Prediction – The Wacky World of Conservative Disinfo Will Continue

Vanity Fair has new piece up that consists members of the Bush administration and their thoughts, verbatim about their experiences. In other words these people were given the opportunity to speak their mind without challenge, Farewell to All That: An Oral History of the Bush White House

Lawrence Wilkerson, top aide and later chief of staff to Secretary of State Colin Powell: We had this confluence of characters—and I use that term very carefully—that included people like Powell, Dick Cheney, Condi Rice, and so forth, which allowed one perception to be “the dream team.” It allowed everybody to believe that this Sarah Palin–like president—because, let’s face it, that’s what he was—was going to be protected by this national- security elite, tested in the cauldrons of fire. What in effect happened was that a very astute, probably the most astute, bureaucratic entrepreneur I’ve ever run into in my life became the vice president of the United States.

He became vice president well before George Bush picked him. And he began to manipulate things from that point on, knowing that he was going to be able to convince this guy to pick him, knowing that he was then going to be able to wade into the vacuums that existed around George Bush—personality vacuum, character vacuum, details vacuum, experience vacuum.

Wilkerson has proven to be an endangered species, fairly rational as far as modern Conservatism goes. Though to refer to Cheney as an ‘bureaucratic entrepreneur” is kind considering the Cheney record. The Conservativeve media watch dogs over at Newsbusters are on the case, Vanity Fair Attempts Comprehensive Bush Hit Piece, Misfires Badly By Tom Blumer. Blumer is in quite a huff as he attempts to spin the factual record – the history we all know versus the Right’s never ending spin. He calls the Vanity Fair a hit piece. The new definition of a hit piece is recording the conversations of Bush administration officials and posting the transcript.

Scott McClellan, deputy White House press secretary and later press secretary: I remember Karl Rove was out there talking at some events about how we’d use 9/11, run on 9/11 in the midterms, and that it was important to do so.

The bold is not commentary by the authors Cullen Murphy and Todd S. Purdum, they’re the former press secretary’s words. If that is a hit, and it is, it comes from someone who was an integral part of the Bush White House’s communication spin with the public. Newsbusters go on to claim what could be described as reality reported from another universe via a distorted mirror: there were wmd in Iraq, Saddam had yellow cake which justified throwing out weapons inspectors, they’re ever so proud that Bush was the first MBA president – proof  that he is an intellectual, Bush’s infamous 16 word manipulation of the truth and the American public was rock solid, those civil liberties we lost didn’t mean squat – leaves out lots of about their legality and wisdom of course, science that Republicans don’t like is automatically false and somehow with a small majority in the House Democrats were so powerful that used the opportunity to push the country into a recession/depression. If only their post was in color and funny it might pass as a net comic strip.

Press Release of Intelligence CommitteeTwo Bipartisan Reports Detail Administration Misstatements on Prewar Iraq Intelligence, and Inappropriate Intelligence Activities by Pentagon Policy Office

In making the case for war, the Administration repeatedly presented intelligence as fact when in reality it was unsubstantiated, contradicted, or even non-existent. As a result, the American people were led to believe that the threat from Iraq was much greater than actually existed. … Sadly, the Bush Administration led the nation into war under false pretenses.

We know that neocons don’t mind making public the identity of CIA NOC agents and that sites like Newsbusters did their best to spin an alternate reality on behalf of their beloved Bush/Cheney. So no wonder they didn’t believe this CIA press release, CIA’s final report: No WMD found in Iraq

In his final word, the CIA’s top weapons inspector in Iraq said Monday that the hunt for weapons of mass destruction has “gone as far as feasible” and has found nothing, closing an investigation into the purported programs of Saddam Hussein that were used to justify the 2003 invasion.

NB is corect in stating that Iraq did have yellow cake, 1979-1982: Iraq Purchases Yellowcake Uranium, Conceals Full Amount from IAEA.

