Thursday, November 24, 2005

Selling War

Recent news about so-called Iraqi defectors providing bogus information about Saddam Hussein's "hidden" weapons of mass destruction has demonstrated more vividly than ever that, far from being an activity willingly engaged in by "patriots," war increasingly has to be sold. What's new in our time is that, like everything else these days, the selling of war has now been privatized, so that salesmen can profit from it.

Consider the case of Adnan Ihsan Saeed al-Haideri. It is not simply that al-Haideri, like the more notorious "Curveball," told lies about biological and nuclear weapons hidden in Iraq. Nor is it that the Bush administration adopted al-Haideri's fictions as gospel and peddled them to the American people to justify their already-planned invasion. As James Bamford points out in a recent article in Rolling Stone Magazine, al-Haideri was a product of a CIA/Pentagon operation designed to create the propaganda needed to convince the American people to go to war. Worse, the operation was run by a private propaganda firm run by one John Rendon under contract to the American government. Rendon's job--worth $16 million for this one task--was to "target Iraq and other adversaries with propaganda." The government calls this "perception management." What it amounts to is sophisticated lying. Rendon has been doing this since he virtually created the Iraqi National Congress out of whole cloth. With al-Haideri (whom the CIA knew, from its own lie-detector tests, to be telling lies) Rendon's propaganda efforts reached new heights. He succeeded, along with the willing liars at the top of the Bush administration, in misleading an entire nation into war.

In short, thousands of American men and women (not to mention innocent Iraqis) have been induced to engage in the most lethal form of human endeavor, sacrificing their lives and limbs under the illusion of fighting for their country's survival, based on a set of lies knowingly produced under contract to the United States government!

If that is not grounds for the impeachment of the President, the Vice-President, the Secretary of Defense, the Director of the CIA, and anyone else found to have colluded in this deadly deception, I do not know what is.

Note: The James Bamford Rolling Stone article courtesy of Common Dreams News Center and Rolling Stone Magazine.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Iraq Exit Plan: Why We Need to Know

We come to the season
To search for a reason
To ride that horse
And stay the course
While riding from rack to ruin
In Iraq’s countless sand dunes

Yesterday, in a meeting in Egypt, the three major factions of Iraqis have concluded that we need to set a timetable to leave Iraq. All this comes when the President is testing new lows in the polls. Moderate Republicans are breaking ranks and refusing to be seen with Bush, the living model of insanity who on seeing failure through death after death in Iraq, sternly announces that he is “staying the course.” Bush provides the rationale that to announce an end date would provide too much information to the enemy. As we have written in the past, the impact of that information on the enemy is far less than it is on our own troops. Apparently, King George is the only one who doesn’t get it.

Our own troops need to know how to plan the combat operations and the supporting logistics. They need to know how to plan their personal lives. This same information, even if made public, is hardly “actionable intelligence” as we like to term information that will support a raid or an attack. The obvious countermeasures include training Iraqis and stationing a strike force in Kuwait as well as providing a step-by-step process to protect the diminishing troop numbers.

If we knew when we were leaving Iraq, we could set performance goals for the development of the infrastructure and then break down those goals into achievable objectives in water purification and delivery; petroleum production, school and road construction, hospital activation and staffing, etc.

If we knew when we were leaving Iraq, we could prepare job programs and training programs for returning veterans. If we knew when we were leaving Iraq, we could budget for domestic programs with greater certainty. If we knew when we were leaving Iraq, we could plan the recuperation of our armed forces and homeland defense. If we knew when we were leaving Iraq, we could select the champagne and get a better price.


Monday, November 21, 2005

Congressman Jack Murtha: Hero of the Week

Congressman Jack Murtha (D-12-Pennsylvania) finally had enough and last week and he lashed out at the Bush Administration's handling of the war in Iraq. The former decorated Vietnam War veteran said, “It’s a flawed policy, wrapped in illusion.”

