Democratic Underground

Blog Box

February 17, 2006
Compiled and written by Delilah Boyd

Beating The Bushes

Are you suffering from scandal fatigue? Me either. Osama who? ET planned to attack Los Angeles? Brownie bites back? A 40-minute Katrina response transcript gap? Libby was only following orders? Neocons starting the cartoon war? And what could possibly trump this week's BushCo blunders? Hint: It beats a hole in the... never mind.

Scandal Fatigue?

Sure, if you're a card-carrying Republican afraid that the liberal majority in America will finally figure out that 65% is a greater number than 35%. Sure, if you're a Republican running for office this year. Sure, if you're a Young Republican, banking on a lucrative career in Republican dirty tricks. And what's the Rovian way to fight scandal fatigue? Confound and confuse, of course: turn ignoring the law, stomping on the U.S. Constitution, and every other sleazy act into a public opinion issue.

Be careful what you wish for, Rove. Three BushCo scandals dominated the blogosphere (as well as the corporate-owned media) this week, and the overseas release of the new torture photos is rapidly rising in the charts... with a bullet.

Peter Daou zeroes in on that Scandal Fatigue meme:

This coincides with a recent wave of references to the "angry" left, as though anger at the apathy of the media, the political establishment and much of the public in the face of this cavalcade of scandals is somehow in bad taste.

Take a look:

Ex-CIA Official Faults Use of Data on Iraq
Paper: White House Knew About Levees Early
McClellan Confronted With Abramoff Emails
Waas's New Scoop: Cheney 'Authorized' Libby to Leak Classified Information
Chief FISA judge warned about misuse of NSA spy data
House majority leader's landlord is a lobbyist
Republican Who Oversees N.S.A. Calls for Wiretap Inquiry
Bush's Budget Tricks
John Dickerson Speaks...And Drops Some Plamegate Bombshells
Bush's Social Security Sleight of Hand
Tom DeLay to Oversee Justice Department

Each of these stories constitutes a full-blown crisis that would have caused a massive firestorm for any other administration. But a cursory glance at the online editions of national papers and news outlets as well as a scan of the major cable news nets would lead you to believe that the most important piece of news today is that a British man accused of killing his wife and child will return to the US to face trial.

If the Bush administration's motto is "Confound and Confuse," this week was one for the books. Less than an hour after I submitted last week's Blog Box, George W. Fearmonger marched out to tell a private audience that intelligence (cough) analysts believed that Independence Day aliens terrorists planned to attack the Liberty (sic) Tower in Los Angeles. Daily Dissent writes:

Switcheroo! Our pResident has just told an audience how the war on terror prevented an attack in Los Angeles by the very guy who organized 9-11, Khalid Sheik Mohammed.

(snip)

Funny, I always thought Bush told us that Osama planned the 9-11 attack, but notice that part about "Khalid Sheik Mohammed, the alleged mastermind of the Sept. 11 attacks who was captured". Didn't we invade Afghanistan to get Osama Bin Laden because he was the guy behind the attacks? Didn't we invade Iraq partly because Saddam Hussein had 'supported' Osama Bin Laden - the guy behind the attacks?

Of course, this "we foiled a terrorist attack" crapfest was debunked six ways to Sunday (Pensito Review hacks it to death with facts and logic) and disappeared down the Bush Humiliation Rabbit Hole, but not before FOX News aired the Independence Day aliens-blast-the-Library Tower video. Media Matters has the FOX video, and CanOFun has the video of John McLaughlin's (The McLaughlin Report) most excellent smackdown of Bush's Shoe Bomb Media Stunt. Naturally, BushCo needs a change of underwear subject matter; however, I don't think this is what they had in mind...

Brownie Bites Back

Josh Marshall (Talking Points Memo) notes:

If you aren't watching the Michael Brown senate hearings, you just missed a real treat. Sen. Norm Coleman (R), doofus senator from Minnesota, just managed to get his butt kicked by disgraced former FEMA Director Michael Brown. That's a singular accomplishment.

Thankfully, Crooks and Liars has the video. Surely, things couldn't get any worse for the Bush administration! Or could they?

Take 2: The Chertoff Response

Hmm. Chertoff "takes responsibility," but he's not stepping down. End of story? Not hardly. There's a 40-minute conference call transcript "missing" from the documents provided by BushCo officials to the U.S. Senate committee investigating the government's Hurricane Katrina response - a Nixonian "gap" which could explain the government's position as the storm made landfall. The Katrina Coverage blog is your go-to site for everything you need to know about Hurricane Katrina, but the media hasn't covered and won't cover at all.

Still not feeling the scandal fatigue? Me either.

Scooter Libby Fingers Dick Cheney in CIA Leak

Oh, Scooter! How could you? American Progress presents Libby's Cheney-blaming Nuremberg Defense in a neat little bullet-points package:

These revelations spell trouble not just for Libby, but Dick Cheney and the Bush administration.

* Libby's revelations do not excuse him from legal jeopardy. The excuse "my boss told me to do it" does not mean that Libby is immune from criminal charges.

--snip--

* These new revelations establish a motive for Libby. The new information released helps to explain why Libby would risk perjury before the grand jury.

--snip--

* New revelations prompt more questions about the administration's role in the CIA leak case. With the new revelations come more questions about who else in the administration was actually involved in the outing of a CIA agent.

