Dec. 17th, 2003

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The more I think about this, the more pissed I am.

Do the candidates realize, do you think, that if they turn out not to be The Candidate, Bush is going to saturation bomb all the states where they might have some popularity during the last days of the election showing them trashing whoever The Candidate is?

I mean, I know no-one on their campaign is going to get a job on the transition team thinking that way, but the candidates are supposedly running because they believe they're the best supporters the Democratic party has nationally. They're supposed to care.

No, Karl Rove doesn't care about little things like that, and neither does George Bush. Know what, though? Karl Rove has been terrible for this country, and George Bush is a disaster as a president, a disaster as a policy maker, and a disaster as a steward of our national well-being.

I don't need you to prove you're worse than he is. If I have to hold my nose to vote for you, believe me, an awful lot of people are going to stay home. I'm a yellow dog democrat from Greenwich Village, for crying out loud. If you give me the whisper of a chance, I'll be fervently partisan on your behalf.

It's been a dog's age since I've been able to vote for someone instead of against someone else. Please don't blow it for me.

If you absolutely must insist on America watching you drown with your teeth firmly clamped in someone's swim trunks, buy an inflatable pirate.

No kidding, whichever one of you you are. No, not the other ones, you.

This matters more than you do.

Cut it out.
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Vice President Cheney warned this week that "the major threat" facing the nation is the possibility that terrorists could detonate a biological or nuclear weapon in a U.S. city.

Cheney told commentator Armstrong Williams that the war on terrorism is "going to go on for a long time" and that U.S. soil remains vulnerable to al Qaeda, the network behind the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. The vice president said one of his biggest worries is "the possibility of that group of terrorists acquiring deadlier weapons to use against us -- a biological weapon of some kind, or even a nuclear weapon."

"To contemplate the possibility of them unleashing that kind of capability -- of that kind of weapon, if you will, in the midst of one of our cities -- that's a scary proposition," he said. "It's one of the most important problems we face today, because I think that is the major threat."

Cheney also criticized what he considers a proliferation of "cheap shot journalism" about the administration. "People don't check the facts," he said...

Oh, where to even begin.

No, Mr. Vice President, they don't check the facts.

Some of them even think there's a connection between 9/11 and Saddam Hussein.

Those people, who believe that, must be good and relieved right now.

Oddly, you don't seem to be.

Anyone would think we had an overextended military, a crippling deficit and lots of people not re-enlisting. I mean, one might almost think that we were pouring money into your pension fund instead of making America safer.

Anyone would think we hadn't beaten the terrorists at all.

That we were less safe.

That you've made us less safe .

Well, almost anyone would think. You clearly don't occupy yourself too much doing that.

Jerk.
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A federal judge in Detroit sharply criticized Attorney General John D. Ashcroft yesterday for violating a gag order in the nation's first terrorism trial after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.

U.S. District Judge Gerald Rosen said Ashcroft "exhibited a distressing lack of care" by issuing public statements during the nine-week trial that ended in June, despite a court order prohibiting them. Twice, Ashcroft publicly praised the government's lead witness in the case.

Rosen said Ashcroft will not face criminal contempt charges but that a public rebuke was necessary.

"Despite his unquestioned duty to represent the nation on matters of public concern . . . the Attorney General has an equally vital and unyielding obligation, as the nation's chief prosecutor, to ensure that defendants are accorded the fair trial guaranteed them under the constitution," Rosen wrote in a ruling issued Tuesday. "In this case, this essential balance was jeopardized, even after the court had issued specific warnings."

In a letter to Rosen late last month, Ashcroft said the remarks were inadvertent. He repeated that comment in a statement yesterday.

"While the two statements in question were inadvertent and in no way intended to either disregard the court's order, or disrupt the ongoing trial, I can see how these two statements, however brief and passing, could be considered by the court to be a breach of the court's order," Ashcroft said in a statement. "I take this matter very seriously and will make every effort to ensure that the difficulties occasioned in this instance will be avoided in the future...


Our nation's highest law enforcement officer publicly commented on a credibility of a witness in a trial with a gag order in place twice. Inadvertantly.

