bad this administration has done. It's just the natural cycle. Soon they'll be back in full bloom and we'll all be right as rain!

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"We'll get back in what you take out"

Everybody remembers the infamous "16 Words" in the State of the Union which triggered the entire Plamegate investigation. Many also remember that former CIA director George Tenet pulled that reference from a speech delivered by President Bush a few months before the SOTU.

Who took the blame for the words creeping back into Bush's speech? That would be former Deputy National Security Advisor (and current NSA) Stephen Hadley.

Hadley, in a rare hour-long, on-the-record session with reporters, said he had received two memos from the CIA and a phone call from Tenet raising objections to a section in a speech Bush was to give in Cincinnati on Oct. 7.

But he suggested the entire episode slipped his mind when Mr. Bush's State of the Union speech was being vetted.

So the dubious "intelligence" claims suggesting Saddam Hussein had nukes were pulled out, but somehow made it back in later. An innocent mistake? Hard to believe that a claim that sensational would accidentally slip back in to the president's biggest speech of the year... a rehearsed speech delivered directly to Congress and televised in prime time to the entire nation.

Well, as Newsweek reports, rejected intel supporting the call to war in Iraq had some big allies in the White House.

Behind the scenes, no one pushed the terror link harder than Libby. He urged Colin Powell's staff to include the Prague meeting in the secretary of State's speech to the United Nations. But Powell wanted no part of it. After one long session debating the evidence before the speech, Libby turned to a Powell aide. "Don't worry about any of this," he said, according to someone who was in the room. "We'll get back in what you take out." They didn't. Powell refused to use the line, but Libby's audacity stunned everyone at the table. "The notion that they've become a gang has some merit," says a longtime colleague of Libby's who requested anonymity to preserve the friendship. "A small group who only talk to each other ... You pay a price for that."

Still think it was an accident?

UPDATE: According to the American Prospect, it is being reported by Italian newspaper La Repubblica that Hadley met with the Italian officials linked to the forged Niger documents on Sept. 9, 2002.

Still think it was an accident?

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What did Condi know and when?

If Monday's news on Raw Story and this Oct. 18 story by the Washington Post are correct, then Condoleezza Rice may be knee deep in Plamegate.

First off, let's look at the timeline and what Rice said about her knowledge of Joe Wilson's trip to Niger.

Rice told a "press gaggle" on July 11, 2003 that she learned about Wilson's trip on a TV show "about a month ago," a claim she repeated two days later while talking to CNN anchor Wolf Blitzer on "Late Edition."

Presumably, she was referring to her appearance on ABC's "This Week with George Stephanopoulos" on June 8. She also appeared that day on NBC's "Meet The Press" and CBS' "Face The Nation," but on neither of those programs was any reference made to Wilson's trip (although Rice was grilled on the removal of the "16 Words" from the State of the Union). Stephanopoulos asked her for her reaction to Nicholas Kristof's May 6 column in the New York Times, which mentioned Wilson's trip, though not his name.

But the Washington Post reported the following on Oct. 18, 2005 (emphasis mine):

One former CIA official told prosecutors early in the probe about efforts by Cheney's office and his allies at the National Security Council to obtain information about Wilson's trip as long as two months before Plame was unmasked in July 2003, according to a person familiar with the account.

If this report is correct, not only is it clear that there were people in the White House in May 2003 who were aware of Joe Wilson and the problem he represented for the administration, but some of them were in the NSC.

Now, it's possible that Rice was not one of the NSC members who was digging up dirt on Wilson. But how likely is it that the National Security Advisor, one of 11 principle members of the NSC, not to mention one of nine members of the White House Iraq Group, would have no idea what NSC members were doing in concert with the Vice President?

As Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs, Rice was tasked with "determining the agenda, ensuring that necessary papers are prepared, and recording NSC actions," as well as calling meetings of the NSC Principals Committee and steering its agenda. Are we really to believe she learned about Wilson's trip weeks later than other NSC members, a month after Kristof's column and, even then, only from Stephanopoulos? And if so, should a National Security Advisor be that unaware of the actions of the other NSC members?

In any event, Raw Story reported Monday that Rice was told about Valerie Plame in June:

Those close to the investigation say that Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald has been told that David Wurmser, then a Middle East adviser to Vice President Dick Cheney on loan from the office of then-Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security Affairs John Bolton, met with Cheney and his chief of staff I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby in June 2003 and told Libby that Plame set up the Wilson trip. He asserted that it was a boondoggle, the sources said.

