Saturday, April 29, 2006

Early Birthday Gift!!!

My birthday isn't until next week but it looks like I got an early present ... but I won't be happy until this clown is behind bars and serving hard time for commiting this drug offence!!!:

Rush Limbaugh arrested on prescription fraud charges

Chrystian Tejedor

April 28, 2006, 6:15 PM EDT

WEST PALM BEACH -- Conservative commentator Rush Limbaugh on Friday turned himself into the Palm Beach County Jail to face a charge of fraud for concealing information to obtain a prescription.

He was quickly released after posting $3,000 bond, jail officials said. Prosecutors alleged that Limbaugh violated the state's "doctor shopping" law by getting four doctors to write overlapping prescriptions and failing to tell them about each other. Limbaugh, who pleaded not guilty, struck an agreement with the Palm Beach County State Attorney's Office that calls for the charge to be dropped in 18 months provided that Limbaugh continues to seek treatment from the doctor he has seen for the past 2 1/2 years and must refrain from breaking the law during that period, Limbaugh's attorney, Roy Black, said in a statement.

Limbaugh also will pay $30 per month for the cost of supervision and will pay the state $30,000 to help offset the cost of the investigation into the doctor-shopping allegations.

Prosecutors previously were investigating prescriptions that Limbaugh received from Florida and California doctors between March 2003 and September 2003, when he allegedly picked up 1,733 hydrocodone, 90 OxyContin, 50 Xanax and 40 time-release morphine pills.

In 2003, Wilma Cline, Limbaugh's former housekeeper and her handyman husband, David, gave the Palm Beach County State Attorney's Office copies of e-mails and taped phone messages documenting what they allege became Limbaugh's 30-pill-a-day drug habit.

Wilma Cline told The National Enquirer that she began funneling to Limbaugh some of her husband's hydrocodone supply, prescribed after David Cline fell when a pull-down ladder snapped apart, injuring his neck, knees and hand in March 1988. After those prescriptions dried up, Wilma Cline found another drug source for Limbaugh, she told the tabloid, getting him at one point 11,900 pills in a four month period in 2001.

After the Clines' story broke, Limbaugh acknowledged on his nationally syndicated radio program that he was addicted to painkillers, and took a 30-day leave of absence to try to kick the habit."

I want you to know I'm no role model. I refuse to let anyone think I'm doing something heroic here, something great here. I'm not a victim. I'm not going to portray myself as a victim. I take full responsibility for this problem," Limbaugh told his listeners in October 2003.

Limbaugh also told listeners that day that he had twice checked into rehabilitation clinics over the past half-dozen years in an effort to break his addiction and would do so again immediately. .
Copyright © 2006, South Florida Sun-Sentinel

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Too Funny ... But, Sad


Rev. Moon's Conjugal Visitations

By John Gorenfeld, AlterNet
Posted on April 17, 2006, Printed on April 25, 2006

Among the trendier gripes about why liberals lack power in American politics is that there isn't enough tolerance for America's faithful. A big problem, Rabbi Michael Lerner recently sighed, is that "the Left's hostility to religion and spirituality has become such a major stumbling block to the chances that progressive forces will ever win enough power" to make a difference. So the new advice, from Hillary Clinton to the New Republic's Gregg Easterbrook, is: Stop making snickering remarks at Jerry Falwell's expense. Cheer the innovation of $2 billion in federal tax money carted off to religious groups last year. Drag the "Left Behind" series into your Amazon shopping cart.

And listen, I should add, to the Reverend Sun Myung Moon, owner of the conservative mouthpiece the Washington Times and self-proclaimed Messiah. Moon's warning to America is that we must have sex the way he entreats us, in the positions he has designated, or else forfeit our "love organs," as he dubs them, to the dark lord Satan.

We all know the Right wants to decide what we can't do in the bedroom. But no one ever seems to ask what the Right wants us to do instead.

"After the act of love," read the instructions from the Rev. Moon's conservative Family Federation, "both spouses should wipe their sexual areas with the Holy Handkerchief. Hang the handkerchief[s] to dry naturally and keep them eternally. They must be kept individually labeled and should never be laundered and mixed up."