The total amount of yellowcake uranium secured by Iraq is 563,290 kilograms. The IAEA verifies the amount transferred to Iraq; including the loss of about 40 kilograms from a drum damaged during Iraq’s salvaging and concealment attempts in 1991. Like other uranium transferred to Iraq (see 1979 and 1982), this uranium is verified and accounted for by International Atomic Energy Association (IAEA) inspectors, and is kept at “Location C,” a storage complex near the Tuwaitha nuclear research facility in central Iraq. Later inspections show that Iraq has not been fully honest about its uranium purchases; it is not until July 1991 that Iraq declares the full amount of uranium it has received. Furthermore, later inspections will show that “considerable” amounts of uranium cannot be accounted for. By July 1994, IAEA inspectors will verify the complete amounts and dispositions of Iraq’s yellowcake

Yellow cake that was there since 1979, that Reagan, Bush Sr and the IAEA knew about was the reason Bush threw out inspectors in 2003? After the first Gulf war, Bush Sr could have had it removed, but it remained in country under IAEA seal. Newsbusters apparently crossed its fingers and hoped  none of their readers would put the historical pieces together. They also seemed to hope that since yellow cake was known to already be in the country, Bush’s infamous 16 words re the Niger yellow cake – by way of the British and a forged document that the CIA had told him not to include – means that statement remains primary evidence of Bush manipulating the facts and the appearance of imminent threat to push the U.S. into war. These little blips of Rightie truth wrangling are like a professional playing tennis against an amateur, their lobs are so easy to knock down.

Eight years of an extreme Right presidency, during six of which Republicans controlled both Houses of Congress. Plus a few years of Republican Congressional under Clinton and only the Right could be delusional enough to think they can blame the financial and housing meltdown on Democrats – we all know that Democrats have investigations and write sternly worded letters – they’re guilty of wasting too many dead trees. They warned us, but US eased loan rules

The Bush administration backed off proposed crackdowns on no-money-down, interest-only mortgages years before the economy collapsed, buckling to pressure from some of the same banks that have now failed. It ignored remarkably prescient warnings that foretold the financial meltdown, according to an Associated Press review of regulatory documents.

“Expect fallout, expect foreclosures, expect horror stories,” California mortgage lender Paris Welch wrote to U.S. regulators in January 2006, about one year before the housing implosion cost her a job.

Bowing to aggressive lobbying — along with assurances from banks that the troubled mortgages were OK — regulators delayed action for nearly one year. By the time new rules were released late in 2006, the toughest of the proposed provisions were gone and the meltdown was under way.

“These mortgages have been considered more safe and sound for portfolio lenders than many fixed rate mortgages,” David Schneider, home loan president of Washington Mutual, told federal regulators in early 2006. Two years later, WaMu became the largest bank failure in U.S. history.

The administration’s blind eye to the impending crisis is emblematic of a philosophy that trusted market forces and discounted the need for government intervention in the economy. Its belief ironically has ushered in the most massive government intervention since the 1930s.

“We’re going to be feeling the effects of the regulators’ failure to address these mortgages for the next several years,” said Kevin Stein of the California Reinvestment Coalition, who warned regulators to tighten lending rules before it was too late.

Many of the banks that fought to undermine the proposals by some regulators are now either out of business or accepting billions in federal aid to recover from a mortgage crisis they insisted would never come. Many executives remain in high-paying jobs, even after their assurances were proved false.

The Vanity Fair piece has this from Henry Paulson, secretary of the Treasury,

I easily could imagine and expected there to be financial turmoil. But the extent of it, O.K., I was naïve in terms of—I knew a lot about regulation but not nearly as much as I needed to know, and I knew very little about regulatory powers and authorities. I just had not gone into it in that kind of detail. This’ll be the longest we’ve gone in recent history without there being turmoil, and given all the innovation in the private pools of capital and the over-the-counter derivatives and the excesses around the world, we figured that when there was turmoil, and these things were tested for the first time by stress, it would be more significant than anything else.

I said at the time, I have a concern that every rally we’re going to have in the financial markets will be a false rally until we break the back of the price correction in real estate. And these things are never over until you have a couple of institutions go that surprise everyone. Bear Stearns can hardly be a shock.

But having said that, it’s one thing to see it intellectually and it’s another to see where we are.

For all his faults Paulson displays a lot more backbone in the accountability department then we’ve seen from the Right’s propagandist. Newsbusetrs also blamed Democrats for passing the bailout and the lack of accountability about where the funds are going, After Backing Massive Wall Street Bailout, McConnell Plans To Block Obama’s Economic Stimulus Plan

McConnell, however, had no problem quickly passing President Bush’s Wall Street bailout, even though that package had almost no oversight safeguards. In fact, as McClatchy reported, McConnell “led the battle” to pass the bill.

