Monday, October 31, 2005

Will He or Won’t He?

Talk about the horns of a dilemma. All the talking heads on Sunday morning said President Bush has only one chance of repairing the damage the Bush administration has done to itself. A two-pronged chance, actually: 1) Bush and Cheney should apologize to the American people for the actions of their aides. 2) Bush should widen his circle of trusted friends/advisers. Better yet, he should shitcan the old crowd and get a new crowd. What a challenge. Even to say he had been misled would show a flaw in judgment and George W. Bush has no flaws in the eyes of George W. Bush. The only way the Prez can maintain his self-image of God-like rectitude is to talk to only a very tiny group of people…five at most. He’s never wrong, makes no mistakes and never hears a discouraging word. Will he apologize? Will he fire his enablers? Not likely. What the Bush administration will do now though is become even more hardline, even more intransigent about its policies. All through history any group that feels threatened shows a marked tendency to circle the wagons and to intensify the attitudes and actions that got the group in trouble in the first place. Look for the BushMen to appoint more unqualified cronies to important positions, to kiss up even more embarrassingly to the far-right religious faction, to try to cut all services to the elderly and poor, to not only defend the war in Iraq but to bomb more cities and kill more American soldiers, and to threaten to attack more countries in the Middle East, even though the US has no means to implement another war. To retrench would show weakness. The Bush administration is now the weakest of any administration in the last fifty years and it would rather destroy itself than show weakness. Which, of course, is the worst show of weakness. Do last-ditch frenzied attempts to regain lost power ever work? No. They inevitably lead to implosion and total collapse.

Sunday, October 30, 2005

Official A

We know that Patrick Fitzgerald’s “Official A” is Karl Rove. But Joe Cannon over at Cannonfire says it stands for Official Asshole. Thanks, Joe. May it stick like superglue: Karl Rove, Official Asshole. Next week marks the anniversary of a date that surely will live in disgrace, if not infamy--November 2nd, 2004. Was there ever a bunch of criminals as high on themselves as the Bush administration when they bragged of having a mandate one year ago? And since the Official Asshole is the location of Bush’s brain, we can only conclude that it was OA who put these now-notorious words in GWB’s mouth: “Let me put it to you this way: I earned capital in the campaign, political capital, and now I intend to spend it. It is my style.” Twelve months later and the mandate that never was has slipped from the collective GOP memory. And not only has the President spent his political capital, the account is in the red. One year later. Vice President Cheney’s chief of staff Scooter Libby has been charged with committing five crimes and has resigned. The OA may be indicted in a future investigation. The illegal acts pf the President and Vice President may also be under Fitzgerald’s microscope. Chaos reigns in the White House. And the only thing reminiscent of the fascist takeover last November is Bush’s style, which hangs in the air like sewer gas. Go for a ride on your mountain bike, George. Better yet, have a drink. It’s only going to get worse.

Saturday, October 29, 2005

2011 Dead; White House Dead Wrong

Last night I watched a rerun of “CNN Presents: Dead Wrong”, which originally aired on August 21, 2005. And there they all were, the a priori White House cast of characters lying their heads off to justify a preemptive strike in Iraq: Colin Powell, Condoleezza Rice, Dick Cheney. As of October 27th 2,011 American soldiers have been killed in Iraq because Powell, Rice and Cheney lied. And their lies worked. Questions were not asked, investigations were not mounted, and demands for corroboration were not made. To our eternal discredit, Congress blindly voted in favor of authorizing President Bush to attack Iraq if Saddam Hussein refused to give up his WMD’s. Even though Congress never passed a formal declaration of war, the US attacked Iraq on March 19, 2003 because a group of insane warmongering neocons decided in 1997 to institute a plan of US global aggression. It was a perfect program to watch on the night Scooter Libby had been indicted. Dick Cheney’s chief of staff Scooter Libby, Project for the New American Century signer Scooter Libby, White House Iraq Group member Scooter Libby. This promoter of the US as a global aggressor, Scooter Libby, was charged with five crimes by Patrick Fitzgerald’s grand jury. Eventually, we will find out if Fitzgerald will indict Karl Rove and whether a broadened investigation into malfeasance in the White House will lead to Vice President Richard Cheney’s downfall and the total destruction of the Bush administration. But until that day, the tag line on the New York Times editorial this morning (The Case Against Scooter Libby) is the point we must never forget: “,,,as absorbing as this criminal investigation has been, the big point Americans need to keep in mind is this: There were no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.”

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Oh No! Do Not Compare Iraq to Okinawa!

They keep doing it. And it won’t fly. As the number of American soldier deaths in Iraq crept closer and closer to 2000, the neocons and Iraq war apologists’ cant became more shrill and more illogical. Now this morning, an NYT Op/Ed column by Victor Davis Hanson (“2,000 Dead, in Context”) once again raises the argument that all wars cause deaths and the deaths during World War II were much higher than the deaths in Iraq. Hanson says, “The battle for Okinawa was an abject bloodbath that took more than 50,000 American casualties”. While it’s true that 405,399 Americans lost their lives in WWII, let’s make one important distinction. World War II was not an unnecessary, needless war started by the US to further its plans for global supremacy. That’s the difference, you idiotic, witless, irrational morons, with your specious arguments. If there is a comparable to Iraq in American history, then it’s William Randolph Hearst’s promotion of the Spanish-American war in 1898 in order to sell newspapers. That war, which lasted four months and was characterized by Teddy Roosevelt as “a splendid little war” killed 460 American soldiers. So if you want to play the comparable deaths game in unnecessary wars, there were “only” 196 deaths of American soldiers in the first four months of George Bush’s splendid little war in Iraq. Which would make it a better unnecessary war than the Spanish American war, if the war in Iraq had lasted only four months. But the unnecessary war in Iraq has lasted two years and seven months. And as of yesterday 2006 American soldiers have died in Iraq. Ergo, the war in Iraq is the most egregiously unnecessary, stupid, needless war in American history and it can be compared with absolutely nothing whatsoever.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