Maybe the best explanation of our widespread ignorance of the Washington Times owner's sex rites is liberal squeamishness. For those of you who suckled on secular humanism and feminist tracts (which Moon calls Satanic, by the way), these prescriptions from God might seem as off-putting as a Castro Street postcard storefront to Dr. James Dobson.

But in order to usher in a national dialogue on faith in the public square, it's important to look beyond stereotypes of the Right to understand the diverse philosophies behind public movements for state-enforced morality.

Rev. Moon, whose Washington Times is a crown jewel of the conservative media Death Star, offers the essential lessons. He's the last man most Americans would associate with Republican power circles, but is in his own secretive way as important a figure in the Christian Right as Jerry Falwell, who's still in business thanks to a $3.5 million bailout from Moon in 1995, or Tim LaHaye of the Council For National Policy, who took money to serve on the board of a group rehabilitating Moon's image, and once wrote a letter addressing Moon as "the Master."

Just how big is Moon's standing in the Right? The "Republican Noise Machine" is a mighty edifice built with $3 billion in gifts from various right-wing philanthropists. Moon's gift of the Washington Times to the conservative cause alone places him in the club as a charter member; the paper owes its existence to a staggering figure of over $2,000,000,000 since 1982 in donations in Moon's mystery money.

Moon also also controls United Press International, one of the world’s largest wire news services. In addition to having a hand in the creation of modern-day Christian Right politics, Moon has given huge sums to Richard Viguerie, the "founding funder" of the Reagan revolution; Terry Dolan, the pioneer of the "liberal bias" attack; and George W. Bush, who received $250,000 from Moon in 2004.

By 1989, U.S. News & World Report was reporting Moon had built "a network of affiliated organizations and connections in almost every conservative organization in Washington, including the Heritage Foundation," but that "conservatives ... fear repercussions if they expose the church's role." In 2004, a veteran Christian Right lobbyist, Gary Jarmin, arranged to have Moon coronated the "King of Peace" in a kitschy ceremony on Capitol Hill in which he wore a glittering crown and royal robes.

Moon, the first President Bush said, while touring South America with the True Father in 1996, is "the man with the vision" whose newspaper "restores sanity to Washington." So why must the gatekeepers of the mainstream media bar his ideas from the public debate on morality? Why does his own employee, Times editorial page editor Tony Blankley, whose paper Moon says he mainly established to "tell the world about God," hold back from telling the McLaughlin Group about the greatness of Rev. Moon’s plans for society?

In the interest of healthy public discourse, it bears upon us instead to consider the philosophy fueling Moon, who has long acted on his professed longing to see gays and "free sex" banished from America. Moon's Federation offers an instruction manual explaining, among other things, on which occasions the man should be on top, how Satan can be banished with the spank of a wooden paddle and franker lessons still.

Recipe for love

There is, as Moon sees it, a profound sex crisis in America. "Satan," the Times publisher said in 2004, "is clinging to our sexual organs." Women are a "line of prostitutes," who should be punished for selfishness. "The concave organ [vagina] should be sealed with concrete."

"The women are the problem in history," he said in 2004. "Women who don't want to have children should cut away their breasts, bottoms and love organ because the purpose for those was first for the children. If they don't fulfill that purpose, then they are not needed."

"Woman's sexual organ is like the open mouth of a snake filled with poison," he said in 1996. Men don't get off any easier. Keep pliers in your pocket, he says, "and when you go to the bathroom, once a day, pinch your love organ. Cut the skin a little bit as a warning."

Moon has even a darker vision for gay men. Moon told an audience he'd like to see them removed in a "purge on God's orders.... Gays will be eliminated, the three Israels will unite. If not, then they will be burned. We do not know what kind of world God will bring, but this is what happens. It will be greater than the Communist purge but at God's orders." (No wonder the Times style guide puts "gay" in quotes.)