Ray McGovern, a former CIA analyst, writing in describes the White House dilemma splendidly. It seems ten battalion commanders briefed various senators last week and the picture they painted is not too pretty and one that does not conform to the "official" White House spin. McGovern said:
The Army and Marine commanders reportedly were chosen for their experience on the battlefield rather than in the political arena. Battalion commanders represent the crucial link between operations and strategy and, as a group, are ideally positioned to deliver a reality check to Congress. They are at once close to their troops, responsible for implementing the strategy in Iraq, and, at the same time, somewhat insulated from the civilians in the Pentagon.
So their credentials are impeccable. They told the senators not only that they needed more troops, but that their repeated requests had been “turned down flat.” The battalion commanders indicated that, as a result, their units had to “leapfrog” around Iraq to keep insurgents from going back into towns that had been cleared by U.S. forces. They added that there are never enough explosive experts to deal with the roadside bombs responsible for the majority of U.S. casualties.
So what do the Republicans do: they call Congressman Murtha unpatriotic. Can you believe it? But a tough Marine like Murtha, who served in the Marines for 37 years, won two purple hearts in Vietnam among other awards, and retired as a Colonel, won’t let snides like the ones we heard all weekend long go unchallenged.

Murtha fired back:

I like guys who've never been there that criticize us who've been there. I like that. I like guys who got five deferments and never been there and send people to war, and then don't like to hear suggestions about what needs to be done.
Even Senator Chuck Hagel (R-Nebraska), a firm critic of the war and how the Administration blew it from the get-go, got in on the action. He added:

I think historians will look back on this day and will say this was a turning point.

Friday, November 18, 2005

Post Special Election View: All Elections are Partisan

When I was in a Catholic Seminary, I remember our professors challenging our ability to think deeper about the subject matter. They did this largely by making distinctions using Latin expressions, many of which are used in our English language today.

My most vivid memory of those distinctions was in the use of the words de jure and de facto. De jure referred to the literal meaning while de facto referred to the reality.

In applying this to so-called non-partisan elections, the de facto reality is that there is no such thing as non-partisan elections. Republican and Democratic political clubs exist to elect party members to both partisan and non-partisan offices. As the former Speaker of Congress, Tip O’Neal (D-Massachusetts) said, “All politics are local,” and Democrats follow the dictum, “Think globally, act locally.”

There are many types of local elections across the country that are referred to as non-partisan. These include city councils, water boards, boards of supervisors and school boards to name a few. For political parties, these local offices serve in a fashion like farm clubs do for baseball. Parties move their candidates up. Thus, local Republican Don Knabe went from Cerritos City Council to run for the California State Senate (which he lost) and then ran and won a spot on the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors. Democrat Rudy Bermudez went from the Norwalk-La Mirada School Board to the Norwalk City Council to the California State Assembly. Today he is running for the California Senate.

Elected officials, once in office, have far reaching influence and power because they appoint individuals to national, state, regional, city and county boards, commissions and special districts. In addition, their staffs are mostly made up of people from their own political party.

As you can see, there is a huge ripple effect created when locally elected Republican office holder shave the power to appoint like-minded, doctrinaire right-wingers to serve so many public functions. Congressman Tom Delay (R-Texas) has made no secret that he wants Republicans elected in all the so-called non-partisan offices.

By way of example, the staff and appointees of Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors Gloria Molina and Yvonne B. Burke are made up of mostly Democrats. I would venture to say that the staff and appointees of Supervisor Don Knabe are more than 90% Republican, the most notable exception being the appointment of Alex Beanum, the former Mayor of Cerritos.

An elected public official has an awesome responsibility in forming public policy and working for the common good, not just the special interests. People belong to a political party because they see their party’s core beliefs as better bringing about the common good. In that sense, candidates from the other party are political opponents. Political opponents can be friends on a personal basis. However, to cross party lines because of friendship is, in my opinion, to sell out one’s personal beliefs as to which party best serves the common good.