2001 American Soldiers Have Died in Iraq

The Iraq Coalition Casualty Count ( reports that as of yesterday 2001 American soldiers have been killed in Iraq. The site ( gives the following additional statistics: “As many as 1 of every 10 soldiers from the war on terror evacuated to the Army's biggest hospital in Europe was sent there for mental problems. Between 8 and 10 percent of nearly 12,000 soldiers from the war on terror, mostly from Iraq, treated at the Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany had 'psychiatric or behavioral health issues,' according to the commander of the hospital, Col. Rhonda Cornum. That means about 1,000 soldiers were evacuated for mental problems. The hospital has treated 11,754 soldiers from the war on terror, with 9,651 from Iraq and the rest from Afghanistan, according to data released by the hospital.” The neocons are saying that the people who are against the war planned “parties” to celebrate the 2000th American soldier death. Have they no shame? As far as I can tell, it’s the people who are trying to stop the slaughter and get our soldiers home who are supporting and honoring our troops, not the neocon liars who started this unnecessary war and want to prolong it until the year 2015. This morning’s NYT repeats that the Iraq Body Count group ( estimates between 26,000 to 30,000 Iraq civilians have been killed in this war. But I’ll put my faith in a Washington Post independent survey that reported at least 100,000 Iraqi civilians have needlessly died in the Bush administration’s needless war. It was mever a war to liberate the Middle East from despotic dictators. From the beginning, the war in Iraq was promoted by the White House Iraq Group to show that the US is so powerful it can aggress on any nation anywhere and blow it to smithereens. Well, we surely showed the world, didn’t we? Right now, today, if a tiny rogue nation detonated a homemade nuclear bomb or a germ warfare device in the US, we could not defend ourselves. We have no military. And worse yet, we have no plan for how the US would defend itself. Oh yes, we have a virtual military conjured up in the fantasy world of insane men like George W. Bush, Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld. And in this fantasy world the US would deploy phantom troops who would miraculously counterattack the chemicals or render a nuclear device inoperative ala Superman or Batman. But we have no actual well-equipped, well-trained fighting force or an actual workable plan for defending ourselves either here or in any part of the world. Indictments may or may not be handed down today by the Fitzgerald grand jury. But in any case the Bush administration has effectively finished itself off by malfeasance and misconduct. We can only hope the United States hasn’t also been rendered useless and impotent by these Republican mad hatters. They hijacked our legislative, judicial and executive branches of government and now they have pissed on themselves, our Constitution and 229 years of democracy.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Juggling Toxic Potatoes

Bush says he’s going to invoke executive privilege to avoid turning over documents about Harriet Miers’ work in the White House. "It's a red line I'm not willing to cross," Bush claimed. “We are not going to destroy this business about people being able to walk into the Oval Office” and give advice to the President, he said. Okay. That’s what he said. But what does it mean? It means the White House has found a way to deep six the Miers albatross. made the argument that this is simply the out that Charles Krauthammer suggested last week: The WH stands firm that they won’t release the documents. The Senators say that without the documents they can’t consider the Miers nomination. And Miers, for the good of the country, withdraws her name as a Supreme Court nominee. It’s a fairly neat way for the WH to get rid of the Harriet Miers curse without having to admit it was wrong. But all of the recent WH fast shuffles won’t get rid of the main problem: The White House is wrong on every major issue facing the nation and the voters know it. It’s the same thing with the Cheney problem re Valerie Plame. Scooter Libby’s notes say Cheney got info about Valerie Plame from CIA head, George Tenet. But the crux of this stinkhole is that disclosing the identity of an undercover agent is only a crime if the person discloses an agent’s identity knows that the person had undercover status. It is impossible to prove what Cheney knew and what he didn’t know. Unless someone comes forward who will swear under oath that he told Cheney that Valerie Plame was an undercover agent, Cheney can swear he only knew she worked in the CIA. The White House crew is scrambling around like high-profile johns looking for the backstairs out of a whorehouse. And yet, the American public knows the truth. The entire Bush administration, the White House Iraq Group and everyone associated with them are beginning to glow in the dark. The spin cannot hide the telltale radioactive decay. But the juggling act this week sure is going to be worth watching.

Monday, October 24, 2005

How Mush-Brained Can Pols and The NYT Be?

An article in the New York Times this morning (“Bush Choice Gets Criticisms Rare for Nominees to Court” by David D. Krikpatrick) shows that dimwitted pols and the NYT are examining the Miers nomination and saying that, for one thing, we the people are to blame for the unprecedented negativity over the Bush Supreme Court choice. Public expectations are higher now, the article says, since the last Supremes were named who had no judicial experience (Powell and Rehnquist). And to bolster its position that the disapproval over Miers is a mystery, the article repeats the NYT misinformation that Sandra Day O’Connor and Harriet Miers have similar resumes. No, they don’t. O’Connor and Miers personal and professional data could not be more unlike. Please see my October 4th post, “Let’s Get Something Straight” that shows just how different the two women are. Dear Political Historians, Senators and New York Times Fatheads: The reason Harriet Miers is being dissed is because she not only is an unqualified choice for a seat on the Supreme Court, she is the worst choice the White House could have come up with had it tried to name a ninny and corporate law hack to the Supreme Court. Which is what they have done. When before this nomination have Senators had to ask a nominee to re-do the written questionnaire because the answers as presented were “incomplete” and “insulting”? When before this nomination has a Supreme Court nominee been touted as being the best choice because she/he worshipped God in the approved church and manner of a born-again Christian? When before this nomination was a nominee lauded as the best choice because he/she was good at “details”—only to have it revealed that said nominee had forgotten to have his/her law license renewed and therefore could not legally practice law until he/she ponied up the renewal fee? When before this nomination was a nominee’s highest and best SCOTUS qualification a stint as head of the lottery commission of the nominator’s home state? When before this nomintion was a nominee acclaimed for having been the top lawyer in a law firm when in fact his/her job had been as a co-office manager? If Harriet Miers is the best nominee for the Supreme Court that the White House could come up with after having searched far and wide for months and months, then the current spate of troubles and scandals besetting the Bush administration has rendered it incapable of doing the nation’s business. Which of course is true. As we look forward to the Fitzgerald indictments and bearing in mind the Bush administration’s track record for choosing the lowest and worst for their appointments, Bush-asskisser, den-mother and born-again proselytizer Karen Hughes could be our next vice president.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Two News Stories, Sine Qua Non:

1) The number of deaths of American soldiers in the Bush administration’s unnecessary, contrived and fraudulent war in Iraq is 1,996. 2) Patrick Fitzgerald started a Web site on October 21 ( If no indictments are forthcoming, the current Fitzgerald grand jury expires October 28. Putting two and two together, it’s reasonable to conclude that a web site with a heading called “Legal Proceedings” was started with a view to announcing legal proceedings. As in, expect indictments this coming week.

