Saturday, December 31, 2005

Word of the day

Down on the Ranch, President Wages War on the Underbrush

But brush clearing is dusty, it is exhausting (the president goes at it in 100 degree-plus heat), and it is earsplitting, requiring earplugs to dull the chain saw's buzz.



n 1: a formal expression of praise [syn: encomium, eulogy, panegyric, pean] 2: (ancient Greece) a hymn of praise (especially one sung in ancient Greece to invoke or thank a deity) [syn: pean]

Source: WordNet ® 2.0, © 2003 Princeton University

Friday, December 30, 2005

Covert CIA Program Withstands New Furor

"In the past, presidents set up buffers to distance themselves from covert action," said A. John Radsan, assistant general counsel at the CIA from 2002 to 2004. "But this president, who is breaking down the boundaries between covert action and conventional war, seems to relish the secret findings and the dirty details of operations."

Right. Bubble Boy probably has a set of green army guys that he arranges on his Oval Office desk and uses to direct the operations of the CIA.

The CIA has stuck with its overall approaches, defending and in some cases refining them. The agency is working to establish procedures in the event a prisoner dies in custody. One proposal circulating among mid-level officers calls for rushing in a CIA pathologist to perform an autopsy and then quickly burning the body, according to two sources.

Body? What body? You don't need a body when you have our autopsy report. Trust us. We only burn the bad people. CYA? No, you're mistaken, it's CIA.

"The executive branch will not pull back unless it has to," said a former Justice Department lawyer involved in the initial discussions on executive power. "Because if it pulls back unilaterally and another attack occurs, it will get blamed."

A proud, noble governing philosophy: It's not our fault. See how tough we are! Look at how tough we are! Every toenail that we pull shows how serious we are, and how Not Our Fault all of this is.

But after Sept. 11, four former government lawyers said, it was classified as an act of self-defense and therefore was not an assassination. "If it was an al Qaeda person, it wouldn't be an assassination," said one lawyer involved.


When the CIA wanted new rules for interrogating important terrorism suspects the White House gave the task to a small group of lawyers within the Justice Department's Office of Legal Counsel who believed in an aggressive interpretation of presidential power.


These lawyers have written legal justifications for holding suspects picked up outside Afghanistan without a court order, without granting traditional legal rights and without giving them access to the International Committee of the Red Cross.

CIA and Office of Legal Counsel lawyers also determined that it was legal for suspects to be secretly detained in one country and transferred to another for the purposes of interrogation and detention -- a process known as "rendition."

It's a shame that both branches of Congress are controlled by the opposition party to the President, otherwise he would have been able to change the law, rather than twist his lawyers in knots trying to justify his actions. Oh, wait a minute...

Thursday, December 29, 2005

Should old equivalence be forgot...

My '05 Hits and Misses

Broder puts together a navel-gazing year-end column, and this is the smelly lint that he picks out:

How do you match the trio of Republican misjudgments summoned up by the names Katrina, Harriet Miers and Terri Schiavo? How do you top the Democrats' decision to entrust their party leadership to that itinerant verbal blunderbuss, Howard Dean?

There is not a mathematical framework in existence that can explain how these matters are even remotely equivalent.

Schiavo - rank politicization of a difficult personal issue regarding a comatose woman's life, in which Lott performed his hocus-pocus diagnosis via video screen, and DeLay threatened judges with impeachment for ruling in a way that he didn't like.

Miers - Bubble Boy attempts to appoint a brown-nosing lightweight to the highest Court in the country, which I hear can issue some pretty important rulings, and then has her withdraw in embarrassment when his right wing decides that she is not right wing enough.

Katrina - the myth of Bubble Boy's leadership is torn and tattered and blown away with the wind, after the general public sees that his vacation is more important the response to a major disaster, and then sees that his PR attempts and photo ops are more important than the response to a major disaster, and then sees that he would prefer to blame the locals than actually respond to a major disaster.

Dean - in the position of head of a political party that controls no branch of federal government, Dean says stuff that causes faux outrage by Republican flaks.

Must ... have ... equivalence. Must ... criticize ... Democrats. Framework ... must ... be ... preserved.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Stand your ground!

Defense Lawyers in Terror Cases Plan Challenges Over Spy Efforts

[Trent Duffy, a spokesman for the White House] added: "The president believes that he has the authority - and he does - under the Constitution to do this limited program. The Congress has been briefed. It is fully in line with the Constitution and also protecting American civil liberties."

Where is the shift? It has been 9 days since the Bubble Boy King had his press conference where he said pretty much the same thing. Typically, the White House shifts their rationale after only two or three days. I assume they do this to keep the opposition off balance, and to contribute to the cacophony that will then cause the general public to tune out and switch over to American Idol.

Nine days without a shift. Is it just the holidays? Or is this where Bubble Boy and Go Fuck Yourself are making their last stand? "The president's authority is Supreme," or bust?

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Could someone hit rewind?

White House Press Room To Be Closed For Makeover

With the administration moving ahead with plans to renovate the dirty and decaying press room off the West Wing of the White House, spokesman Scott McClellan -- or his replacement, if he steps aside before then...

With Fitzgerald getting ready for round 2 of the indictments, Abramoff getting ready to sing like a canary, and most other Republicans of note with their own legal problems, the White House is considering the following for McClellan's replacement:

The Spokesbot 40

The continuous loop will contain some variation of the following phrase:

"For me to even respond to that question would force me to talk about an ongoing investigation and legal proceeding, and we've been directed not to do that."