Saying over and over that an election is “non-partisan” does not de facto make it true. If you are a Democratic public official in a non-partisan office (read: could it be you?) it’s not valid to say that “so-and-so” of the opposite party supported me and therefore I must support them even though we are adversaries when it comes to political beliefs.

Remember, de facto, there is no such thing as a non-partisan race.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Garamendi v. Speier: Will there be Fireworks?

Look for a great and interesting California Senate Insurance Committee Oversight meeting on Monday, November the 21st. The chair of the committee is Jackie Speier (D-8-San Francisco) and testifying is Insurance Commissioner John Garamendi who, along with Sen. Speier is running for Lt. Governor in 2006. The hearing should be broadcast on the California Channel. It should be an interesting day.

John Garamendi is a well-known political brand name in California. He came to the attention of Californians statewide when he first captured the commissioner's post in 1990. He gave it up in 1994 when he made an unsuccessful bid to become the Democratic candidate for governor of California. His also worked for the Clinton Administration as deputy secretary of the Interior in 1995 and has also worked in private investment in California.

Conventional wisdom says that John Garamendi has the best shot at this race due to name recognition and the ability to raise the money. And he is also tremendously charismatic and is known for his hard work on the campaign trail.

[Update]: 11/19/05 The California State Senate Banking and Senate Committee will meet on Monday at 10:00am and it will be televised on the California Channel. Be there or be square.

To visit John Garamendi’s web site visit here.

To visit Jackie Speier’s web site visit here.

Image © by Lou Delgado, SpotLight Public Relations & Photography.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Arrogance of Power: Tom DeLay

"Power tends to corrupt; absolute power corrupts absolutely."
  • Lord John Dalberg-Acton (British historian 1834-1902)

    According to the Washington Post Tom “Ratman” DeLay ratted on himself when he met Texas prosecutor Ronnie Earle.

    R. Jeffrey Smith in the Post writes:
    The last-minute negotiations between the lawyers and Texas prosecutor Ronnie Earle were arranged after DeLay made what Earle considered a seriously damaging admission about his fundraising activities during an Aug. 17 meeting with the prosecutor in Austin.

    At that session, DeLay acknowledged that in 2002 he was informed about and expressed his support for transfers of $190,000 in mostly corporate funds from his Texas political action committee to an arm of the Republican National Committee in Washington and then back to Texas, according to the sources, who spoke on the condition that they not be named.

    Sounds like Delay admitted to knowing about the money laundering. According to Texas law it is unlawful for corporations to donate money in election campaigns. So what DeLay admitted is that his PAC, Texans for a Republican Majority aka as TRMPAC, went around the law by hitting up corporations to the tune of $190,000. He then sent the cash to the RNC, who turned around and sent the loot back to local Texas candidates. It sounds like a classic case of money laundering.

    The moral of the story is that when you amass such power as DeLay has the last couple of years you begin to think you are invincible. That type of hubris will bring down Delay and the sooner the better.
  • Saturday, November 12, 2005

    The Neo-Con Spin Machine: In Action Once Again

    Selling out the White Shack
    To the highest bidder
    Chalabi’s back in town
    And he’s such a kidder
    But wearing such a frown
    King George has lost his crown
    And his gold is turning brown

    Karl Rove, despite his chores explaining Treasongate to prosecutor Fitzgerald is surely the mind behind the VP coming out of his undisclosed location. Cheney laid a wreath to honor those he has dishonored with his insistence on going to war with lies that he personally emphasized. The neo-con Jinn has taken a back row to get King George out in front in the attack on “Democrats and others” who are questioning the candor of the White House. Somebody please put him back into the bottle.