Because as a member of the Bush administration, he's not good at keeping things from the public. It's not his way. It's just transparency all the way with this guy. Sunshine Johnny, they call him. He types up FOIA requests for pro bono clients on weekends and hands them in on his lunch hour.

Letter of the law, anybody? An official lying to a judge?
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I'm guessing the voters figured they wouldn't have this problem with the dead guy.
The Federal Election Commission has determined that Attorney General John D. Ashcroft's unsuccessful 2000 Senate reelection campaign violated election laws by accepting $110,000 in illegal contributions from a committee Ashcroft had established to explore running for president.

In documents released yesterday by the FEC, Garrett M. Lott, treasurer for the two Ashcroft committees, the Spirit of America PAC and Ashcroft 2000, agreed to pay a $37,000 fine for at least four violations of federal campaign law. Lott agreed "not to contest" the charges.

"Spirit of America PAC and Ashcroft 2000, respectively, violated the [law] by making and receiving this excessive contribution. Additionally, Spirit of America PAC and Ashcroft 2000, respectively, violated the [law] by failing to disclose the making or receipt of the excessive contribution," the FEC declared in a news release.

Under the law, the Spirit of America PAC was allowed to give the Ashcroft 2000 committee only $5,000 for the primary and $5,000 for the general election, which it did. The commission found that the Spirit of America PAC far exceeded these limits by illegally transferring to the Ashcroft 2000 committee $110,000 derived from the rental of its donors list.

The FEC vote to fine the Ashcroft committee was 5 to 1, and the one dissenter sought harsher penalties and tougher findings.

The three Republican members of the commission joined two of the Democrats in voting for the penalties. But two Republican members, David M. Mason and Michael E. Toner, played down the significance of the findings. "This matter was a garden variety complaint regarding a series of mailing list transactions between two political committees, which was blown far out of proportion, apparently due to the involvement of the sitting attorney general, who is a favored target of political attacks by opponents of the current administration," they said in a statement...

I think Rush really has to stage an intervention and explain to the Attorney General some of the stuff he learned in group about owning your shit.

I'm sure the wallpaper snakes will remind him if any of it has slipped his mind.
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I mean, that's what it usually is, right?
When George W. Bush was running for president, he was inspiring on the subject of privacy. But it was not your privacy or mine he was talking about. He has gone all out to keep his administration's energy-legislation deliberations from public scrutiny.

Cast your mind back to the White House task force, led by Vice President Dick Cheney, that came up with the stalled Bush oil policy. Democrats complained that it met frequently with Enron and other energy executives but blew off environmental lobbyists. Bush and Cheney, sensitive to charges of being too close to the oil industry, clammed up.

That secrecy violated the Federal Advisory Committee Act, claimed the rightist Judicial Watch and the leftist Sierra Club as they sued for access. Cheney's lawyers dumped 30,000 pieces of wastepaper on them from around the bureaucracy, but not one memo produced by Cheney's group. Only federal officials were members of that task force, Bush lawyers argued, so advice from outside consultants is none of the public's business.

A federal court ruled against the stonewalling, and an appeals court let the ruling to allow discovery stand. But the administration escalated the case to "the president's constitutional authority to gather candid advice from his advisers" plus "fundamental separation of powers questions." Up it went to the Supreme Court.

This week the justices, who apparently have nothing better to do next year, agreed to hear the Cheney appeal. The administration's eagerness to slam the door in the snoopy public's face will now be argued before the high court during political primaries and probably decided in July, right before the issue-hungry Democratic political convention.

Are Republicans out of their collective mind? Why the hots to hide? A decade ago, Hillary Clinton tried to pull the same kind of wool over the people's eyes about her health care task force, but the D.C. appeals court ruled that her consultants were "de facto members" of the official group and stripped away the secrecy.

Remember how we raised the roof about all those phony executive privilege claims as Clinton lawyers tried to jam a cone of silence on top of Secret Service agents? Remember how we fought for the right of Paula Jones to subject the high and mighty to discovery? What is sauce for the Clintons is sauce for the Bushies...

and, of course, if there's anyone who knows all about presidents making specious privilege claims, it's Mr. Safire.