Far from being confined to his church, his philosophy has fueled years of voter mobilization drives, state and local candidacies and public campaigns opposing sexual liberties for nonmembers -- such as birth control, sex education, gay rights. There have been Moon-sponsored rallies for "pure sex" in the streets of Chicago, featuring mascots dressed up as gonorrhea bacteria. So don't mistake his sexual beliefs for a party to which you aren't invited. "By 2004, we have to reach the level of Jesus occupying Rome," he said in 2001, speaking of his American ambitions. "Invite me as master and owner, or it all will fade away and be broken. The Capitol Hill, the U.N. -- I should be the king."

The goal of getting involved in politics and social services, say his clerics, is to cleanse Satan from humanity's bloodline. Meanwhile, under George W. Bush's Healthy Marriage Initiative and abstinence-only grants, his pastors have won nearly $1 million in public funding. Moon's abstinence-only education group Free Teens USA, funded by the Department of Health and Human Services, instructs school kids in New Jersey: "It's not just your body, it's your whole lineage forever." In a lesson plan featured online, a "family tree" exercise appears to be inspired by Moon's teachings. And to teach that loving carelessly is vile, youths are asked to drink from a cup of spit, according to a lesson plan featured online.

Conjugal visitation

So let's say you've married a spouse chosen for you by the creator of the Washington Times at one of his 2,000-couple stadium weddings. You've gone through a Moon-ordained period of sexlessness, but now the time has come to get down to business for the first time with your new husband or wife.

Not so fast. At some date prior to the lovemaking, Moon's "indemnity stick ceremony" is used to paddle Satan's spirit from your lover-to-be. The evil spirit is present, according to one church testimony, because "men and women misused each other's sexual parts, for selfish purposes, [and] it gave birth to this resentment ... So we receive three hits of the stick."

According to the Family Federation website, Satan will not be purged until newlyweds carry out his "Three Day Ceremony" in specified sex positions, in Holy Gowns, in front of his photograph. You're to meet at a location that's "as holy a place as possible" -- one of Moon's churches is OK. You should have a number of items on hand, according to the instructions available online, including a Holy Handkerchief, a church-supplied cloth, and a photo of the Washington Times publisher and conservative benefactor with his wife, Hak Ja Moon. By now you have embraced them as your True Parents, maybe even replacing your biological mom and dad. Next the room must be sanctified to ward off any potential Satanic comeback, with prayers, a candle and the sprinkling of holy salt.

Over three nights, there must be three acts of sex. The first night, the woman is on top. The second night proceeds much the same as the first. But this time there is emphasis on the idea the man-on-bottom has progressed to "Growth Stage Adam."

Night three: time for the "man to restore dominion." Missionary position.

Moon appears to recognize that not all men will be able to sustain an erection during this procedure.

"The act of love should be a complete act (penetration and ejaculation)," the anonymous authors make clear. "In the event that it is difficult to achieve this, strive to achieve as much penetration as possible and continue with the remainder of the ceremony.

"For the act of love, it is all right to caress each other. Insertion must be accomplished. The couple should continue the act of love until ejaculation, but if it is difficult to reach ejaculation, the act may be stopped at that point. However, insertion itself must be accomplished. If insertion is not possible because the husband does not have an erection, the wife must take her husband's sexual organ in her hand and guide it into her sexual part in order to successfully do the ceremony. If the act of love is not fulfilled and it is delayed, it must be fulfilled within 24 hours starting from the beginning of the ceremony. It is not permitted to use a condom or any other apparatus during the act of love."

In an America where the separation of church and state have widely come to be seen as an urban legend, these ideas deserve as much consideration as the Silver Ring Thing, until recently the inspiration for a $1 million grant in Pittsburgh to push someone else's religious crusade: "to saturate the United States," as the mission statement said, "with a generation of young people who have taken a vow of sexual abstinence until marriage and put on the silver ring. This mission can only be achieved by offering a personal relationship with Jesus Christ ..."

And this is the risk of inviting God into the public square. One man's Silver Ring Thing is another man's Holy Handkerchief.