    Perhaps the most bizarre element is that the badly burned Bush is claiming that everybody had the same intelligence and that the investigation on intelligence exonerated him for forcing bad interpretation. Most civics teachers would claim that the Judiciary and the Legislature don’t do intelligence and that there is a branch of government charged with that responsibility, his. Cheney’s old golfing buddy, Ahmed Chalabi now claims that he didn’t provide bad intel and he is not a mole for Iran. Perhaps that means that the press and VP were merely incompetent and not guilty of cooking the intelligence, but it sure smells like cooked intelligence. Sorry, George, you are the elected leader of the executive branch assigned that unique role and the ignorance excuse will not bring back the thousands of American soldiers we have lost nor the uncounted thousands of Iraqis killed in strife both civil and uncivil.

    Condi Rice is trying to get the Iraqi factions to stop killing each other and has set out to scold them. It is a pity that she did not see this coming because the rest of the world did before her blathering about a “mushroom cloud” got in the way of her analysis.

    This George is about to twist the motto that described the first president. This George is becoming last in war; last in peace and last in the hearts of his countrymen. The polls are down. Attack and rally the Right, George. They are moving to the Center!


    Friday, November 11, 2005

    Election Evening: Party at the Biltmore Hotel

    I spent last Tuesday, election evening, with my Democratic friends celebrating our incredible victory in California's Special Election. The Democratic Party is on the move. I just wished the Congressional elections were held that day as well, because I'm confident that we Dems could have taken back the Senate, if not the House of Representatives. The mood across the country is vastly different today than it was a year ago, and the Republicans have only themselves to blame: on the national and the state level.

    The photo above (right to left) is of future District #41 Assemblymember Kelly Hayes-Raitt (Santa Monica, and way beyond), Assemblymember Cindy Montañez (D-39-San Fernando), and Senator Gil Cedillo (D-22-Los Angeles).

    The second photo, below the first, is a snap that reflects the energy that was present at the Biltmore Hotel in Downtown Los Angeles. Democratic activists certainly worked hard in the Special Election, but in the end: we did it! Sí se puede Californians.

    To visit Ms. Kelly Hayes-Raitt campaign web site, please click here. Please donate to her campaign. Even a small amount is chevere!

    Images © by Lou Delgado, SpotLight Public Relations & Photography.

    Thursday, November 10, 2005

    Arnold v. the California Voters

    We at Team Splinters bring you another poignant retort from the Sacramento Bee's political cartoonist: Rex Babin. Yes, it seems the bubble burst on the Governator. He even admitted today that if he could go back in time, like he did in the Terminator films, he would tell himself "not" to hold the Special Election. No kiddin'. He spent 70 million dollars on a foolish ploy. Governance is about compromise, and the so-called "special interests" are at the heart of pluralism.

    Wednesday, November 09, 2005

    California Elections: Just Say No

    Yesterday Governator Schwarzenegger forced the state of California to needlessly spend 50 million dollars on 8 Propositions Californians wanted nothing to do with. It’s said by political scientists that the issues are so complex voters rely on “cues” from people and groups they trust in order to make “rational” choices. And therein lies the problem. “Cues” are simply not enough. Voters, en masse, not only voted the Propositions that irked Democrats and unions, but they voted down two pro-consumer Propositions: No. 79 and 80.

    Proposition 79 would have created a drug discount program that required participation of drug manufacturers. It would have meant steep discounts for seniors, families, small businesses, and the State. The State would have saved millions of dollars, and California consumers would have received cheaper prescription drugs.

    Proposition 80 was a common-sense consumer initiative that could have helped the energy blackouts we faced a few years ago and prevented the horrendous fraud committed by unregulated energy producers like Enron and others.

    Yet, the “cues” that the voters heard was that the Democratic Party, the nurses, the police and firefighters, and teachers were fighting the governor by “just saying no.” And no they voted across the board. It’s a shame because Propositions 79 and 80 were consumer-friendly initiatives. Well, there is always next year.

    And, I love what Assembly Speaker Fabian Núñez, (D-Los Angeles) said after yesterday's election:
    We want a true partnership that gets things done and leaves no Californian behind. That begins with civility, no more cheap shots, no more name calling, no more dropping the grenade on the Legislature about your priorities.