Libby then shared the information with Karl Rove, President Bush's deputy chief of staff, the sources said. Wurmser also passed on the same information about Wilson to then-Deputy National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley and then-National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice, they added.

While it remains unclear if this information reached Rice before her June 8 appearance on "This Week," if she did discuss Plame with Wurmser that month, then what message was she trying to deliver to the press on July 11? (emphasis mine)

DR. RICE: The IAEA reported it I believe in March. But I will tell you that, for instance, on Ambassador Wilson's going out to Niger, I learned of that when I was sitting on whatever TV show it was, because that mission was not known to anybody in the White House. And you should ask the Agency at what level it was known in the Agency.

Q When was that TV show, when you learned about it?

DR. RICE: A month ago, about a month ago.

Q Can I ask you about something else?

DR. RICE: Yes. Are you sure you're through with this?

Did the press do Rice a huge favor by changing the subject?

If there was no concerted effort to smear Wilson, why did Rice bring his name into the discussion? They were talking about the IAEA. Why did she suggest that reporters dig around to find out what the Agency knew about Wilson's trip? Remember, she had already discussed the "boondoggle set up by his wife." Also remember, this was just three days before Robert Novak published his column outing Plame.

Rice may be pleading ignorance throughout this entire investigation -- and it might work -- but it sure looks like it's getting harder to prove.

UPDATE: The New York Times is reporting that Cheney learned about Plame and then told Libby, which seems to conflict with Raw Story's report that Wurmser told Cheney and Libby simultaneously. It could just be that Wurmser told Cheney first. It does not contradict Raw Story's report that Wurmser told Rice. Hopefully the facts will all come out soon. It certainly doesn't look like a good development for either Cheney or Libby.

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Sunday, October 23, 2005

The vote that never happened

Another Sunday, another hopeless response to a false premise. Is this really that hard?

TIM RUSSERT: Based on what you now know today, do you regret having voted for the war?

SEN. SCHUMER: Well, no Tim, because my vote was seen, and I still see it as a need to say we need to fight a strong and active war on terror...

And then he changed the subject. Absolutely incredible.

Let's replay this interview, but in the universe where DB lives. The part of Tim Russert will be played by Mit Tressur, and Senator Schumer will be replaced with Senator Remuhcs.

MIT TRESSUR: Senator Remuchs, it would appear that "liberal hawks" such as yourself are in a bit of a spot. You are critical of the war, but Republicans point out that you voted for it. Do you regret your vote?

SEN. REMUHCS: Well, Mit, before I can answer that, we need to be clear about something. I did not vote for a war. There was no declaration of war and subsequently, there was never an opportunity to vote for war. Even if a senator was desperate for a war, all he could do was vote for the authorization to use force and then hope that the conditions eventually warranted military action.

TRESSUR: But wasn't it really the same thing? Wasn't it clear that this was a vote for war?

SEN. REMUHCS: Absolutely not, Mit. Here's why... First, look at what the president said about the bill I voted for. He said, and I quote, 'I have asked Congress to authorize the use of America's military, if it proves necessary, to enforce U.N. Security Council demands. Approving this resolution does not mean that military action is imminent or unavoidable.'


SEN. REMUHCS: And that was referring to the bill we voted on. It wasn't the only draft that the White House sent us. They sent us a bill on Sept. 19, exactly a week before this one, and we never even voted on it. It didn't have a chance because that bill was as close to a declaration of war as you could get. It didn't say anything about the United Nations. It said nothing about weapons inspections and disarmament. It didn't even limit the president to Iraq. It would have let him immediately begin fighting all over the Middle East. Now, they basically ignored the wishes of the U.N. and didn't let the inspectors do their jobs... and this week they started talking about Syria... I'll tell you, Mit, you and the republicans might think we voted for that first bill, but I never did.

TRESSUR: Well, I wasn't suggesting that you...