© 2006 Independent Media Institute. All rights reserved.View this story online at:

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Our Poor Planet!!!

From Friday's (4/21/06) Progress Report:

Happy Earth Day

On Saturday, April 22, the world will mark the 36th annual Earth Day celebration. Sadly, it will be the first time Earthy Day founder Sen. Gaylord Nelson (D-WI) will not be around to see it. (Nelson passed away last year.) Since Nelson's grassroots effort to recognize the importance of environmental protection "took off like gangbusters" more than three decades ago, significant progress has been made. "Thanks to strong safeguards, which were generally won after tooth-and-nail battles, we've made some real strides on basic clean air and clean water," said Jon Coifman of the Natural Resources Defense Council. "Rivers aren't catching fire anymore, and you can see the sky in Los Angeles." And the environment has become a real concern of the American public. A 2005 Harris polls found that seventy-five percent of the American people agree with the statement, "Protecting the environment is so important that requirements and standards cannot be too high, and continuing environmental improvements must be made regardless of cost." Yet, on issues such as climate change, clean air, and clean water, America can do more. When President Bill Clinton gave Nelson the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1995, Clinton expressed the importance of heeding Nelson's legacy. "Today, as much as at any time in modern American history," Clinton said, "we need to remember what we share on this precious planet and in this beloved country. And I hope that Gaylord Nelson’s shining example will illuminate all the debates in this city for years to come."

CLIMATE CHANGE CONTINUES: The science is definitive: the earth is warming, and we will bear the consequences. Between 1900 and 2005, the average temperature at the Earth's surface has increased about 1.4 degrees Fahrenheit; the last decade was the hottest in 150 years; the hottest 22 years have happened since 1980; and 2005 was the second hottest year on record. Scientists predict global temperatures could increase anywhere from 2.5 to 10.4 degrees Fahrenheit, "with warming in the United States expected to be even higher." The effects of doing nothing are clear: "Sea levels will rise, flooding coastal areas. Heat waves will be more frequent and more intense. Droughts and wildfires will occur more often. Disease-carrying mosquitoes will expand their range. And species will be pushed to extinction." Despite the evidence, some right-wing commentators continue to deceive the public and say that it's all a myth. (Meanwhile their counterparts in the United Kingdom warn, "Climate change is one of the biggest threats facing the world and we must have a much greater sense of urgency about tackling it.") Recent figures show that the United States “emitted more greenhouse gases in 2004 than at any time in history, confirming its status as the world’s biggest polluter.” Yet, the Bush administration's most recent response has been to muzzle scientists who are most capable of explaining the issue to the public. To fill the void, some are taking the issue directly to the public through the documentary film medium. On Saturday, HBO will premiere Laurie David's new film, "Too Hot to Handle," and in May, Vice President Al Gore will unveil "An Inconvenient Truth" in theaters nationwide. "My goal is to make it personal for everybody, because this issue of global warming is going to impact every single person," says David. "It's not a political issue, it's a moral issue: what kind of world are we all going to choose to live in?"

CLEAN AIR STILL TOO DIRTY: Air pollution continues to pose severe health risks to all Americans. Power plant pollution puts 600,000 newborn children at risk for developmental problems, and cause 24,000 Americans to die an average of 14 years early. The average New Yorkers' risk of developing cancer from air toxins was 68 residents per million, well above the national average of 41.5 residents per million. Minorities face the greatest risk. The Associated Press recently reported that "black Americans are 79 percent more likely than whites to live in neighborhoods where industrial pollution is suspected of posing the greatest health danger." But the Bush administration continues to push its "Clear Skies" legislation in an effort to loosen emission caps on airborne toxins. A federal appeals court recently overturned a controversial regulation that would have allowed power plants and factories to "exempt most equipment changes from environmental reviews," but their "decision is unlikely to be the last word." Meanwhile, administration officials are pushing a plan that some say would "curtail the involvement of scientists and boost the role of political figures in the process of setting national ambient air quality standards for six major pollutants." One such political nominee, William Wehrum of the EPA's Office of Air and Radiation, is known as "the behind-the-scenes architect" of the Bush's administration's flawed clean air policies.