Everyone is a little pissed at the accountability aspect of the 700b package, but trying to pass it off as a Democratic problem is pure spin city.

The wacky world of wing nuts

So Rightie blogs and pundits are the first place to turn to for the truth? Not really,  The Top 10 Rightblogger Stories of 2008

#7: And Robin is Tony Blair. “A beam of light flashed into the night sky, the dark symbol of a bat projected onto the surface of the racing clouds… Oh, wait a minute. That’s not a bat, actually. In fact, when you trace the outline with your finger, it looks kind of like . . . a ‘W.'” In the Wall Street Journal Andrew Klavan explained why The Dark Knight is “a paean of praise to the fortitude and moral courage that has been shown by George W. Bush in this time of terror and war… Like W, Batman sometimes has to push the boundaries of civil rights to deal with an emergency.” Maybe that explains why the Joker was more popular. (The Journal unfortunately didn’t run Klavan’s other essay about the Hollywood film that celebrated an earlier phase of Bush’s career, Pineapple Express.)

#3: A Megan McArdle Christmas. The Atlantic’s Megan McArdle saw one upside to the financial crisis: “It may break the rat race of constantly ratcheting consumption, which has surrounded most Americans with nice things that don’t really make them happy.”


Bush Takes No Regrets Tour, Media Refuses to Challenge Him

Bushs No Regrets Tour

Ellen Goodman notes that children are held to a higher standard then Bush holds himself, Bush’s No Regrets Tour

What’s equally hard to swallow is Preston Hollow, the Dallas neighborhood where the Bushes bought a $2.1 million house that, as Jay Leno quipped, “thanks to his economic plan, he got it at a bargain.” What I can’t “snap out of” is the fact that he is preparing to write a book and design a library whose themes will undoubtedly be: “Heckuva job, George.”

The 43rd president is going home with less remorse and fewer regrets than my grandchildren express for spilling their cereal.

This is the tenor of the farewell tour being conducted across the landscape from ABC to the American Enterprise Institute. It’s the No Regrets Tour, the nonreflective “reflections by a guy who’s headed out of town.”

George W. Bush will be remembered with names such as Abu Ghraib, Gitmo, and Katrina. With phrases such as “weapons of mass destruction” and “mission accomplished.” He came in with a budget surplus and leaves with a massive deficit. He blew the good will of the post-9/11 world. But being this president means never having to say you’re sorry.

Leaving office, he takes credit for seven years of safety and no debit for a day of disaster. He takes credit for the boom – “it’s hard to argue against 52 uninterrupted months of job growth” – without taking responsibility for the deregulated bust. He takes credit for the surge, not the disastrous preemptive war.

Bush, McCain and every other Iraq dead ender claims the “surge’ worked, but non-genuflecters know that it was 95% lucky coincidence on the tactcal level. It was also not a success in undoing the damage of five years of occupation, Top Ten Myths about Iraq 2008

1. Iraqis are safer because of Bush’s War. In fact, conditions of insecurity have helped created both an internal and external refugee problem:

‘ At least 4.2 million Iraqis were displaced. These included 2.2 million who were displaced within Iraq and some 2 million refugees, mostly in Syria (around 1.4 million) and Jordan (around half a million). In the last months of the year both these neighbouring states, struggling to meet the health, education and other needs of the Iraqi refugees already present, introduced visa requirements that impeded the entry of Iraqis seeking refuge. Within Iraq, most governorates barred entry to Iraqis fleeing sectarian violence elsewhere.’

2. Large numbers of Iraqis in exile abroad have returned. In fact, no great number have returned, and more Iraqis may still be leaving to Syria than returning.

3. Iraqis are materially better off because of Bush’s war. In fact, A million Iraqis are “food insecure” and another 6 million need UN food rations to survive. Oxfam estimated in summer, 2007, that 28% of Iraqi children are malnourished.

We still have a press that is asking Bush and Cheney real tough questions like how do you think history will judge you. Two spin-meisters like George and Dick eat those questions for lunch. Why doesn’t the press use this as an opportunity to make up for being complacent syliphants for Iraq and Republican economic policies the last eight years. How about confronting them with some facts ando some home work, be ready for the spin. That is the job of a free press in a democracy, acting as the people’s surrogates. Real journalists are not there to take dictation, but to shed a little light on the truth.