Saturday, October 22, 2005

Repubs In DC Are “Astonished”

WaPo had an article yesterday about how surprised lawmakers and observers in Washington, DC are that the White House confirmation process on Miers was so screwed up. It was such smooth sailing for Roberts, they are saying. The lead paragraph says, “Two months after engineering a nearly flawless confirmation process for Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr., the Bush administration's bid to add Harriet Miers to the Supreme Court has been so riddled with errors, stumbles and embarrassing revelations that some lawmakers and other observers find it hard to believe it emanates from the same White House. "I'm sort of astonished by it," said George Washington University law professor Jonathan Turley, who has followed the nominations closely. "It's like a completely different team at the White House is handling it." Well…duh! you dimwitted assholes, Roberts was qualified and Miers isn’t. This attitude of amazement is the GOP’s problem in a nutshell. The machinery for slotting a Republican misfit and doofus into an important position is well oiled and well tested. It was assumed that if the Bush administration said “Make it so,” the Republican-controlled Congress, the stars in the heavens and God himself would align in a celestial conversion and cause the appointment to become fact. At least that is what Republicans have come to expect during the past five years. It hasn’t mattered a whit during the GWB years that a Republican tool wasn’t qualified. After all, isn’t Condoleezza Rice the Secretary of State? Wasn’t John Ashcroft the Attorney General? Didn’t Donald Rumsfeld misdirect and mismanage a two-week war into a no-end-in-sight debacle? And didn’t the alcoholic, under-achieving, lazy, ignorant, embarrassment of the Bush family become President of the United States? But now suddenly, as though everyone on Capitol Hill has awakened from a drug-induced coma, the thralldom of the GOP has ended and insiders in Washington, DC are astonished. Does this mean that Miers won’t be confirmed? Good heavens, no. Washington is still run by the morons who thought Cheney and Karl Rove would never be found out. But watching Repubs trying to act as though they can be honorable, legitimate, sincere, competent, truthful and authentic is going to be a lot of fun.

Friday, October 21, 2005

The Confidence Game

Tom DeLay grins for his felony mug shot. George W. Bush tosses off the disparaging words “background noise” when he speaks about problems dogging his administration. And we’re supposed to read “no problem” into these adolescent swaggers. So how is this confidence game working out? The polls say Americans would rather have Democrats in the majority in Congress than Republicans. The polls say that only 29% of the people approve of the way Congress is handling its job. The polls say only 39% of the people approve of the way Bush is doing his job. Bush was asked how he’s handling all the recent goings-on in his administration and he said: "There is some background noise here, a lot of chatter, a lot of speculation and opining, but the American people expect me to do my job and I'm going to." He added, "part of my job is to work with others to fashion a world that will be peaceful for future generations. I've got a job to do to make sure the economy continues to grow. I've got a job to make sure there is a plausible reconstruction plan for cities affected by Katrina." It’s been five years since George W. Bush became President of the United States and the people have been left to wonder when he might begin to do his job. When will all Americans have affordable health care, access to a good education and a workable strategy for getting out of Iraq? When will the President be as concerned for the poor and elderly as he is for big business and the wealthy? And when may we look forward to breathing air that won’t make us sick? It’s good to know that the President intends to start to do his job at some point before the year 2008. But it raises some concern to find out that first he intends to bring peace to all nations of the world for all time to come, world without end amen. When the President talks about background noise, does he mean the chatter in his earpiece when the White House prompters tell him what to say? Or is he hearing voices?

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Is It Amnesia or Abject Terror?

Someone other than Scooter Libby mentioned Valerie Plame to Judith Miller and Miller made an oh-so-clever notation in her little black book—“Valerie Flame”. But oops and alas, she can’t remember who she was talking to when she made the notation. Karl Rove says he remembers that he and Scooter Libby talked about Valerie Plame. But there was someone else he talked with about Plame…it’s just that darn and blast, he can’t recall who it was. GOP shill Robert Novak started the whole mess when he outed Plame as a CIA operative and said two White House officials had told him so. He probably named names to Patrick Fitzgerald early on, but now he’s shaking in his boots about the retribution surely to come and may never crawl out of his hole. WaPo’s Walter Pincus knows but he’s not going public. And if Fitzgerald doesn’t release a report on his findings, we’ll never find out who the other guy is. Never mind. We know it’s Cheney. Bush is in hot water because he has denied knowing anything about anything, which is a lie of course. But Bush isn’t the culprit…he’s too stupid to be the culprit. And besides, of all the suspects, Bush has a viable defense. He is so confused and over-medicated he actually may have forgotten what he knew and when he knew it. So…it’s Cheney. And what with his history of heart attacks, aneurysms, defibrillator, shunts, pacemaker, meds, and what-not, he won’t live long enough to give us the satisfaction of seeing him indicted, frog-marched and jailed. However, what is going to be a lovely denouement and meltdown is Fitzgerald’s investigation into the White House Iraq Group. As we know, there are nine members of WHIG that are in deep shit over forcing an unnecessary war on the citizens of the United States by lying about the threat posed by Iraq. But the full list of evildoers and bad guys who will be under the microscope is a delight to read: Condoleezza Rice, WHIG Karl Rove, WHIG Stephen Hadley, WHIG Andrew Card, WHIG Mary Matalin, WHIG Nicholas E. Calio, WHIG I. Lewis (Scooter) Libby, WHIG Alberto Gonzales, Attorney General Ari Fleischer, former WH spokesman Susan Ralston, former ass’t to Karl Rove Israel Hernandez, Assistant Secretary of Commerce John Hannah, aide to Dick Cheney Scott McClellan, WH spokesman Dan Bartlett, WH Communications Director Claire Buchan, WH Deputy Press Secretary Catherine Martin, Deputy Ass’t to the President Jennifer Millerwise, CIA Dir. Public Affairs (former Press Sec’y to Dick Cheney) Jim Wilkinson WHIG Colin Powell, former Secretary of State Karen Hughes, WHIG Adam Levine, former press aide Bob Joseph, Special Ass’t to the President Vice President Dick Cheney President George W. Bush Let the good times roll. And by the way, Condi Rice is feeling so sure of herself and high on war and bloodshed (1987 American soldiers have been slaughtered in Iraq) that she cheerily said yesterday we’d probably be in Iraq for the next ten years and that she couldn’t rule out expanding the war into Syria.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

WHIG Pigs May Be Indicted

Democratic Underground had an interesting item yesterday posted by Stevendsmith. The post said that Larry C. Johnson had reported Patrick Fitzgerald was considering 22 indictments, including “Stephen Hadley, Karl Rove, Lewis Libby, Dick Cheney, and Mary Matalin”. Johnson said Hadley had told friends he expected to be indicted. The disinformation White House Iraq Group started by Karl Rove and Andrew Card in 2002 with the aim of fraudulently pushing the US into attacking Iraq had nine original members: Karen Hughes, Mary Matalin, James R. Wilkinson, Nicholas E. Calio, Condoleezza Rice, Stephen Hadley and I. Lewis (Scooter) Libby (plus Rove and Card). How has Mary Matalin sunk so low? And who is Stephen Hadley? Mary Matalin is a Republican political strategist who has been an assistant to George W. Bush and counselor to vice president Dick Cheney. No, she does not have a law degree. She went to Hofstra law school but dropped out after one year. She has few qualifications that would account for her place in the rarified circles of Republican politics other than the unerring instinct of a predator and brass balls the size of the Capitol dome. She is the odd couple partner of James Carville, famous Democrat political strategist to Bill Clinton. Matalin resigned from the White House in December of 2002, five months after the inception of WHIG and six months before the Wilson/Plame leak. It’s been reported she’s already testified before Fitzgerald. It would be a gift from heaven to see this arrogant, smart-ass, former beautician-turned-political dreadnought put in her place by an indictment. When Condoleezza Rice was appointed Secretary of State by GWB, Stephen Hadley replaced her as National Security Advisor. Hadley has been in the Department of Defense in various positions since 1986. He’s an old-line faithful Republican who can be counted on to lie and to defend lies when it is advantageous to any GOP agenda. He might see an indictment as a badge of honor but I see it as just deserts for a career Republican gofer and water boy. Speaking of which, has anyone seen Robert Novak recently?