    In the political cartoon above, Rex Babin, who draws for the Sacramento Bee, gets it right. The Propositions, much like in Arnold’s film The Terminator, marched slowly to death yesterday.

    Tuesday, November 08, 2005

    Special Election Day in California, USA

    Today is Special Election day in California. In a supposed drive to “reform” California politics Governator Schwarzenegger could not wait seven months and put the Propositions he strongly backs in next year’s Primary Elections held in June. He did this of course, not for any sense of urgency, but pure Machiavellian politics. It’s pretty much a certainty that voter turnout is remarkably low in off year elections (on Tuesday it is expected to be 42% of eligible voters). And this is historically true of Democratic Party voters. In fact, in an article in the Los Angeles Times by Robert Salladay, “[Schwarzenegger’s] campaign strategy relies on relatively few people showing up [on] Tuesday and large segments of voters staying home.” In addition, he has forced his opposition, the labor unions, to spend millions of dollars fighting his power grab, thereby weakening the unions financially in the political battles to come next year. Very smart politics in many ways. However, as the old adage says, “Be careful what you wish for.” The polls predict most, if not all, of the Propositions he backs are going down in flames. Whatever political capital he had, has now evaporated.

    In general I read the Los Angeles Times to keep me informed about what is happening in this state and elsewhere in the world. The work of Patt Morrison, Jean Pasco, Jean Merl, Steve Lopez, Robin Abcarian, among others, is top notch.

    The following is a take from Patt Morrison and Steve Lopez on Tuesday’s, Special Election:
    Patt Morrison: Can we please stop calling it a special election? It’s not. It’s marriage counseling. Almost every measure on Tuesday’s ballot represents a breakdown, a failure of California institutions to work things out with their significant others: governor and legislature, public unions and governor, business and legislature. So they come to us voters for help, these troubled couples.

    Steve Lopez: We all knew California politics could get wacky, but I think it’s fair to say we’re outdoing ourselves this time…. You’ve heard of democracy run amok? This would be direct democracy run amok, and if Schwarzenegger prevails, I believe California would officially become a banana republic…I can’t think of a better reason to stop everything you’re doing [on] Tuesday, get off your duff, and run---don’t walk---to the polls, where your mission is clear as never before: Vote early and often.

    Saturday, November 05, 2005

    Lalo Alcaraz: Chicano Political Cartoonist

    Syndicated award winning editorial cartoonist, Lalo Alcaraz, is well known for capturing the angst felt in the Chicano and Latino community. As such, he brings a breath of fresh air to many of the editorial pages across the country: New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Variety, et al. In fact, Acaraz is the only political cartoonist that draws a Latino-themed comic strip (La Cucaracha). Alcaraz has worked for the alternative LA Weekly since 1992 and originated cartoons for La Opinion, America's oldest Español newspaper. He was born in Tijuana, Mexico and raised in San Diego. He graduated from San Diego State and received his Bachelor Degree in Art.

    In the above cartoon Alcaraz has lost all faith in Bush, calling his presidency a "lame duck" Administration, and this only ten months after he barely won re-election. I lie badly: Alcaraz never had any faith in the "Shrub" Administration.

    To visit La Cucaracha web-site please see here.

    To read an interview of Lalo Alcaraz written by Andrea Almond (AP) visit here.

    To visit Cartoonista the web site devoted to Alcaraz's editorial cartoons visit here.

    Friday, November 04, 2005

    "Cues" in California’s Special Election: Working the Latino Community

    The Special Election is coming up in California next Tuesday, November the 8th. The Guvernator’s job approval rating according to a recent Los Angeles Times Poll stand at a measly 40% so it seems the momentum is on the side of the Democratic Party and their allies and that is a positive sign for Democrats because according to studies “ . . . partisanship is one of the best predictors of individual and county level votes on ballot measures.”