Water drops wallpapers

Blue Ice Water Drops wallpaper

Water drops on disc

Water drops gold

Water drops on green

Via Think Progress,

QUESTION: How do you explain your low approval rating?

CHENEY: I don’t have any idea. I don’t follow the polls.

My experience has been over the years that if you govern based upon poll numbers, upon trying to improve your overall poll ratings, people I’ve encountered who do that are people who won’t make tough decisions.

This is actually pretty good spin as far as spin goes. Then there is the faint smell of martyr complex. Cheney and Bush, the poor beleaguered leaders of great vision – forget about lying hundreds of thousands of people to their deaths. Forget about Cheney doing business with Saddam and being caught lying about it. Forget all the propaganda and not so sly statements Cheney made about the non-existent WMD and non-existent links between Saddam and 9-11. There is some element of truth to Cheney’s thoughts in the sense that sometimes political leaders do have to make decisions that might be for the best, but are unpopular. Cheney, like Bush and some recent rescue the Bush legacy editorials chose to ignore recent history. After 9-11 Bush enjoyed some of the highest approval ratings in history. Obviously not because Cheney and Bush were caught flat footed as Richard Clarke pointed out, but because Americans rallied to show Al Qaida and their sympathizers a united front. Polls seemed to mean quite a bit to Cheney, Bush and Rove at the time. Then there are the interviews themselves in which Cheney says his popularity doesn’t matter, but keeps bringing up how history will judge him. Part of history is how people see a political figure and their actions – did he do what was best for the country. Just one more bit from the Casper-Star Trib interview,

“As vice president, I don’t run anything. I’m not in charge of the Park Service, but I can make suggestions, and my staff is actively involved in a lot of those issues on my behalf.”

If you’re not in charge of anything, you are not responsible for anything. If you’re not responsible you can’t take credit for those “tough” decisions. Mr. Forth Branch seems to want to have it both ways.

The World of Conservative Projections and Arrogance

Rightwing world

President-elect Obama visited Hawaii Marine Corps Base,

“As we celebrate this joyous time of year, our thoughts turn to the brave men and women who serve our country far from home,” he said in the message, which was posted online Wednesday.

“Their extraordinary and selfless sacrifice is an inspiration to us all, and part of the unbroken line of heroism that has made our freedom and prosperity possible for over two centuries.”

A Conservative blogger called Sistertoldjah responds by writing,

Barack Obama repeatedly and routinely denigrated the mission in Iraq, not just as a US Senator, but as a candidate for Commander in Chief of the armed forces. Whether or not he meant to demean the sacrifices of our troops, that’s exactly what he – and anyone else – did who either said or implied that they were making the ultimate sacrifice for a “lie” … that their deaths were “wasted” deaths.

A new definition for denigrate – apparently anytime an American thinks its is morally wrong to lie your country into a war. Then by way of some paranormal ability to read Obama’s thoughts, what Obama said is not what he meant, it is what this blogger twists and turns it to mean. In other words the blogger has nothing, so resorts to projecting their own bizarre spin. Speaking of denigrating and having respect, how about acknowledging the reality that the military and Bush’s foreign policy disasters are not the same thing. Or acknowledging that while the military as a whole leans Republican it is not a monolithic organization made up of unthinking drones. Bush did lie. People died because of them. That’s a fact. One can be as arrogant, insensitive and smart ass as they like in response to that fact, but that doesn’t change the reality. This letter written by families of National Guardsmen demanding their loved ones be returned state side, would that be denigrating the troops. How about this letter from a man whose brother was killed in Iraq pointing out the tragedy of his brother dying for a pack of lies. How about this muti-generation military family who complained that “The Iraq War was based on lies and exaggerations”. Retired Marine Lt. Gen. Greg Newbold, who was director of operations for the Joint Chiefs of Staff was either strongly implying that Iraq was a waste of lives or a foriegn policy adventure not worth putting our troops at risk when he wrote,

From 2000 until October 2002, I was a Marine Corps lieutenant general and director of operations for the Joint Chiefs of Staff. After 9/11, I was a witness and therefore a party to the actions that led us to the invasion of Iraq–an unnecessary war. Inside the military family, I made no secret of my view that the zealots’ rationale for war made no sense. And I think I was outspoken enough to make those senior to me uncomfortable. But I now regret that I did not more openly challenge those who were determined to invade a country whose actions were peripheral to the real threat–al-Qaeda. I retired from the military four months before the invasion, in part because of my opposition to those who had used 9/11’s tragedy to hijack our security policy. Until now, I have resisted speaking out in public. I’ve been silent long enough.