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

William Kristol Is a Smug Devious Sack of Crap!

Did you ever notice when William Kristol says something cruel and mean he always smiles? As if the smile means he’s not a bullying little putz, but rather a compassionate superior being. I watched Katherine Hepburn in “Suddenly Last Summer” last night. She did the same thing as an actress. When she played a spiteful mean bitch she said every nasty line with a smile. It was chillingly effective. But back to Weekly Standard editor Wiliam Kristol. He is quoted in this morning’s NYT. You can just see the snide, patronizing, condescending smile as Kristol says, regarding the White House chief of staff Andrew Card’s role in pushing the Harriet Miers nomination, “(Critics) could perhaps hold Andy accountable for not saying, 'Mr. President, this is going to be a mistake’.” Kristol added, "He's always been - weaker is not quite fair, but he's always been a less powerful chief of staff than we're used to. It worked well for a while. It seemed he was good at coordinating Karl and the vice president and Josh Bolten and Condi. And, again, to give him credit, in the first term things went pretty well, you have to say. So I don't really put the blame on Andy; he's doing what he's always done." If William Kristol has decided to blame Andy Card in one sentence, and take back the blame in the next, could it be that William Kristol wants to call attention to Andrew Card because Card is Karl Rove’s boss? Could it be Kristol’s way of saying Rove isn’t the bad guy, the buck stops at Card’s desk. Just look at those big-shot plotmeisters ratting each other out! It’s all over blogland this morning that Judith Miller made a veiled threat to Dick Cheney in her Grand Jury testimony. Scooter Libby seems to have made a veiled threat to Judith Miller. William Kristol wants us to look at Andy Card not Karl Rove. And what with all the attention on the Supreme Court nomination and Fitzgerald’s Grand Jury, the White House Iraq Group (WHIG) has nearly been forgotten. WHIG’s sole purpose was to market the Iraq war to the public. It was a task force chaired by Karl Rove and set up by Andy Card in August 2002. The plan was to ratchet up fears about the danger Iraq posed to the US. The operative phrase used by the group to instill fear and panic was “mushroom cloud”. William Kristol masterminded the Project for the New American Century. He wrote the mission statement, which proposed a pre-emptive strike strategy to ensure US global supremacy. Kristol’s plan was then taken up by WHIG. Scooter Libby signed Kristol’s PNAC Statement of Principles and Libby is a member of WHIG. Since attention is now focusing on Cheney, and away from Libby, the toads in the White House swamp are scrambling around for a convenient scapegoat for Cheney. Kristol is pointing at Card. How about pointing at Kristol? He’s always been all over, smiling and pontificating, throwing mudballs, plotting, scheming, seeming to stay above the fray but getting down and dirty in the trenches, calling for war and global aggression while playing both sides against the middle. Yep. I just found my pick for oily craven manipulating pismire most likely to be behind the Wilson/Plame leak and all other disasters of the Bush administration: William Kristol, Wicked White House Slimemother and Pot-Stirring Master Bastard.

Monday, October 17, 2005

Harriet on Hot-Seat Today

Harriet Miers gets her chance to rebut the jeers and boos today. She will finally go before the Senate and answer questions. Hang onto any photos you have of Bush’s Consigliere since she got her SCOTUS nomination on October 4th, so you can do a before and after. Apparently Miss Harriet had a 20-man-team makeover yesterday. On October 12th, Eleanor Smeal (Feminist Majority Foundation head) had a few choice words to say about “the hue and cry” over Miers’ qualifications. Smeal asked if a man would be subjected to questions about mental capacity. One answer and one question back atcha, Ms Smeal: Clarence Thomas was subjected to heated interrogation about his qualifications and even more embarrassing topics when he was nominated to the Supreme Court. And, has any man ever had a 20-man-team makeover prior to going before the Senate? You can’t bitch and moan about a double standard when the person in question exploits the double standard. Has Ratbang Diary become Gossip Central today? Oh yeah. We do it all when it fits. Like…did you hear that Condi Rice and Harriet Miers are good friends…really really good friends for years and years? As in, really really really good friends for years and years and years. Well…that’s what I heard.

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Judith Miller and Her Can of Worms

The NYT features two stories this morning about their reporter Judith Miller who spent 85 days in jail, supposedly for protecting the identity of her sources for an article she intended to write but never wrote. One article, “The Miller Case: A Notebook, a Cause, a Jail Cell and a Deal", by Don Van Natta, Jr., Adam Liptak and Clifford J. Levy, is an overview of the whole Miller saga. The other, “My Four Hours Testifying in the Federal Grand Jury Room", is Judith Miller’s own account of her testimony before Patrick Fitzgerald and the Grand Jury. The following paragraph is what an old editor of mine called the “so-what paragraph”. It’s inserted in an article to edify the people who have been living in a cave. This is the lead paragraph in Judith Miller’s NYT account about her testimony and will serve as a so-what. “In July 2003, Joseph C. Wilson IV, a former ambassador, created a firestorm by publishing an essay in The New York Times that accused the Bush administration of using faulty intelligence to justify the war in Iraq. The administration, he charged, ignored findings of a secret mission he had undertaken for the Central Intelligence Agency - findings, he said, that undermined claims that Iraq was seeking uranium for a nuclear bomb.” Okay. So much for the back-story. The only addition necessary is to mention that columnist Robert Novak started a furor in his syndicated column on July 14, 2003 by saying that Joseph Wilson’s wife, Valerie Plame, was a covert agent in the CIA. I’ve been reserving judgment on Miller since she went to the slammer. At first, it seemed honorable that she was willing to serve jail time because she wouldn’t name names. It’s the journalist’s right, after all, not to name names. But also, the specter of Joseph McCarthy and the HUAC hearings hovers over any demand to name names. Since the McCarthy hearings, forcing people to name names gives rise to renewed fears of sliding down that slippery slope again. But now, I no longer have a problem with judging Judith Miller. As of this morning, it’s clear to me that she went to jail to protect herself and to protect another source, which so far is unnamed, unrevealed, and safe as a virgin in a convent. There’s that hogwash about Miller needing to have the vice president's chief of staff Lewis Libby tell her himself that she could name him as a source. In December 2003, F.B.I. investigators asked Libby and other officials in the White House to sign waivers saying that previous promises of confidentiality to reporters could be disregarded and that the reporters could reveal their sources. Libby signed the waiver. But NYT executive editor Bill Keller said, "Judy believed Libby was afraid of her testimony.” Keller said he didn’t know why Miller thought Libby was afraid, but he added, “She thought Libby had reason to be afraid of her testimony." Uh huh. Read, Judy Miller was afraid of Scooter Libby, not visey-versey. Don’t forget that when the White House was shouting loudest that Iraq definitely had WMD’s, Judith Miller was staunchly on the White House side. Someone high up in the Bush administration had convinced her there were WMD’s in Iraq and she wrote articles to that effect. In fact, when the NYT came under fierce condemnation for its seeming pro-WMD bias, Keller told Miller she was off the Iraq beat. And then there’s the part about NYT’s lawyer Floyd Abrams wanting Patrick Fitzgerald to question Miller only on conversations she’d had with Libby about Wilson/Plame. Plus the fact that Abrams asked Fitzgerald to promise that Miller would not be called back to answer questions about anyone other than Libby. When Miller got the assurances she needed from Libby (in a jailhouse conference call with Libby and lawyers from both sides), when she had been assured she would be queried only on the Wilson/Plame conversations and that she would not have to answer questions about other sources, then, and only then did she agreed to testify. The biggest question in this whole matter is, who is the other person(s) Judith Miller spoke to regarding the Wilson/Plame matter? That’s the most important question in all of this. And we probably will never know. So all this crap about Judith Miller protecting her sources is crap. Judith Miller is protecting herself and the Bush administration. Which is what she always has done and will do into the foreseeable future.