Who else was involved? Don't forget to check Think Progress's nifty list, "23 Administration Officials Involved In Plame Leak." The page has been updated and now includes photos of each perp Bush administration official. Yikes! What could possibly blast this story off the airwaves?

The Cruel Cartoon War Is Raging...

...and Ann Coulter has enlisted. Her target? Not anti-Muslim cartoonists. Not even "Old Europe." Her target is Ted Rall. Should Rall sue Coulter for libel? Duh. Ted has already raised some serious cash from his readers, but he'll need quite a chunk of change to take on the queen of the damnable. Ann says: "Iran is soliciting cartoons on the Holocaust. So far, only Ted Rall, Garry Trudeau, and the NY Times have made submissions." Ted blogs: "She lied. I have not submitted anything to any Iranian publication. I have no intention of doing so. And I have said that in public, repeatedly."

Sidebar Note: Coulter is either one of those people she claims is "too stupid to vote," or she intentionally committed voter fraud in Florida. Heli's Heaven and Hell Radio has the felonious particulars.

Also of note in the cartoon war is the resurfacing of neocon, Daniel Pipes. Sartre at Neocon Watch quotes John Sugg:

So, let's look at the guy who started this whole cartoon escapade. He's Flemming Rose, the cultural editor of the Danish newspaper. In all of the Lexis-Nexis database of stories from the American media on the Mohammed cartoons, there is absolutely no mention of the fact that Rose is a close confederate of arch-Islamophobe Daniel Pipes. Indeed, there is almost no context at all about Rose's newspaper. Only a brief mention in the Washington Post gave a hint at a fact desperately needed to understand the situation.

Interesting, isn't it, that our corporate-owned media jumped into the cartoon war without investigating or reporting on the American Republican party roots of this issue? Quick, Deadeye Dick! Create a diversion!

Dick Gets His Historical Asterisk Kicked

Vice President Richard Cheney*, shot his friend Harry Whittington, the grandfather of the Texas GOP, in a post-CSI world. (Note: CSI Crime Scene Investigation is the top TV show in the world, and forensic science programs are now harder to get into than the mind of Laura Bush's clothing designer.)

We all know the routine: secure the scene, interview all witnesses for conflicting accounts, determine definitively if alcohol and drugs were contributing factors, and collect and process the evidence. Anything less, and our CSI-savvy nation cries fowl foul.

You think I'm kidding? Brainshrub is all over the hunting accident forensic algebra:

Here's the math adjusted for a the diameter of the area that was hit for both a regular 28 gauge rifle cylinder AND an improved cylinder*:

Cylinder: = 1 pellet/17.98 inches sq. @ 40 yds.
((1/2.8)/(1/17.98)) = 17.98/2.8 = 6.421 times closer
40 yd./6.421 = 6.23 yd.

Improved Cylinder: = 1pellet/21.58 inches sq.@ 40 yards.
((1/2.8)/(1/21.58))= 21.58/2.8 = 7.707 times closer
40 yd./7.707 = 5.19 yd.

Cylinder: Target was 6.23 yards away.

Improved Cylinder: Target was 5.19 yards away.

Conclusion: If this was an accident or a quick swing such that the target was caught with the edge of the pattern, then the target was within 5 to 10 yards when he was shot, maybe less, possibly a little more.

Dick Cheney came within a few inches of blowing Whittington's head off...

The Smoking Gun has the official accident report, which contains fewer facts than the Jon Stewart video treatise (courtesy of CanOfun). Other bloggers, like Alan Dershowitz at The Huffington Post, point out that Cheney really had nothing to lose by delaying a public announcement:

A simple cost/benefit analysis suggests that he (or those advising him) must have believed that there was more to be gained than lost by a 14 hour delay that would eventually be made public. It is likely, therefore, that something happened during that 14 hour period which was worth the negative costs of the delay.

What is the most likely thing to happen during a 14 hour delay that is worth the negative publicity? One possibility is that it takes approximately that period of time for alcohol to dissipate in the body and no longer be subject to accurate testing.

--snip--

What was Cheney doing just before he went hunting? Did anyone in the hunting party have a drink?

Why, yes, Alan. "President Vice" Cheney finally admitted to Brit Hume (four days later) that he had "a beer" at lunch, but there was no mention of the brazillion heart medications we know The Vice takes daily, or any inkling of alcohol-related contraindications. (Hey, it really is a post-CSI world!)

Any way you look at this story, it stinks. And the stink grows stronger every day. So far, BarbinMD at Daily Kos has compiled the best list of facts on the ground, but there are still several holes (pun intended) in the official timeline and testimony of all concerned:

  • Lunch" was an afternoon picnic, which ended around 4:00, when the hunting party recommenced
  • Where's Ambassador Willeford and why hasn't she made an official statement?
  • Who were the bush beaters (hired hands to clean up the kill spots and wring the necks of the surviving floppers) and did they sanitize the scene of the accident poste haste?
  • Were they even interviewed by local authorities?

The 50,000 acre Armstrong Ranch doesn't run itself, y'all. And Kenedy County only has 414 residents, most of whom know who puts food on the county's table. Consequently, we may never learn what really happened last Saturday. When all is said and done, however, we learned definitively this week that George W. Bush is not in charge... or as the children say, he's not the boss of Dick Cheney. That in itself is significant, if only because the media is finally acknowledging a simple fact most of us have known since the 2000 presidential election campaign.

Scandal fatigue? Not bloody likely. There are many more bushes to beat, and we're just getting started.

(* the second U.S. Vice President to shoot a man while in office.)

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