WILDERNESS NEEDS MORE PROTECTION: "Our forests are the heart of our environmental support system," warned conservation biologist Don Melnick and Wildlife Trust president Mary Pearl yesterday. "And yet, in the 36 years that have passed since the first Earth Day, on April 22, 1970, we have lost more than one billion acres of forest, with no end in sight." The U.S. Forest Service recently predicted that 44 million acres of private forest - equal to twice the size of Maine - will be sold off within the next 25 years. The Bush administration is trying to auction off 300,000 acres of forest to fund a rural school program, and the Bureau of Land Managements plans to open 96 percent of the land around the Arizona Strip, which contains the Grand Canyon and other national treasures, to uranium mining and oil exploration. The Bush administration is even cutting funding for the federal lands already under protection. They recently ordered the parks to "show that they can function at 80 percent or less of their operating budgets, which is forcing some parks to cut services for visitors as summer approaches." On the bright side, a right-wing effort to open up 20 million acres of public land to mining was beaten back in a "telling moment of cooperation between hunters and environmentalists."

THE BIODIVERSITY CRISIS: According to a U.N. Global Biodiversity Outlook report, human activity is "responsible for the sixth major extinction event in the history of earth, and the greatest since the dinosaurs disappeared, 65 million years ago." The U.N. found that the current extinction rate is 1,000 times faster than historical rates of loss. In America, the Endangered Species Act has been an effective tool in protecting species from extinction. According to the scientific journal Ecology Letters, "more than 50% of U.S. species listed as endangered before 2000, and almost two-thirds of species listed for 13 or more years, have stabilized or are improving. Further, species whose recovery efforts received significant funding are more likely to be improving." Despite the legislation's effectiveness, the right-wing continues to try to "gut" the protections, forcing biologists to take their case directly to Congress. Internationally, the disappearance of the Amazonian rainforest - one of the world's great "biodiversity hotspots" - continues to be "one of the world’s worst environmental crisis." Climate change is only making things worse. Conservation International found that a 2 degree rise in the Earth's temperature over 50 years "could wipe out tens of thousands of plant and animal species around the planet, even in remote places far away from human activity."

WATER SHOULD BE CLEANER: Since the Clean Water Act became law in 1972, our rivers are no longer catching fire, but much work remains. According to a 2003 EPA study, "approximately 40% of the rivers, 45% of the streams and 50% of the lakes that have been assessed still do not support their designated use," allowing fishing or swimming. Ignoring the figures, the FY2007 Bush budget proposal contained $199 million in cuts (or 22 percent) to the Clean Water State Revolving Loan Fund, which provides financing for local water projects. Globally, one billion people lack access to clean drinking water, and 2.6 billion lack adequate sanitation. The 2nd U.N. World Water Development Report warned that regions like sub-Saharan Africa may not meet their goal "halving the proportion of people without access to safe drinking water between 1990 and 2015." Political corruption around the world is viewed as one of the main reasons why billions of people do not have access to clean water.

THE EMERGING ENVIRONMENTAL MAJORITY: Environmental protection should not be a divisive issue; everyone owns a stake in what kind of Earth we pass along to future generations. Sportsmen and environmentalists are teaming up "in debates over the future of federal land in the West as the government seeks to sell hundreds of thousands of acres of federal forest and rangeland and continues to expand oil and gas development." "There's absolutely no question about what's brought us closer together," said Oregon outdoor columnist Pat Wray. "It's the Bush administration." Field & Stream magazine took the White House to task last summer over its wildlife policies: "With deep ties to the oil and gas industry, Bush and Cheney have unleashed a national energy plan that has begun to destroy hunting and fishing on millions of federal acres throughout the West, setting back effective wildlife management for decades to come." On climate change, many evangelicals are taking on global warming as a way to honor the Biblical admonition to watch over God's creation. (Genesis 2:15: "The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it.") While not all evangelicals have reached consensus about climate change, some like National Association of Evangelicals vice president Richard Cizik "say unapologetically, that we ought to be able to bring to the debate a new voice." In the absence of national leadership, governors are leading the way on innovative clean energy and new environmental solutions.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Hands Off The Internet!!!