Saturday, October 15, 2005

How Do You Like That!

Remember the dozen pro-Bush guys from the 42nd Infantry Division in Tikrit who shilled for the Bush administration in the staged videoconference this past Thursday? Turns out, mouthy Master Sgt. Corine Lombardo who was so articulate about "working side-by-side, training and equipping 18 Iraqi army battalions", is a Bush ringer. Ward Harkavy, who writes “The Bush Beat” for The Village Voice. spotted Lombardo sitting in the front row of the staged photo from Tikrit. Master Sgt. Lombardo is a Public Affairs tool. She writes a regular column for “Operation Liberty Torch”--a pro-army rag--for the 42nd Infantry Division. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. But during the fake “conversation” between GWB and the troops, Lombardo never owned up to the fact that her first and foremost job is to make the BushMen look good in Iraq. Boy, it must be like paying $1000 for really bad sex. All this money being spent on fake photo-ops, fake journalism, fake snow jobs, and the war in Iraq still looks like the pig’s ear that it is: a war of aggression instigated by arrogant third-rate politicians who had avoided being in the military, planned by over-the-hill Pentagon officials who decided to wage a war on the cheap, and carried out by an insufficient number of ill-equipped and inexperienced military personnel. Trying to cover up the Iraq stinkhole is bad enough. But WaPo reported a true story yesterday that shows the depths of incompetence to which our government has sunk. The US Army is sending bills to our wounded and maimed soldiers for everything from military housing to travel for follow-up hospital treatment to military gear found missing after their injuries. The military says these bills were mistakes and they are being rectified. Mistakes? Computer errors? Who cares? We’re talking about people who believed in their government enough to fight an unnecessary war. These people should be honored not billed. Mistakes? I rest my case. Could the Bush administration and the Pentagon fuck up any worse? Oh yes! I am sure they could and they will. Wait for it!

Friday, October 14, 2005

Oh No He Didn’t!

Oh yes, he did! So afraid of what noncoms might actually say, the BushMen staged another scripted teleconference with our folks in uniform. This time, it was troops from the 42nd Infantry Division in Tikrit (right…Saddam’s birthplace) who were told what to say and when to say it yesterday as President Bush stood safely behind a podium at the White House. It’s only a matter of time until Bush is caught on videotape or on an open mike saying something incriminating. But it was the Pentagon’s Allison Barber who was caught on camera yesterday coaching the troops and giving them questions to ask. The Associated Press reported this morning that, “After asking for some water bottles to be removed from the shot, Barber then staged what was described as a brief rehearsal, in which she asked the soldiers to act out the order of their answers and which topics each would cover”. Half of the soldiers speaking on camera were officers, Paul Rieckhoff, director of the New York-based Operation Truth, an advocacy group for U.S. veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan, said, adding, "If he wants the real opinions of the troops, he can't do it in a nationally televised teleconference. He needs to be talking to the boots on the ground and that's not a bunch of captains." So…we’ve had the amateur Mission Accomplished theatrics. The obviously fake Thanksgiving turkey in Baghdad in 2003. The hovering helicopters and stage set constructed for Bush’s visit to the Katrina disaster on September 2nd that was dismantled as soon as he left. And the amazing thing is, these half-assed White House movie-of-the-week producers haven’t caught onto the fact that while they are creating bogus films of bogus events of a bogus president, cameras are filming their fakery. What a bunch of stupid clumsy dithering morons. I guess John Edwards was right when he said the GOP’s problem isn’t arrogance, it’s incompetence.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Why Did Bush Nominate Miers in the First Place?

AMERICAblog this morning posted, “Okay, you know it's not going to happen (if) Hill staffers are emboldened enough to challenge the President.” Joe in DC was referring to a New York Times article reporting, “lawyers for the Republican senators on the Judiciary Committee are expressing dissatisfaction with the choice (Harriet Miers) and pushing back against her, aides to 6 of the 10 Republican committee members said yesterday.” And now it comes out that Karl Rove is the one who gave James Dobson the secret info on Miers, which led Dobson to his unqualified support. But the flea in Dobson’s ear made Dobson say, "I can't reveal it all, because I do know things that I'm privy to that I can't describe, because of confidentiality." I must say, I have moments of wondering if Rove hasn’t been setting up GWB for a monumental fall since 2000. But let’s say that Rove and Bush were on the same page about Miers. Why would they nominate someone who didn’t have a prayer? How about payback? They owed her a gigantic quid pro quo and only an extraordinary quid would justify her equally extraordinary quo. At least she does have a law degree. And she is Bush’s consigliere. What on earth did she do to earn the humongous payback of being nominated to the Supreme Court? The perfect thing about this giving and taking back is that Bush and Rove may have been the godfathers on the reward end, but others are doing the taking back. Like stealing back the ransom bag, it's all win. Except, that little detail about what did Miers do for the White House? There is a trail and it will be followed, you can bet the rent on that.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Mush and Gush From Harriet Miers