He worked for that one, though, so there was a loyalty issue involved.
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This is Lieberman after Gore's "rejection" gave his campaign a "jolt of life"



Hard to resist a candidate with this kind of infectious passion, no?
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Our Fearless Leader. How his views evolve.
The Iraqi people, the president asserted, "need to be very much involved" with Saddam's fate, since they were the ones who were brutalized during Saddam's rule. "He murdered them, he gassed them, he tortured them," Bush pointed out.

Nonetheless, the president maintained that the deposed dictator - who was discovered hiding in a hole and captured Dec. 13 by U.S. troops near Tikrit, Iraq - deserves a fair trial. Saddam's ultimate fate, Bush declared, "is going to be up to the Iraqis."

---

President Bush said Monday that he supported a public trial of Saddam Hussein, but said his "personal views" on whether the death penalty would be an appropriate sentence for the captured former Iraqi leader did not matter.

"There needs to be a public trial," the president told a press conference. "And all the atrocities must come out, and justice must be delivered."

---

Saddam Hussein will face a public trial in a manner that will win world approval and be "very much" determined by the Iraqi people, President Bush said Monday.

"We will work with the Iraqis to develop a way to try him that will withstand international scrutiny," Bush told a press conference. "There needs to be a public trial, and all the atrocities need to come out, and justice needs to be delivered."

Bush said precise charges to be filed against the Iraqi dictator who held power for almost 24 years before his government fell April 9 in the face of a U.S.-led invasion "will be decided by the lawyers"

Bush declined to specify if the indictment should include the 1990 invasion of Kuwait or Saddam's 1993 plot to assassinate the president's father, President George H.W. Bush, who lead the global coalition that defeated Iraq in the 1991 Persian Gulf War.

The president also refused to say if he supports Saddam's execution, saying that his personal opinion doesn't matter - Iraqis should make that choice.

---

US President George W. Bush has cast aside a reluctance to suggest a suitable punishment for Saddam Hussein, saying the former dictator should be executed.

"Let's just see what penalty he gets but I think he ought to receive the ultimate penalty," Mr Bush said yesterday.

"This is a disgusting tyrant who deserves justice, the ultimate justice."

The White House confirmed the President meant the death penalty.

---

President Bush will support the execution of Saddam Hussein.

"He is a torturer, a murderer, and they had rape rooms, and this is a disgusting tyrant who deserves justice, the ultimate justice," Mr Bush said in a TV interview last night.

A White House spokesman later confirmed that the President was referring to the death penalty.

Mr Bush also said Saddam's fate will be decided "not by the President of the United States, but by the citizens of Iraq in one form or another".

I understand that nothing, not justice or the security of the United States or terrorism or the future of the world, is more important to George W. Bush than strutting on the world stage.

That said, since Saddam is being tried before our hand-picked coalition with no input from the Iraqi people, you would think he would have picked up the phone and told them the outcome he wanted directly.

He's not getting a trial in the Hague, the UN isn't getting a crack at him, and we aren't allowing the Iraqi people to vote at this point.

Did he absolutely have to make it perfectly clear to the arab world that he's decided what the outcome of the trial is already?
'Let the jury consider their verdict,' the King said, for about the twentieth time that day.

'No, no!' said the Queen. 'Sentence first - verdict afterwards.'

wow

Dec. 17th, 2003 03:20 pm
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shorter Peggy Noonan
The Pope won't say it out loud because he's really a politically correct guy who's reluctant to offend people over moral questions, but he just loved Mel Gibson's new movie, according to the producer of that movie, who violated the Pope's confidence to me personally.

Also, the Pope is not familiar with the bible and is unaware that one of the books the movie was based on was on the index, and the other got its author derailed from beatification. He's not really into doctrinal politics.

*preen*

Dec. 17th, 2003 03:48 pm
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I've never really had much time to be one of Those moms while I was working, so I am thoroughly chuffed to announce that Mrs. O'Connor's class of eight year olds decimated the double recipe of rosemary, roasted garlic and white pepper focaccia bread.

I believe I can resist the impulse to dig up the pearls and vacuum.
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