SEN. REMUHCS: You know, Mit, it's also funny... they accused us, myself and John Kerry and others, of wanting to give France a veto, even though we voted no on the Levin Amendment, which would have required the president to go back to the U.N. for permission to invade. Now, they're trying to make it seem like we were gung-ho for war from the beginning. You just cannot have it both ways. We were in favor of getting weapons inspectors back into Iraq. We wanted them back there because it was in our nation's best interests to get have them in there. And that's what that vote was all about.

TRESSUR: So you don't regret the vote?

SEN. REMUHCS: OK. That's a good question and the answer is no. I am extremely disappointed with the way the president kicked out the inspectors and took us to war with absolutely no plan for the future. But why would I regret my vote? Like I said, it was not a vote for war.

TRESSUR: Do you...

SEN. REMUHCS: Mit, do you remember when John Kerry was asked if he would still vote yes, knowing what he later knew... that there were no WMD in Iraq?

TRESSUR: I remember it well. In front of the Grand Canyon.

SEN. REMUHCS: Well, you may also remember the collective groan from Democrats. You may remember Helen Thomas' op-ed about what a mistake that answer was.


SEN. REMUHCS: Well, Mit, the truth is, Kerry was correct. Let's look at the whole picture. Why would we go to war with Iraq? I can think of three reasons: One, if Saddam had something to do with 9/11. Two, if Saddam did not let the inspectors into Iraq. Three, if we found definitive proof that he had WMD... Well, we know he had nothing to do with 9/11, even though the administration was implying that there was a link. So that leaves two reasons, OK?

TRESSUR: And we now know Saddam had no WMD...

SEN. REMUHCS: Right, so that leaves just one reason...

TRESSUR: If Saddam didn't allow the inspectors in.

SEN. REMUHCS: Exactly. Which is why we voted for authorization in the first place. And the president was the one who kicked them out, not Saddam. Look, it was important to have inspectors in Iraq. Just because he didn't have WMD now, doesn't mean he wouldn't try to get them in the future. That's why I had to take the threat of Saddam Hussein seriously. But I felt inspectors in Iraq and remaining in Iraq were the way to go. So did the rest of the world. And the only way to get them back in there was to give the president the authority we gave him. What he did with that authority is a whole different story entirely. And I won't accept the blame for that. This is George Bush's war. It's Dick Cheney's war and it's Donald Rumsfeld's war.

Don't you wish we all lived in DB's universe. Where facts are important, the press asks unloaded questions and the Democrats were capable of putting together good, truthful defenses against this administration's nonsensical accusations?

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"Like the witch hunters of the 17th Century..."

Former Chief U.N. inspector Hans Blix, who was kicked out of Iraq when Bush decided to give up on diplomacy and launch the war, unloaded on the administration Friday, comparing them to "witch hunters" and, according to the Boston Globe, "like an impatient Mars quick to use its strong military force to solve problems, while Europe [was] like a patient Venus."

You see, I have never maintained that the administration deliberately misled. I think they misled themselves, that we can see, and then they misled the world.

They looked, as Mr. Bush did, at an extension on the roof or something that had been connected to the nuclear activities of the past... and said 'What more evidence do you need?' Well, this was a satellite picture and the Iraqis quickly invited journalists and there was nothing under the roof. So, he misled himself, clearly.

This was it. They took things they saw as conclusive. Satellite images are not so easy to judge. What defectors tell you may also not be so easy to tell. So, I think they misled themselves. They were not critically thinking. They wanted to come to these conclusions. They are like the witch hunters of the 17th Century.


David Kay said 'We were all wrong.' That was also wrong because we were not wrong. We did not say there aren't any weapons of mass destruction, partly because of being cautious, as I said a little while ago; you can never prove a negative -- that nothing exists. You cannot do it intellectually.

But you can say you've been all over. As I often say, we've been to over 700 sites in over 500 places. And we've been to several dozen sites given to us by intelligence... claimed by intelligence to be the best and we didn't find anything. We asked ourselves, 'If we that was the best, what was the rest?'

The Globe also has an mp3 of Blix's comments.

Update: Also on Friday, Scott Ritter and Seymour Hersh discussed Iraq on Amy Goodman's Democracy Now.

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Saturday, October 22, 2005

Baghdad, Alabama

But when impatient patriots in this country finally demanded their freedom and their rights, what once seemed impossible suddenly became inevitable. So it was in America. So it was in much of the world. And so it will be in the Middle East. -- Condolezza Rice, Oct. 22, 2005

Yes, Condi, Iraq today is just like Alabama back when you were a kid. Saddam Hussein was just like George Wallace... except for the born-again Christian part.