This morning’s NYT gives a view of Harriet Miers at her kiss-up sycophantic best. Quoting from over 2000 pages of personal notes and correspondence released by the Texas State Library and Archives Commission, an article by Ralph Blumenthal and Simon Romero shows Harriet Miers to be an embarrassingly fawning toady. The notes go back to 1995 when then-Texas Governor George W. Bush named Miers to chair the Texas lottery commission. Prior to that appointment Miers had worked at the Locke Purnell Rain and Harrell law firm. Just before becoming Bush’s consigliere, she was Co-Managing Partner at Locke Liddell & Sapp. And let’s be clear about what a managing partner does. A managing partner is a glorified office manager who also practices law. And Miers was a co-, not a sole managing partner. But back to Harriet Miers real career: Suck-up par excellence. Miers to Bush after his 51st birthday: "You are the best governor ever - deserving of great respect.” Miers to Bush on March 25, 1995 (Thank you) “for taking the time to visit in the office and on the plane back—cool. Keep up all the great work. The state is in great hands. Thanks also for your and your family’s personal sacrifice.” Miers to Bush in October 1997: “Hopefully Jenna and Barbara recognize that their parents are ‘cool’- as do the rest of us. All I hear is how great you and Laura are doing. Texas is blessed.” Miers to Bush after an Anti-Defamation League dinner in 1996 honoring Miers: “Texas has a very popular governor and first lady! I was struck by the tremendous impact you have on the children whose lives you touch.” With George W. Bush, the kiss-up tactic works. He believes it all. No matter how high it’s piled GWB believes every ingratiating word. One of the more interesting facets of the Miers story is that she, like the other women in GWB’s professional life seem totally sexless. Condi Rice, Karen Hughes, and Harriet Miers have a job to do: feed George Bush’s ego and delusions. They have other titles, but they get paid to keep the narcissist happy and this has nothing whatsoever to do with anything sexual. The women may fawn, preen, smile, cajole, praise and gush. But they come across as neuter gender fembots. And they've been programmed to make the Bushbot believe he’s president.

Monday, October 10, 2005

WaPo's William Raspberry: Better Than Abortion

William Raspberry's Op/Ed piece in the Washington Post this morning is interesting on many levels. He says there is a better cure to the US soaring crime rate than following William Bennett's suggestion to abort all black babies. For starters, it's interesting that Raspberry who is black doesn't fume and foment over Bennett's remark. He gives a number of possible responses to Bennett, but he doesn't get riled and defensive. Raspberry tells a true story about how the problem of raging elephants was handled in South Africa's Kruger National Park. And he relates the Kruger National Park solution to young black men in America: Too many young black men have no older black men to teach them how to be responsible productive adults. And the reasons he gives for this dilemma, at least by me, are 100% right. I see a great parallel between the response of powerful adult white men to the black community, and the response of powerful adult white men to poor people. Yes, you can substitute the word Republicans when I say powerful adult white men. The Republican Party's message to the black community and to all poor people is that blacks and poor folks have gotten themselves into the spot they are in by not being powerful wealthy and white. Ergo: Fuck you all for having so little forethought. This overall attitude of the Republican Party is a disgrace. But worse than being a disgrace, it has hurt the entire US population because it has brought about an underclass that now is finding it difficult, if not impossible, to help themselves. I wouldn't go so far as William Bennett in suggesting a solution. That is to say, I wouldn't actually suggest killing all wealthy white adult Republicans. But getting the worst of the lot out of public office would go a long way toward healing what's wrong with America.

Sunday, October 09, 2005

Oh Hah! Oh Hee! Oh He-ho'!

The name Jeff Gannon/James Guckert is coming back to haunt the White House re the Wilson leaks. Specifically, how did Jeffy/James get hold of “an internal government memo prepared by US intelligence personnel”? Joe Conason posted an article in on October 7 in which he said, “On Oct. 28, 2003, Gannon posted an interview with Joseph Wilson on the Talon Web site, in which he posed the following question: 'An internal government memo prepared by U.S. intelligence personnel details a meeting in early 2002 where your wife, a member of the agency for clandestine service working on Iraqi weapons issues, suggested that you could be sent to investigate the reports. Do you dispute that?'” How did Gannon get the memo? Conason says Gannon “hinted” that he got it from the Wall Street Journal. Maybe so. But Gannon was regularly visiting the White House at the time. Raw Story carried an article on April 25, 2005 showing the findings of Rep. Louise Slaughter (Ranking Member House Rules Committee) and Rep. John Conyers, Jr. (Ranking Member House Judiciary Committee). By using FOIA (Freedom of Information Act) Slaughter and Conyers requested and received documents, which had been released by the Secret Service re Gannon's access to the White House. Slaughter and Conyers wrote a letter (see to press secretary Scott McClellan asking him to explain why Gannon was given access to the White House on more than 200 occasions, sometimes checked into the White and didn't check out, and sometimes spent the night in the White House. Gannon had no press credentials except those from Talon. com. Talon was subsequently found to be a bogus news site. And Gannon was a male prostitute at the time. Oh you sly White House dogs. It's been widely reported that in 1976 Bush was sent to “Worthy Creations” in El Paso, TX to get degayed. A year later, he was straight, born again and married to Laura Welch. But now it's beginning to look like all that degaying, detoxing, and reborning just didn't work. Which, you know, would be pretty much George W. Bush's own damn bidness if he weren't POTUS and if his addictions didn't imperil our nation. Is it possible someone else in the White House inner circle was using Jeff Gannon's many-faceted services? Sure. But think about it. Who lives in the White House day and night?

Friday, October 07, 2005

The President Speaks

The President says nothing. Yesterday President Bush gave a speech to the National Endowment for Democracy at the Ronald Reagan Amphitheater in Washington, DC. It was touted as being a major speech giving unprecedented details about Al Qaeda's terrorism against the United States. But this so-called major speech turned out to be a rerun. It was a trip down memory lane to GWB's finest hour, September 11, 2001. One would think the President would want to forget his braggadocio and bombast about bringing Osama in dead or alive. But no. He chose to resurrect that embarrassing moment by mentioning Osama Bin Laden five times. Did he mention the bomb threat to New York's subway system yesterday, which happened in real time and represents a real danger? No. He chose to bask in the glory of a time when he felt he was in control. Which is GWB's modus operandi. His regular radio address on August 27th made no mention of Katrina but focused on the Iraqi constitution. The President's speech yesterday was an empty speech from an empty suit. It was not without a moment of comic relief, however. Albeit, unintended comic relief. The President said, “There's always a temptation in the middle of a long struggle to seek the quiet life, to escape the duties and problems of the world, and to hope the enemy grows weary of fanaticism and tired of murder.” He was cautioning Americans not to become complacent and relax in the war against terrorism. He went on to say, “The enemy is never tired, never sated, never content with yesterday's brutality. The enemy considers every retreat of the civilized world as an invitation to greater violence.” Yes indeedy! Seeking the quiet life is always a temptation. In August, GWB took the longest retreat of any president in 36 years. When he reluctantly cut short his vacation on September 1 to return to Washington to deal with the reality of Katrina he had logged 319 vacation days which is 20 percent of his presidency. We must remember though, a president who needs mechanical devices to aid his off-the-cuff remarks no doubt needs those devices to be up-graded and fine-tuned often and in privacy. Go back and look at the video of GWB's October 5 press conference. He was back to pauses while listening to his earpiece and quick-talk after getting his cue. I'm thinking a cochlear device implant. And the president smiles and smiles. But as Shakespeare's Yorick says to himself (Hamlet Act 5, Scene 1): “You're the reedy smile a hopeless man wears when tragedy kisses him on the forehead.”