If yet another chickenhawk blogger wants to claim that the families of the troops are “demeaning” the sacrifices by the military when they criticize Iraq or Afghanistan(the squandered victory) or by putting words into Obama’s mouth or assigining unitended meanings to same, well that is what we have come to expect from the Right. Extreme Righty John Assrocket Hinderaker, who has never served in the military, but through the miracle of self appointment became a spokesperson for same, is praised with an extensive quote at the same blog post,

Until his (Obama) actions compel a conclusion to the contrary, I will give him the benefit of the doubt and assume that he holds our military in the esteem to which it is entitled. I hope and expect that we’ll see more efforts on his part to build bridges to the military community.

The Right works overtime to create the impression of bigger gulfs then actually exist between Democrats and the military and to spin like tops to make sure no such “bridges” are built. What would these right-wing characters write about if you took away their projections and concern trolling.

This poll would suggest that Bush is and his polices are not popular with any group except the same people that love Sarah Palin, think torture is kool and the earth is only a couple of thousand years old. Bush and Cheney like to think of themselves as great, but unappreciated leaders. History is not trending to think along those lines, Bush Defeats Truman

At 39 months in the doghouse, George W. Bush has surpassed Harry Truman’s record as the postwar president to linger longest without majority public approval.

Bush hasn’t received majority approval for his work in office in ABC News/Washington Post polls since Jan. 16, 2005  three years and three months ago. The previous record was Truman’s during his last 38 months in office.

Truman bounced back based on a distant review of some genuinely difficult dcisions that had to be made. Bush, on the other hand cooked the books on Iraq intel and bungled how America should fight the threat of terrorism – the automoble still kills more people every year then died on 9-11 – to put that threat in perspective.

If Its a Crisis You Can Always Find Republicans in Denial

A Republican blogger called AJStrata writes, Blame America’s Economic Woes On Retiring Boomers

A lot of people are scratching their heads over the current economic downturn, but it really should not be a mystery. I myself have been waiting for it to begin for decades. The inevitable contraction has been exacerbated by really bad, leftist economic policy decisions instantiated over many years.

One year ago, the same blogger was bragging abut what a great job Bush was doing with the economy, singing the praises of another Republicans editorial in the NYT,  Did The NY Times Admit Bush Economy Is Historically Great?

Amazingly the truth does come through – even to the BDS driven NY Times. I guess that is a backhanded endorsement of the Bush economy if I ever saw one. 8 years of envious economic news marred by two weeks of unsubstantiated panic. I’ll take that any day. The two weeks is nothing out of 416 weeks – not even 1%. So that means 99+% of the time it was good under Bush. Glad to see the NY Times finally waking up – sort of.

For the uninitiated, BDS stands for Bush Derangement Syndrome. The name the Right gave to anyone over the age of twelve who realized that Bush and his supporters were driving the country off a cliff – the reality based community. They’re making it too easy. Bragging about Bush doing a heckofajob one year and a year later portraying oneself as prescience on an economic collapse brought about the person that you did some documented genuflecting is so silly that he’s not even in the game. He’s outside the park begging for tickets. Since FDR Democrats have been better for the economy. Imagine how bad the economy would be without liberal programs such as federally insured deposits, Social Security and unemployment insurance.

How to tell when a conservative is talking

Study Criticizes Bush Approach to War Funding, Calls for Changes

Even with declining troop numbers in Iraq, the direct price tag of the two wars could grow as high as $1.7 trillion by 2018, the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments reported last week. The defense think tank’s figure does not include potentially hundreds of billions more in indirect economic and social costs, such as higher oil prices and lost wages.

[   ]…The report also rapped the Bush administration’s paying for the wars through borrowing, rather than tax increases and spending cuts. That approach, it concluded, will lead to interest costs through 2018 that range from about $70 billion to as high as about $700 billion, depending on how much of the war funding came through bond sales.