    In my recent posting “Initiatives: What Were the Progressive Thinking?” I discussed how citizens rely on what political scientists call “cues” when making their decisions on how to vote on propositions. Interesting commercials have been airing recently with very, very catching “cues.” One of the best I’ve seen that illustrates how “cues” are used is a commercial that airs on Univision.

    Univision is one of the Spanish media companies that serve the Latino population in America. One of its stations, KMEX-12 in Los Angeles has been airing an impressive "NO on Propositions 74, 75, 76, and 77" commercial. However, lets go back in history a bit and review Proposition 187 before discussing the commercial. In November 1994 the voters enacted 187 into law (although it was later overturned by the Courts). The goal of 187 was to prevent undocumented residents from receiving public aid. The campaign was bitter and then Governor Pete Wilson was at the forefront of the nasty campaign. Wilson became the most hated politician in the Latino community.

    Cut to the commercial: With a narrator in the background speaking about power grabs, we see a picture of Pete Wilson, then the photo morphs into a snap of Arnold Schwarzenegger. The commercial does this several times and then the narrator asks, “Do you trust these men?” Brilliant move. Chevere! I can just hear the chatter in Español across the Southland and a whole lot of cussin’.

    I predict a good Latino turnout in this Special Election and the votes ain’t going to the Gropernator.

    To read more about the Propositions in this Election visit here.

    To read more about Proposition 187, visit here.

    Thursday, November 03, 2005

    Bush’s Compartments of Morality

    The Right and George had a Fight
    Over Harry the judge to be
    The Right showed its might
    In a struggle for all to see
    But what do you think
    They stared at the Bush
    And he blinked
    And still his head’s in his tush
    Now we learn what it meant
    As we find his maze of compartments

    We have all recently witnessed bizarre White House maneuvers related to the extremism of the Bush administration. Bush is the man who says that he is not influenced by polls, at least when the polls are negative. The irony of Mad King George being stampeded into responding to the uproar of the right wing would be comical except for the fact of the President is a puppet on a string and that the string is not held by the majority of Americans, but a group of religious zealots who have a narrow view on morality that denounces abortion but does nothing to reduce the probability that an abortion would need to be considered by a woman. I have never met anyone who thought that abortions were good, but this country had 300,000 fewer abortions every year during the Clinton Administration than we do now. Of course, there was help putting women to work during the Clinton years, but that is not important. It is the principle. How can the right wing compartmentalize morality so narrowly that it ignores outcomes and foams over “principles?”

    Another painful example is the criminal behavior documented in the cover-up of the White House through the deliberate actions of Scooter Libby working for the Vice President. The right wing pundits including Max Boot and the usual suspects are attacking Joe Wilson, but not the illegal behavior of perjury or false statements. Again, they demonstrate elegant compartmentalization. Worse, there is no mention of the fact that this nation went to war under false pretenses and then blamed the CIA for intelligence despite the fact that the CIA discounted the 16 words the President put into the 2003 State of the Union in the prior October. Both Bush and Cheney praised Scooter for his service on his resignation and said nothing in condemnation of the behavior. They have watertight compartments.

    The clincher for me is that all this is a misdirection play to take the spotlight off the war that has hijacked our morality as a nation. The fact is that the war has no moral basis or even a practical basis to attack terrorists. The war has, instead, established a climate of death and destruction in a country that never attacked us and where President Hussein offered to accept exile instead of war (according to CNN and other sources today). The war has established a new climate where torture is de facto national policy and the President threatened to veto the funding of our Armed Services in order to not be held to the standards of our own field manuals and the Geneva Conventions. There were bin Laden terrorists in Afghanistan but we chose to invade Iraq. Meanwhile we attracted insurgents to Iraq and are averaging 3 US military deaths each day with no count of Iraqi civilians killed and we have enabled a Shiite theocracy much like Taliban we still fight in Afghanistan. Theocracy is bad in Afghanistan. It is good in Iraq?