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Bush Administration: Arrogant or Incompetent?

Last night, on The Daily Show, former US Senator (D-NC) and John Kerry running mate John Edwards, said he believed the Bush administration is not as arrogant as it is incompetent. By me, the arrogance of the Bush administration is the one factor that has guaranteed its incompetence. Arrogance has allowed unqualified cronies to be placed in important positions. Rumsfeld was Cheney's crony. But giving him the job of masterminding the invasion of Iraq guaranteed that the so-called preemptive war would fail. Condoleezza Rice was the designated minder who fed GWB's ego and kept him off the sauce. But making her Secretary of State guaranteed that the United States would not only have a bungling Secretary of State but that GWB would start drinking again. Making Bush's old friend and suck-up Michael Brown head of FEMA guaranteed that FEMA would have an ineffective leader and that the organization would collapse during an emergency Giving suck-up Chertoff the job that had been vacated by suck-up Ridge guaranteed that Homeland Security would secure nothing other than Chertoff's employment. Julie Myers was a special assistant handling personnel issues for Bush when she was picked to head Immigration and Customs Enforcement. The list goes on and on. And now, at the exquisite moment when all the scandals, mismanagement and incompetence have come home to roost, in a masterstroke of arrogant stupidity and political favoritism, Ellan Miers has been appointed to the Supreme Court by the ur-putz, ne plus ultra, George W. Bush. It is no wonder the Bush administration is incompetent. The White House has conducted its affairs as though it were a frat house with all the funloving pranksters, excesses, drinking, and strange bedfellows that life in a frat house implies. It's hard to believe it's only been eight months and seventeen days since George W. Bush was inaugurated. So many offenses…so little time.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

The Repubs Have a Real Problem Now

And God knows, they deserve it. Their puppet-king has decided to rule, for real. It's classic, of course. A rube is put forward because he is good-looking or has connections or his country boy ignorance appeals to the rabble and then the rube realizes he actually has power. The case of Arthur Godfrey comes to mind. He was a TV icon in the 1950's, who came to a bad end. Budd Schulberg wrote a story, “A Face in the Crowd, which was made into a great movie in 1957 and introduced Andy Griffith. Same story…a rube becomes so popular that he becomes a political juggernaut who is impossible to control. The denouement was classic too. George W. Bush wants to be President. You could see it during his press conference yesterday. When he said he'd been listening to ideas from Senators, it was pure George W. Bush. He looked right into the camera with a sincerity not seen in a press conference in decades. And he divulged a George W. Bush epiphany that was so stunningly stupid it made one gasp. Not that the epiphany didn't occur. It probably did. But only GWB would have used it as a justification for naming an unqualified personal friend to the Supreme Court. He said he'd been listening to Senators and, he said, “One of the most interesting ideas I heard was, 'Why don't you pick somebody who hasn't been a judge? Why don't you reach outside the' -- I think one senator said - 'the judicial monastery?'” In that brief moment, we saw a delusional President who believed he could put forward any off-the-wall brainwave and it would be accepted as words of wisdom. The President was asked, “In your own mind”, how much political capital he had left, And the Prez said “Plenty. Plenty.” He said he was going to spend this political capital on getting a fiscally responsible budget out and decreasing nonsecurity discretionary spending. Nonsecurity discretionary spending is less that one-fifth of the budget and decreasing it will do nothing to decrease the out-of-control spending of the federal government. Nonsecurity discretionary spending includes things like money spent on education. The operative words, of course, in the bit of dialogue in yesterday's press conference were, “in your own mind”. In the President's own mind, he is a leader, and it was clear yesterday, he has decided to lead without interference from his doctors, his minders or his advisors. Well, he's the GOP's problem. They created their monster and they don't want GWB to be President any more than we do. But what are they going to do about it? If I were the Prez, I'd stay out of helicopters. I'd even stay out of Air Force One. Matter of fact, I wouldn't even get on my mountain bike. But there's always the Leave-the-microphone-on-when-he-doesn't-know-it trick. That works well.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Let's Get Something Straight

This morning the NYT is floating the preposterous idea (“Miers Known as a Hard-Working Advocate for the President”) that Harriet Ellan Miers and Sandra Day O'Connor are equals. “Last May,” the article says, “the Texas Center for Legal Ethics and Professionalism gave Harriet E. Miers its second annual Sandra Day O'Connor Award. On Monday, President Bush proposed Ms. Miers for something a little bit bigger: Sandra Day O'Connor's seat on the Supreme Court. The parallels to the woman she would replace are apparent.” They aren't apparent to me. Mainly because the idea is a crock. Both women were born in Texas. Both women are Republicans. And there ends the similarity. Miers is 60 years old. She has distinguished herself by being a blatant suck-up to President George W. Bush. She even said he was the most brilliant man she'd ever met. That alone should disqualify her from SCOTUS for being insane or a shameless lying sycophant. She has worked in a third-rate law firm, been head of the Texas Lottery and served as a Member-At-Large on the Dallas City Council. She is unmarried and has no children. Miers got her law degree at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas. SMU does not have ranking as even a second-tier law school. And Miers did not make Law Review at SMU. Contrast that with Sandra Day O'Connor's accomplishments. She became a Supreme when she was 51. O'Connor got her law degree in California at Stanford University. Stanford's Law School is ranked third in US law schools (Yale is first, Harvard second) in the first-tier group. O'Connor earned her LLB in two years. She was editor of the Stanford Law Review. She married John O'Connor when she graduated from law school. They had three sons, all born between 1957 and 1963. When the O'Connors returned from Germany where John O'Connor had served in the Judge Advocate General's Corps in the US Army, Sandra resumed her career full-time. The O'Connors settled in the Maricopa/Phoenix area in Arizona. Governor Jack Williams appointed Sandra Day O'Connor to a vacant seat in the Arizona Senate in 1969. O'Connor won re-election in 1970 and 1972. In 1974, she successfully ran for judge on the Maricopa County Superior Court. In 1979 she won an appointment to Arizona's Court of Appeals. When Justice Stewart Potter resigned from the Supreme Court in 1981, President Reagan chose O'Connor as Potter's replacement. The biggest problem with Harriet Miers having no obvious qualifications for being a Supreme is that she has left no paper trail. We don't know where she stands on important issues. By all accounts she is a nice person and she works hard. But what does she stand for? She's obviously willing to say anything and do anything to sit at the feet of a fool, George W. Bush. But how would she vote as a Justice on the Supreme Court? We have no way of knowing.