The MBA president strikes again. He didn’t care who piad for his policies as long as he was out of office when the bills came due. Where has the the substance been, the values, the leadership that only electing Republicans could provide. The Right-Wing Economics That Got Us into This Mess Should Go the Way of Soviet

William Seidman, the longtime GOP economic advisor who oversaw the S&L bailout in 1991, cuts to the chase: “This administration made decisions that allowed the free market to operate as a barroom brawl instead of a prize fight. To make the market work well, you have to have a lot of rules.”

Even Alan Greenspan, whose owl-eyed visage would adorn a Mount Rushmore of unregulated capitalists, has begun to see the light, telling a House committee in October that he “made a mistake in presuming that the self-interests of organizations, specifically banks and others, were such that they were best capable of protecting their own shareholders and their equity in the firms.”

Probably most Americans want some form of free market economy, just not the one at whose alter Republicans worship. Arianna Huffington, near the end of this editorial calls them free market fundamentalists. Apt, since they have this pure vision of what an economy is supposed to look like. Much like the far Right religious fundies, rationalism just doesn’t enter into the equation. Like the poor blogger above many on the Right have done a deep nose dive into the sand. For years we’ll be hearing the loud cries of denial about how they were running the ship and the ship mysteriously ran a ground all by itself or was somehow forced by the evil invisible hand of liberals. This technique isn’t new, Conservatives have been using historical revisionism for years – Rightie talk radio is all about telling America  the truth that only Republicans know. As Mr Strata demonstrated today that ultimate truth tends to blow with the wind.

Falling Snow Winter wallpaper

Falling Snow Winter wallpaper

So Bush pardons, then unpardons Brooklyn real estate developer Isaac Toussie, because Toussie’s father made large donation to the Republican party. Which may be Constitutional, maybe not. There could be some things inherently wrong with how the pardon was obtained, but Bush’s sudden discovery of ethics is comical considering his administrations past actions, BUSH CRONIES: UNQUALIFIED BUT WELL CONNECTED

Unqualified Cronies Appointed to Coalition Provisional Authority. Department of Defense political appointee Jim O’Beirne had been tasked with filling positions on organization which is to rebuild Iraq, the Coalition Provisional Authority. “Applicants didn’t need to be experts in the Middle East or in post-conflict reconstruction. What seemed most important was loyalty to the Bush administration. O’Beirne’s staff posed blunt questions to some candidates about domestic politics: Did you vote for George W. Bush in 2000? Do you support the way the president is fighting the war on terror? Two people who sought jobs with the U.S. occupation authority said they were even asked their views on Roe v. Wade.” Jim O’Beirne is married to conservative commentator Kate O’Beirne. [Washington Post, 9/17/06]

Bush, McCain during his campaign and the Iraq dead enders have all tried to claim the surge worked, saved lives. The rational for the surge was they couldn’t get sectarain violence under control. Would that sectarian violence have erupted in the first place or been as bad as it was in the first four years if BushCo had placed qualifications for rebuilding the country over partisan loyalty.

Minnesota looks like it will have one less corrupt Republican dragging the state down. Though light-fingers Norm is said to be planning a lawsuit.

Maybe Caroline Baum at Bloomberg thinks “Obama’s Job-Creation Program Flunks Basic Math” because she couldn’t be bothered to do a half hour worth of research. Since Saint Ronnie Raygun Conservatives have told us, and to some extent centrist Democrats like Bill Clinton bought into it, that deregulation and cutting taxes for the wealthy would bring America economic nirvana. Most American are reaping the rewards of those failed bumper sticker solutions, but Baum thinks we need to try them one more time. Its the we didn’t deregulate enough, cut wages enough, send enough jobs to China and didn’t let banks do enough predatory lending school of economics. Do away with taxes and regulations completely and we’ll live in the social darwinism heaven the Right has always dreamed of.