Who could forget when Martin Luther King Jr. used "shock and awe" to pound the South into submission?

Remember when the NAACP made all those klan members form a naked pyramid?

How about when the U.S. dropped JDAM bombs on a Birmingham restaurant and scraped flesh off the walls to see if any of the diners happened to be Wallace? (Oops, not him!)

Is there any tragedy this administration won't use to sell their horrible foreign policy?

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Bush in California: It's a gas!

While the Ohio-campaign tool Governator continued to avoid the president like the plague, Bush continued to screw people in the Golden State.

Hoping to save his abysmal public image, Bush made the trip to the West Coast to be close to anything "Ronald Reagan." But the heavy fog (in California, where we are desperate for interesting weather reports, we call it a "marine layer") grounded Bush's gas-guzzling helicopter. Ah, the fog-of-war-time-president!

No problem, just fire up the SUV's, right?

Except that Bush was staying in a mansion in Brentwood and his motorcade therefore would cruise along Sunset Blvd., and through the Sepulveda Pass, not far from what has been ranked "America's No. 1 Worst Highway Bottleneck" by the American Highway Users Alliance (PDF). They estimate that 8.7 million tons of carbon dioxide are emitted there yearly and Southern California drivers are stuck in traffic there "for nearly five hours every weekday."

Great place to completely shut down traffic for another photo op!

It's been well noted that the president's call for citizens and federal employees "to curtail nonessential travel" is a complete distraction from his lousy response to Katrina.

It's also been pointed out clearly that Bush's motorcade itself is a gas-guzzling monster and that the taxpayers are footing the bill for it.

But what about all the people stuck for three hours "with engines idling" because of Bush's trip? The gas at a nearby Chevron station ranges from $2.85 to $3.15.

Check out what the U.S. Department of Labor (PDF) has to say about gas in Los Angeles (emphasis mine):

The Bureau of Labor Statistics of the U.S. Department of Labor reported today that September consumer prices in the greater Los Angeles area increased 1.3 percent, matching the largest one-month increase since January 1982. Increasing prices in transportation and housing were primary factors. Los Angeles prices were up 5.8 percent from the same period last year. Comparatively, August to August price increases registered 5.2 percent.


Gasoline prices increased 8.1 percent in September. Over two months, the price paid is up 15.5 percent. For the year ending September 2005, gasoline prices were 40.6 percent higher. The overall transportation index advanced 3.4 percent for the month and 10.3 percent for the past twelve months.

I guess the reason Cheney's energy meetings were kept secret was to help the participants avoid embarrassment.

The fact that Bush's self-serving photo opportunity also caused little kids dressed up for the "Wizard of Oz" to have their day ruined just adds salt on the wound.

MEANWHILE: The Governator has asked the TV networks to "stop airing commercials featuring him personally backing initiatives in the Nov. 8 special election". Ahnold's spokesman denied that the request has anything to do with the Governator's 31% approval rating.

Friday, October 21, 2005

Channeling Colt Seavers

Today's LA Times story about Scooter Libby's "obsession" with Joe Wilson sure is fun to believe.

But before we use our clearly inferior photoshop skills to land Libby the lead role in "Monk," the cynic in DB tries desperately not to imagine Lyndie England taking over for Heather Thomas and gives Libby the starring role he will likely own -- The Fall Guy.

It's probably completely true that the Scoot spent his weekends creating his own Dewey Decimal system for tracking his perceived foes.

But isn't it a little too convenient that as possible indictments are coming down, a single administration official (and not named Rove) is being characterized as the kind of guy who would go too far when it came to Joe Wilson?

Is it a coincidence that "I. Scooter Libby" and "G. Gordon Liddy" sound so similar? ("If somebody wants to shoot me, I'm prepared to have that done. You just let me know when and where, and I'll be there.")

The bar's set pretty high, Scoot!

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Et tu, Nancy?

Was DB the only one who saw George and Laura Bush tense up as Nancy Reagan repeated the words "Mission Accomplished" as she recounted a tale of President Reagan's final voyage on Air Force One?

Nice to know Former Governor Pete Wilson was at the ceremony. No reports on whether he cried like a baby as he did at Dick Nixon's funeral.