Monday, October 03, 2005

Harriet Who?

Why, Harriet Ellan Miers. You know, the White House Counsel who has never been a judge but who has been honchoing the Bush administration effort to pick Supreme Court nominees. Ah. That Harriet was just nominated by the White House to be the Supreme to succeed Sandra Day O'Connor. And in case the name Harriet Miers does not immediately call to mind the bio and curriculum vitae of a mover and shaker, Consigliere Miers hails from Dallas, TX. Ah. Consigliere Miers was appointed White House Counsel when former White House Consigliere, Alberto Gonzales, was appointed Attorney General. Ah. What ain't Harriet Ellen Miers? She ain't no Sandra Day O'Connor. What is Harriet Ellen Miers? She's a Texas GOP suck-up with a law degree. Here's her bio from the American Justice Partnership: “Harriet Miers serves as Counsel to the President. Most recently, she served as Assistant to the President and Deputy Chief of Staff, and prior to that she was Assistant to the President and Staff Secretary. “Before joining the President's staff, she was Co-Managing Partner at Locke Liddell & Sapp, LLP from 1998-2000. She had worked at the Locke Purnell, Rain & Harrell firm, or its predecessor, from 1972 until its merger with the Liddell Sapp firm. From 1995 until 2000, she was chair of the Texas Lottery Commission. In 1992, Harriet became the first woman president of the Texas State Bar, and in 1985 she became the first woman president of the Dallas Bar Association. She also served as a Member-At-Large on the Dallas City Council. “Harriet received both her undergraduate and law degrees from Southern Methodist University.” Well, I'll tell you what…for a come-from-nowhere legal hack who has gotten where she is by brown-nosing the Texas mob, Ms Harriet may have won the Texas Lottery this morning.

Sunday, October 02, 2005

Let’s Get Real About the Abortion Issue

Yes, it’s a hot-button topic. Yes, the self-righteous morons who want all women to carry all fetuses to term or die trying are maddening. Yes, it divides the US into them and us camps. But the actual importance to women on whether these far-right religious fanatics can overturn Roe v. Wade or not, looms as less of a threat every day. If Roe v. Wade is overturned, it means that states can ban abortions, it doesn’t mean they will or that they must. Today’s NYT has an interesting article on the subject: “Abortion Might Outgrow Its Need for Roe v. Wade”. Back when the birth control pill first came out, we all knew it could be used as a morning-after pill. The original pill was much stronger than it needed to be to prevent pregnancy. Doctors in the women’s health field were not shy about telling us that the pill had a secondary use. Now, the birth control pill cannot be used in that way. But now it doesn’t need to be used in that way. As the NYT article points out, a pill that was approved in 1988 as a treatment for ulcers, Cytotec (misoprostol) was found to cause miscarriages and has been used for nearly two decades for self-induced abortions. In the NYT article, Dr. Jerry Edwards, an abortion provider in Little Rock, Ark. is quoted saying, "We won't go back to the days of coat hangers and knitting needles. Rich women will fly to California; poor women will use Cytotec.” Right now, any woman or girl of any age can go into any Emergency Room and ask for a morning-after pill and she will be provided with the means for inducing a miscarriage. Norma McCorvey, the original Jane Doe in the Roe v. Wade case who found God, became a born-again and now preaches against abortion, says, in her typically florid way, "When women start using these self-induced drugs, and start seeing body parts in their potty, they're going to go bananas… it's going to be horrible." No. Ms McCorvey. That’s not what is going to happen. Most women who find they are pregnant do not wait until a fetus is fully formed and viable before they decide to terminate a pregnancy. What these women will find in their potty is blood, because in the vast majority of cases, morning-after pills are used in the first two weeks after conception. The real issue is not about whether radicals and fanatics can overturn Roe v. Wade. Because it doesn’t matter. Women always have and always will have abortions. And now that abortions can easily be self-induced and now that antibiotics make dealing with infection a foregone conclusion, the holier-than-thou-crowd (who fight abortions until wives and daughters need them) doesn’t have much of a platform to stand on. Here’s the real issue: Will born-agains and religious fanatics insist that women be left to bleed to death if they go to Emergency Rooms for treatment of a failed self-induced abortion? Will they demand that these women be put in prison? They may. And that stance, which never will be enacted as law because 60% of Americans are pro-choice, would go a long way to making anti-abortion fanatics totally irrelevant.

Saturday, October 01, 2005

Here's The Thing

Let's say, for argument's sake, that the New Testament stories of the Last Supper are fairly accurate. Let's say that, in spite of all the magical nonsense, political propaganda and editing and rewriting, the basic story of that last Seder is true. Let's say that back in that day, a man named Jesus wanted to reform some of the practices of Judaism, and the theocracy in power was dead-set against him. Let's say that Jesus knew a ratfink mole from the tradition-bound theocracy had wormed his way into Jesus' band of friends. Let's say Jesus knew he would not be alive to honor another Shabbat after Passover. Let's say Jesus called his friends together so they could have their Seder together, knowing that Judas had sold him out. Let's say Jesus took a loaf of bread, said a prayer of thanks and passed it around, then took a chalice of wine, said a prayer of thanks and passed it around and then said, “Look, I know one of you has given me up to them, I even know who it is, but remember what we stood for, guys. Every time you eat and drink, think of me and then just keep on keepin' on.” Let's say Jesus said something like, “When you do this, remember me”. Here's the thing: There is not one single account that reports that Jesus said, “It's not kosher for you to eat bread and drink wine and remember me unless a guy in a dress gives you permission, says some mumbo-jumbo and decides whether you are worthy to think of me while having a teaspoon of wine and eating something called a wafer that doesn't even resemble stale matzo brei.” See…the thing is, Jesus never said that. All he said was, “When you do this, remember me.” So you know what? Why not just cut out the middleman? Whoever you are, if it feels right to remember a man who had integrity, wanted to fight injustice and wasn't afraid to die for his beliefs, then go ahead, have some supper, drink a glass of wine, and remember that man because all the stories say he was good, kind, just and honorable. And that is more than can be said for the pompous assholes in the Vatican who are more diabolical, self-serving and greedy than the worst fanatics who wanted Jesus dead.