From today's Progress Report:

The End Of The Internet As We Know It?

Telecommunications companies like Verizon and AT&T want to build high-speed networks to provide video and Internet services in competition with cable companies. Will these networks be broadly available and foster technological innovation? Or will they simply benefit certain moneyed interests? The answer -- and, ultimately, the future of the Internet -- depends on the telecommunications bill currently winding its way through Congress. Consumer advocates and progressives like Rep. Ed Markey (D-MA) are pushing for the telecom networks, which will be built using public rights-of-way, to provide universal, non-discriminatory access. The telecommunications companies (along with the cable giants) want to reserve the right to give preferential access to whomever has the most cash. Thus far, unfortunately, the industry is winning.

WHAT IS NET NEUTRALITY?: Markey and others are pushing for the telecommunications bill to require "net neutrality." The telephone network already operates on this principle. Anyone willing to pay a reasonable fee can get his or her own phone line. Once you get a phone line, it works just as well as Paris Hilton's phone line or any other phone line. Also, it doesn't matter whether you're calling Brad Pitt or your grandmother, the connection works the same. (This is the way networks run naturally. Data is data. It doesn't matter who sends it.) Open, non-discriminatory access to the phone networks means businesses compete on the basis of what they do with the telephone network, not whether they can afford preferential access to it. The telecoms want to reserve the right to sell privileged access to their high-speed networks. (Edward Whiteacre, the CEO of SBC Communications put it this way: "Now what they would like to do is use my pipes free, but I ain't going to let them do that.") So, for example, could pay the telecoms a premium and ensure that its site loads much faster than an independent bookstore's site. The end result could be a two-tiered Internet, where your success doesn't depend on innovative ideas but rather the ability to pay, thus stifling small businesses that could become the next Microsoft or Google.

NET NEUTRALITY IN NAME ONLY: Last week, a House subcommittee rejected by a 23-8 vote an amendment by Markey that would have required net neutrality. Instead, the subcommittee vote to "codify the FCC's voluntary principles governing net neutrality." The key word here is "voluntary." The bill would do nothing to stop cable and telecom companies from offering "premium broadband tiers and charge content providers more to use them." There are no provisions "barring anti-competitive conduct," such as favoring content produced by the company that owns the network. Jeff Chester of the Center for Digital Democracy lamented, "Members from both sides of the aisle endorsed a plan which will permit cable and phone companies to construct 'pay as you surf, pay as you post' tollbooths for the Internet. Special-interest money contributed to committee members has given the AT&T, Verizon, Comcast and others another brand new monopoly to control--our digital communications network known as the Internet. The committee's vote against 'network neutrality' was more about the power of big money to influence their anti-Internet freedom position." (Check out the top contributors for Rep. Joe Barton (R-TX), who is the sponsor of the current legislation.) Markey says the bill, as it stands now, "imperils the future of electronic commerce and innovation to the ‘world wide whims’ of broadband barons, and ties the hands of the FCC in a way that will legally prevent it from saving something very special."

TECH INNOVATORS SUPPORT STRONG NET NEUTRALITY GUARANTEES: The CEOs of some of the world's most innovative and successful technology companies -- including Google, EBay and Yahoo! -- wrote the House Energy Committee last week to express their concern that "legislation being considered by the Committee fails to preserve the longstanding openness of the Internet." As a result, according to the CEOs, "consumer choice, American innovation and global competitiveness" are put at risk. They urged the committee to adopt net neutrality rules that were "both meaningful and readily enforceable."

THE BUILD OUT PROBLEM: The telecoms want to use public rights-of-way (i.e., the land used to build roads, etc) to build their networks. But they also want the right to provide service only to the most profitable areas within those communities. As of now, the bill lacks a so-called "build out" provision that would require telecom companies competing with a cable franchise to provide service everywhere the cable company does. The result may be that low-income and minority neighborhoods will not see the benefits of improved networks and competition.