Notably absent, of course is the Governator himself. Are Democrats finally smelling the blood in the water?

Pictures like this should be in every Democrat's outbox in California before the special election.

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If at first you don't succeed, just say you did

Most Americans probably don't remember that the Bush administration actually sent two bills to Congress to get authorization to use force in Iraq. The second bill passed, but the first bill, sent to the Hill on Sept. 19, 2002, never even made it to the floor for a vote.

Why? Well, for starters, it had no mention of any cooperation with the United Nations and it was basically a permission slip to take Saddam Hussein out of power without concentrating first on proving he had any weapons.

As we all know, the president went to war despite the clear objection of the United Nations and all they proved was that Saddam didn't have any WMD.

But there was a third reason the bill failed to even merit a vote:

Even U.S. lawmakers who support authorization of use of force said they do not like the last line of the draft resolution, which says that "force" should be used against "the threat posed by Iraq, and restore international peace and security in the region."

That line, say some members of Congress, is too vague and could allow the president to use force in other Mideast nations beyond Iraq.

"That is probably a bit ambitious," said Sen. Evan Bayh, D-Indiana. "Would this authorize an invasion of Iran? Or how about Syria? They're in the region. I think we ought to stay focused here, and that is staying focused on Iraq."

On Wednesday, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice basically told Congress that the president had the authority to attack other countries in the region.

In other words, the bill they wanted failed and they're just pretending that it passed. Does anybody in Congress have the stones to do anything?

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Thursday, October 20, 2005

Absolutely Unforgivable

Another thing that was so poignant in Lawrence Wilkerson's speech was his admonition for the Bush administration regarding the inhumane treatment of prisoners by some of our soldiers.

And I’ll finish just by bringing it down screechingly to the ground and tell you that the detainee abuse issue is just such a concrete example of what I’ve just described to you, that 10 years from now or so when it’s really, really put to the acid test, ironed out and people have looked at it from every angle, we are going to be ashamed of what we allowed to happen.


And we knew that things weren’t the way they should be, and as former soldiers, we knew that you don’t have this kind of pervasive attitude out there unless you’ve condoned it – unless you’ve condoned it. And whether you did it explicitly or not is irrelevant. If you did it at all, indirectly, implicitly, tacitly – you pick the word – you’re in trouble because that slippery slope is truly slippery, and it will take years to reverse the situation, and we’ll probably have to grow a new military.

It really is unforgivable. Not only should all of our leaders be aware that it is human nature to follow orders even when they may be immoral (see Stanley Milgram's "The Perils of Obedience" and also here), but it was demonstrated quite clearly in the Stanford Prison Experiment that abuse would almost automatically take place if there were no constraints against it. In other words, it was our leadership's responsibility not to let this happen and, to the contrary, we hear now, from an insider, that they actually condoned it.

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George and Arnold, Best Friends Forever

Since California Democrat leaders don't seem to understand how to campaign for their own interests, let's do it for them.

With the special election coming up, Arnold is avoiding Bush like the plague. Bush is already completely hosing traffic in Southern California, but the Governator is too "busy" to be seen anywhere near him. Not a bad decision considering Bush's popularity in the Golden State.

But why aren't the Democrats reminding everyone in California that the governor went to Ohio to help Bush get elected? If it's so obvious Arnold is avoiding Bush, why aren't Democrats making sure they are side-by-side in the voters' minds? I'm told Corzine is reaping the benefits from such a strategy in New Jersey.

Please help get images like this out in plain view before the election!

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It's news, but no big secret

What is really so amazing about former State Department Chief of Staff Lawrence Wilkerson's speech yesterday is how obviously true the parts about the administration's secrecy were. The fact that the words are coming from a member of the Bush administration makes it big news. But beginning with Dick Cheney's secret energy meetings during their first year in office, it should be clear to everybody that these guys don't like to share. Wilkerson's point that the secrecy itself is an obstacle to success by its very nature of exclusion is a lesson for future administrations.

As Lawrence O'Donnell said in his interview with John Amato at Crooks and Liars, Colin Powell would probably run away with the 2008 election if he were Dick Cheney's replacement as VP. But Wilkerson also confirmed and reinforced, despite his respect for his former boss, that Powell's loyalty to this administration trumped any feelings of loyalty to either the truth or the public.