Partisan Cancer Fogs Wall Street Journal’s Judgement

In an unsigned editorial at the Wall Street Journal, Bush and Scooter Libby – The former White House aide deserves a full pardon

Mr. Libby didn’t leak Ms. Plame’s name to journalist Robert Novak; Mr. Armitage did that deed, though neither he nor his close friend, Mr. Powell, bothered to tell Mr. Bush or the world. Based on the trial record and our own long experience with Mr. Libby, we also don’t think Mr. Libby lied. As Mr. Fitzgerald’s prosecution circled back again and again, Mr. Libby’s defense that his memory faltered in recalling the details of long ago conversations is entirely plausible for a busy White House aide..

What would the Right do without Richard Armitage – Armitage has been and will remain a red herring in regards to Scooter Libby’s conviction. While it does matter who leaked what and when, Libby was not convicted of leaking Plame’s covert staus and identity, he was convicted of four felony counts – one count of obstruction of justice, two counts of perjury and one count of false statement of facts. The WSJ rather then a memorial to the thousands of dead and maimed that resulted from the Bush White House disinfo campaign of which Libby was part, we’re all supposed to have a big cry over poor little Scooter. Who is alive, comes from a wealthy family, is not missing any meals, has a nice roof over his head and is not stationed in Iraq. Libby could have made a deal for immunity instead he lied and lawyered up. That was his choice, to fall on his sword out of some misguided zeal to protect Cheney and possibly Bush. The WSJ claims that the jury came to its conclusions on four felony counts because they were confused. A startling and unsupported accusation and not a too subtle way of calling that jury a group of morons that couldn’t understand the evidence.Now that things played out in terms of the legal system and being found guilty, the Right feels that conspiracy to commit treason is OK to protect the leaders of the Republican party – loyalty to party and Bush trumps loyalty to the rule of law, ethics and the Constitution. The triangulation of selectively leaking dubious intelligence information by the BushCo, using journalists to wage a disinformation campaign and the last desperate gasp of lying to a federal prosecutor didn’t work out. Now we’re supposed to take pity on one of the the cold calculating perps. Let’s be fair, maybe Scooter gets a pardon if he tells the truth about who said what, when they said it and gives a complete accounting of motivations. The wall of lies stripped away we most probably have Dick Cheney trying to play journalists and public opinion like a cheap violin. While Cheney and Libby no doubt believed in what they were doing part of the motivation was simply to punish those that dared question the neocon agenda, Exclusive: Cheney’s admissions to the CIA leak prosecutor and FBI

That Cheney, by his own admission, had revised the talking points in an effort to have the reporters examine who sent Wilson on the very same day that his chief of staff was disclosing to Miller Plame’s identity as a CIA officer may be the most compelling evidence to date that Cheney himself might have directed Libby to disclose Plame’s identity to Miller and other reporters.

This new information adds to a growing body of evidence that Cheney may have directed Libby to disclose Plame’s identity to reporters and that Libby acted to protect Cheney by lying to federal investigators and a federal grand jury about the matter.

Waas points to this report that Dan Froomkin filed just after the Libby verdict,

“I submit you can’t believe that nine witnesses remembered 10 conversations exactly the same wrong way,” Fitzgerald said.

Contrary to WSJ’s assertion, echoed by the Right for years at this point, that Libby just had a faulty memory. What an incredibily coordinated series of faulty memories. If the truth or truths couldn’t be completely uncovered – a sentiment glaringly lacking in the WSJ editorial-  it is because Libby made it his mission to obscure the truth. Cheney issued talking points to his staff that by became contradictory. At one point Cheney issued talking points where knew nothing of Wilson’s mission to Niger, then later changed them since various officials at the CIA testified about Cheney knew at Libby’s trial. Change stories? People don’t change stroies mid stream about issues of national security unless they’re trying to obscure facts and in this case motives for revealing cherry picked information to favored journalists.

update: corrected some typos and grammar for clarity.

Kristol Spins Like a Top for Dick Cheney

I’m not sure what Bill Kristol has been smoking, Popularity Isn’t Everything from his perch at NYT

WALLACE: Did you really tell Senator Leahy, bleep yourself?

CHENEY: I did.

WALLACE: Any qualms, or second thoughts, or embarrassment?

CHENEY: No, I thought he merited it at the time. (Laughter.) And we’ve since, I think, patched over that wound and we’re civil to one another now.

No spin. No doubletalk. A cogent defense of his action — and one that shows a well-considered sense of justice. (“I thought he merited it.”) Indeed, if justice is seeking to give each his due, one might say that Dick Cheney aspires to being a just man.