BYPASSING COMMUNITIES: Currently, cable companies are required to negotiate franchise agreements with local communities to provide service. The telecoms want to compete with the cable companies but bypass communities. These negotiations are the only opportunity for towns to ensure "cable and Internet providers pay attention to labor issues, provide for technology upgrades and ensure public safety concerns are met."

Friday, April 07, 2006

The Truth Is Out Part II

Bush is a shit ... from today's Progress Report:



Yesterday, a court filing disclosed that President Bush specifically authorized Vice President Cheney's chief of staff Scooter Libby to disclose classified information in an effort to discredit Joseph Wilson, a former CIA adviser whose criticisms undermined the administration's case for war. According to the 39-page document submitted by special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald on late Wednesday night, Libby testified that Cheney "advised him that the President had authorized [Libby] to disclose relevant portions" of the October 2002 National Intelligence Estimate (N.I.E.), the key CIA document that the administration used to persuade Congress and the American public into war. The court filing "for the first time places Bush and Vice President Cheney at the heart of what Libby testified was an exceptional and deliberate leak of material designed to buttress the administration's claim that Iraq was trying to obtain nuclear weapons." While the document does not address the issue of whether Bush was personally involved in specifically leaking Valerie Plame's identity, it is clear from the timing of the leak authorization by President Bush that he was personally involved in the administration-wide effort to smear Joseph Wilson by any means necessary.

BUSH AUTHORIZED LEAKING DESPITE REPEATED ASSURANCES TO THE CONTRARY: Throughout the past two and half years, while the investigation into the leak of Valerie Plame's identity has been ongoing, Bush has made numerous public statements indicating his desire to crack down on leakers. For instance, on September 30, 2003, Bush said, "There's just too many leaks, and if there is a leak out of my administration, I want to know who it is." He added, "I want to tell you something -- leaks of classified information are a bad thing." And on October 28, 2003, the president said, "I'd like to know if somebody in my White House did leak sensitive information." Bush never indicated that he was engaged in leaks, instead casting "himself as a disinterested observer, eager to resolve the case and hold those responsible accountable." The new revelations by Fitzgerald, however, demonstrate Bush was personally authorizing highly-sensitive intelligence leaks and has therefore been engaged in a cover-up about the extent of his own involvement in the leak case. Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) said, "The president has always stood so strong against leaks. If he leaked himself, he should explain why this is different than every other leak."

BUSH WAS INVOLVED IN THE CAMPAIGN TO SMEAR WILSON: "The White House did not challenge the prosecutor's account of Bush's and Cheney's role in orchestrating the effort to discredit Wilson yesterday." Previously, the administration claimed it had not engaged in a smear campaign against Wilson. Robert Luskin, Karl Rove's attorney, previously claimed that the facts were being spun "in an ugly fashion to make it seem like people in the White House were affirmatively reaching out to try to get them to report negative information about Plame." But Fitzgerald made clear that Libby's disclosure took place as the result of "a strong desire by many, including multiple people in the White House, to repudiate" Wilson's claims, adding, "it is hard to conceive of what evidence there could be that would disprove the existence of White House efforts to 'punish' Wilson." Bush has now been placed at the center of those efforts. (The Progress Report has previously documented why Wilson was smeared -- simply put, because his public criticisms of the administration set into motion a series of events that were not only politically damaging but began to expose how the nation was misled into war. See our timeline.) "If the disclosure is true, it's breathtaking. The president is revealed as the leaker-in-chief," said Rep. Jane Harman (D-CA). While it is clear that Bush was engaged in the campaign to "punish" Wilson, it is unclear what knowledge he had of Wilson's wife, Valerie Plame. At the very least, Bush should now be asked when he personally learned of Plame and whether he authorized the leak of her covert identity.