    Incidentally, there is no motivation by our leaders to leave Iraq. Cheney’s stock options in Halliburton have increased about 14 fold since 2003. The Carlyle Group is profiting immensely and neither G.H.W. Bush nor the bin Ladens see conflict of interest issues in being profiteering Carlyle partners. These compartments of morality are failing our nation. Maybe it is time to flood the failing compartments to save the Ship of State.


    Wednesday, November 02, 2005

    Senator Harry Reid: Hero of the Week

    My new hero this week is Minority Leader and Senator Harry Reid (D-Nevada). As former Secretary of State Madeline Albright might have said, “He found his cojones.” Sen. Reid used the current Senate rules and procedurally moved that the Senate go into “closed session.” Clearly he wanted to make a bold statement to warn the nation that something has gone far astray in the workings of the Senate. Before he made his motion, Sen. Reid, on the dais in the Senate floor, said that the Republican Senators were beholding to the White House and, sub silentio, there is very little separation-of-powers.

    It seems twenty months ago the Democratic Senators were promised by Sen. Pat Roberts (R-Kansas), Chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee, a full investigation regarding our march to war with Iraq (Phase II). No investigation was forthcoming and the Senators were effectively stonewalled. What broke the camel’s back, however, was when forty Senators wrote President Bush expressing their concerns and requested information. What they received from the White House was not a response from the President as is protocol, but what seemed a form letter from an assistant named Candy Wolf. Talk about stupid moves.

    The response from Majority Leader Senator Bill Frist (R-Tennessee) was to throw a hissy fit and told the press he was metaphorically "slapped in the face." Good.

    Sen. Reid considers his action today as, "A victory for the American people."

    Tuesday, November 01, 2005

    War, Lies, and Videotape

    Lewis "Scooter" Libby, Vice-President Cheney's Chief of Staff, has now been indicted on five counts of perjury and obstruction of Justice. He has lied repeatedly in the Grand Jury investigation of the outing of CIA operative Valerie Plame, whose husband, Joseph Wilson, had the temerity to publicly challenge the Administration's case for war against Iraq.

    In one sense, this is a victory for those who have opposed this administration’s illegal war. But in another, the limiting of the indictment to one man's lies simply continues the cover-up of war crimes. That is because, for one, the best guess is that Libby will cop a guilty plea, thus avoiding a trial that could expose the real reason for his "obsession" with Joseph Wilson. The spin meisters are already hard at work saying that yes, Libby was powerful enough to have acted on his own in revealing Valerie Plame's identity to reporters. David Brooks on the 10/28 Newshour asserted exactly that.

    So what we had was an administration trying to cover up the Big Lie with the Little Lie. The only problem is that the Big Lie is preserved for all to see on videotape: the President, in his 2003 State of the Union Address saying that British intelligence has learned that Saddam Hussein has tried to purchase uranium from Africa; Vice-President Cheney asserting time and again the certainty that Saddam is building nuclear weapons; Condoleeza Rice indulging in that most fearsome imagery, the mushroom cloud, which her President repeats in a subsequent speech: we cannot wait for the smoking gun in the form of a mushroom cloud. All this and more were reprised in Maria Hinojosa's report on NOW the PBS News Magazine 10/28 edition. And what it demonstrates is that the most serious lie of all, leading a nation to unprovoked aggression on false pretenses, has been committed by the sitting President of the United States.

    This is why Joseph Wilson had to be stopped, had to be punished with the outing of his wife. To cover the Big Lie with the Little Lie. And of course, the Little Lie of little "Scooter" Libby is now said to be his alone--this generation’s lone gunman. Acting on his own volition, without the approval or knowledge of his boss, the Vice, or his bigger boss, the President, or the other key source who escaped indictment, the father of Bush lies, Karl Rove.

    It is the current Big Lie. To believe which, to believe that "Scooter" acted on his own at the risk destroying an entire presidency, is to reveal that one suffers (or the nation suffers collectively) from a cerebro-rectal inversion.

    [To read the transcript of Maria Hinojosa's report on NOW see here.]