Chris Matthews is correct when he says that the nukes were the "deal maker" for many Americans when it came to Iraq in 2002. But the fact that Powell was even in this administration, let alone the fact that he was the one trying to persuade the U.N., is what convinced many of us to give Bush the benefit of the doubt.

That is, until Bush kicked out the inspectors and rushed into war.

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Not worth the bullets

The Washington Post writes about Plan B for the White House without Karl Rove. Sounds like freedom of expression is as alive as ever in the Bush bubble:

At the White House and among its close allies, discussion about Rove's fate is verboten -- in part of out of fear and in part out of ignorance about what his legal vulnerability actually is. "No one in the White House wants to talk about an indictment," another former official said. "No one wants to believe anything's going to happen." Nor do people easily discuss other staff changes. "Anyone who talks about that kind of stuff should be shot," said a third Republican with close ties to the White House.

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The Bitch is Back

Dover Bitch was down for almost a year a while. Athenaeum gone, too. But the Bitch is Back. No guarantees that this will be updated daily. No promises that we'll be unraveling any conspiracies or breaking any news. But maybe we'll contribute something.

And that's good enough for the Bitch.

UPDATE: This happens to be the first anniversary of the death of Anthony Hecht, from whose poem this blog takes its name.

2007 UPDATE: When this blog went online in 2004, it went up with a post about Anthony Hecht's poem, Dover Bitch: A Criticism of Life, which is a parody of (I prefer "companion" to) Matthew Arnold's Dover Beach, and why I started blogging. But the old blog is gone and when I started this newer incarnation, I neglected to rewrite that post.

And I haven't had much interest in doing so. This blog isn't supposed to be about me. I can't really imagine why anybody would want to read a blog about me, quite frankly, nor can I fathom a reason that I would want to author such a blog. I don't even care to get involved in the blog-o-sphere-wide discussions about blogging and pseudonymity that occur from time to time.

But to satisfy any curiosity about the name Dover Bitch, I'll simply implore you to read both poems and think about what Hecht was trying to say.

Hecht was no stranger to horror:

He saw a great deal of combat in Germany, France, and Czechoslovakia. However, his most significant experience occurred on April 23, 1945. On this day Hecht's division helped liberate Flossenbürg concentration camp, Hecht was ordered to interview French prisoners in the hope of gathering evidence on the camp's commanders. Years later, Hecht said of this experience, "The place, the suffering, the prisoners' accounts were beyond comprehension. For years after I would wake shrieking."

And yet he chose to mock Matthew Arnold for writing this:

Ah, love, let us be true
To one another! for the world, which seems
To lie before us like a land of dreams,
So various, so beautiful, so new,
Hath really neither joy, nor love, nor light,
Nor certitude, nor peace, nor help for pain;
And we are here as on a darkling plain
Swept with confused alarms of struggle and flight,
Where ignorant armies clash by night.

On a day like April 23, 1945 -- or Sept. 11, 2001 -- it would be perfectly reasonable to accept that Arnold's "eternal note of sadness" truly rings.

But Hecht provides us with an alternative and the brilliance of his poem lies in the choice he offers us: Do we decide the world is bleak and the woman is simply vapid and materialistic? Or is Arnold (Hecht makes it personal by claiming the speaker in Beach is Arnold, himself) a misanthrope who can't even figure out what to do on a date?

Hecht forces us to ask a simple question: Who is the Dover Bitch?

The answer depends on us, how we view the world, how we feel about life on a particular day, how easily seduced we are by Hecht's humor and style, how moved we are by Arnold's command of language.

I must admit I vacillate between choosing the man or the woman. But what I really find compelling is the window through which Arnold views his sad world and the woman eyes the luxuries of France.

Arnold thinks the window separates him from the world. But it is a false barrier. The window itself is a part of the world, and more important, so is he. So is the woman.

So are we and every window we look through. I chose the name Dover Bitch to remind myself of that. Arnold has apparently given up on trying to have a positive impact on the world. I refuse to join him.

2007 UPDATE II: One of the many reasons I didn't want to rewrite this post is that there is so much to write about these two poems. In case it doesn't go without saying, I have deliberately limited my writing to this single facet of the comparison and I've ignored the interesting discussions one could have about language, sexism, love, power, etc...