Dick can’t leave his bunker without spreading around some spin and double talk. Cheney: Was There ‘A Link Between Iraq And Al Qaeda? Seems To Me Pretty Clear That There Was’ – which, everyone except the same people that think president-elect obama was born on Mars, knows there was no link between Iraq and 9-11 or Iraq and al Qaeda. In 2004 Cheney was still asserting the falsehood that Saddam had an active chemical, biological and nuclear weapons program – not spin, just an outright scurrilous lie from the Vice-president of the United States. Cheney repeated this crap multiple times since 2001 – even after reports by the U.S. Senate said he was wrong. A just man, even by loosest definition doesn’t manipulate his fellow countrymen into dying for a lie. If Kristol honestly believes that Cheney is a “just” man, then intellectual consistency and all, Kristol must also think the Nazis and Japanese nationalists who tortured Americans were” just” too, Powell aide: Torture ‘guidance’ from VP

A former top State Department official said Sunday that Vice President Dick Cheney provided the “philosophical guidance” and “flexibility” that led to the torture of detainees in U.S. facilities. – Andrew Sullivan on Cheney’s latest interview and Cheney’s view that the VP is all powerful.

Kristol spends the rest of his column obsessing over the doomed, and rightfully so “Democrat, Gov. Rod Blagojevich of Illinois”. What readers are supposed to do is suspend all understanding of moral equivalence. Blagojevich, your classic run of the mill corrupt pol is just so morally inferior to the guy that perpetuated one of the most execrable and deadly con jobs in American history, helped guide the economic policies that have resulted in the current recession, promoted torture, thinks he is a forth branch of government and a laundry list of other disgusting  behavior. Kristol’s latest column is just one of what promises to be a continuing attempt to rewrite history and salvage the neocon legacy – which just happens to be Kristol’s legacy.This has been the job of extreme ideoloques and tin pot dictators since someone started recording history. The tyrants were good, but did bad things for the sake of the people.

Also from the Fox interview, Cheney: We Asked If We Needed Approval For Wiretapping, Congress Told Us ‘Aboslutely Not’

Cheney’s startling claims run directly counter to accounts by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-WV). Rather than asking for congressional input, Pelosi and Rockefeller said in 2005 that Cheney simply informed them of what was going on — and ignored their objections:

PELOSI: The Bush Administration considered these briefings to be notification, not a request for approval. As is my practice whenever I am notified about such intelligence activities, I expressed my strong concerns during these briefings.

ROCKEFELLER: The record needs to be set clear that the Administration never afforded members briefed on the program an opportunity to either approve or disapprove the NSA program.

As Glenn Greenwald suggests maybe Democrats (at least some of them) shouldn’t get off that easy,

There is some marginal dispute about what they were and weren’t told, but no dispute about the existence of the briefings and the complete lack of any real efforts by Democrats to stop it or even object.

The key here is what they knew and when they knew it. It should also be understood that when members of Congress are given intelligence brifings, as any breifings on wire tapping would have been, they are legally obligated not to reveal the contents of those briefings. Remember that the Senate and House Intelligence committees would have been under Republican charmanship pre-2006. No hurry to run up the assummptions, they will be plenty of revelations about who did what and when over the next couple years.

Norman Rockwell Holiday Paintings

Oh boy Its Pop with A new Plymouth by Norman Rockwell. A painting that takes on an unintended irony in light of the changes in American car buying habits over the last fifty years.

Jolly Postman by Rockwell

Homecoming by Norman Rockwell. Norman may have modeled the sleigh driver and the postman above on the same person. Or maybe the postman also did some sleigh driving part-time.

Christmas Santa Reading Mail by Rockwell

Christmas Dance by Norman Rockwell

A Drum for Tommy

For those that may not be familiar with Rockwell, he was a New York born painter-illustrator (February 3, 1894 – November 8, 1978). He didn’t work exclusively for the original Saturday Evening Post magazine, but the covers that he did for them over the course of forty years are what sealed his place in American art and history.

Each According to the Dictates of his Own Conscience by Rockwell. Those that are aware of Rockwell’s sometimes overly idealized works may not be ware that he also did an occassional bit of social commentary. This advertisment for war bonds circa WW II was one of the more somber ones.