N.I.E. BOLSTERED WILSON'S ARGUMENT: Libby testified that he was given specific authority by the president to "disclose certain information in the N.I.E." to former New York Times reporter Judith Miller and others. The administration decided to disclose only "relevant portions" for a very obvious reason -- disclosure of the full N.I.E. would have undermined the administration's argument and bolstered Joseph Wilson's. Recall, Wilson attacked Bush's 2003 State of the Union claim that Iraq was acquiring uranium from Niger to build a nuclear weapon. Wilson wrote in July 2003, "I have little choice but to conclude that some of the intelligence related to Iraq's nuclear weapons program was twisted to exaggerate the Iraqi threat," specifically stating he saw no evidence of a uranium transaction. The N.I.E. bolstered Wilson's claim. The CIA gave "low confidence" to the uranium claim and said "we cannot confirm whether Iraq succeeded in acquiring uranium ore." The estimate further said the intelligence on Iraq's uranium acquisition was "inconclusive."

BUSH ADMINISTRATION'S DEFENSE FULL OF LEAKY HOLES: At the heart of the White House and Libby's defense of their actions is the claim that a March 2003 executive order allows both the president and vice president to unilaterally declassify intelligence documents. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales stated yesterday that Bush has "inherent authority to decide who should have classified information." The White House maintains Bush's decision to disclose classified information means he declassified it. But it was unclear if that was the President's intention in this case. First, the action to leak the October 2002 N.I.E. was apparently done "without notifying Cabinet officials or others in the administration, including the CIA authors of the National Intelligence Estimate," raising questions about whether a real declassification ever occurred. Moreover, as Fitzgerald writes in the court filing, then-deputy National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley was engaged in a process to get the N.I.E. officially declassified at the same time Libby was leaking classified portions of the N.I.E. to reporters. On July 18, 2003, the administration decided to officially disclose the contents of the full N.I.E. at a White House press briefing, "suggesting the information had not been declassified until that time." Jonathan Turley, a law professor at George Washington University, argued on National Public Radio yesterday, "At a minimum, it is grossly improper for the president to order a subordinate to disclose a highly classified document to an uncleared reporter and then have that document treated as continuing to be classified."

CASE AGAINST LIBBY NOT AFFECTED: The new disclosures do not affect the legal case against Scooter Libby. Libby is on trial for having allegedly lied to FBI investigators and the federal grand jury about how he learned of Plame's identity. As special prosecutor Fitzgerald said at his October 2005 press conference announcing the indictments against Libby, "At the end of the day what appears is that Mr. Libby's story that he was at the tail end of a chain of phone calls, passing on from one reporter what he heard from another, was not true. It was false." The court filing reasserts that the "central issue at trial will be whether defendant lied when he testified that he was not aware that Mr. Wilson's wife worked at the CIA prior to his purported conversation with Tim Russert about Mr. Wilson's wife on or about July 10, 2003."

Thursday, April 06, 2006

The Truth Is Out!!!

From today's Progress Report:

NATIONAL SECURITY -- BUSH GAVE SPECIFIC PERMISSION TO LEAK PLAME'S IDENTITY: For nearly two and a half years, President Bush has maintained that he wanted to "get to the bottom" of the issue of who in his administration leaked the identity of covert CIA agent Valerie Plame. He said, "If there is a leak out of my administration, I want to know who it is." But, according to a new court filing in the case of Scooter Libby -- the former vice presidential aide who has been indicted for misleading prosecutors and covering up his knowledge of the leak -- Libby leaked Plame's identity with the specific permission of President Bush. Libby claims he first "rebuffed" Vice President Cheney's suggestion to release the information because it was confidential. But, according to the New York Sun, "Cheney specifically got permission for the release directly from Mr. Bush." The prosecution filing said, "Defendant testified that the vice president later advised him that the president had authorized defendant to disclose the relevant portions of the NIE [National Intelligence Estimate containing Plame's identity]."
In His Own Words

Our ten favorite quotes from Tom DeLay.

By Christy Harvey, American ProgressTuesday April 4, 2006

1. “Nothing is more important in the face of a war than cutting taxes.” – Those famous DeLay priorities. (And here we thought it would be “providing armor” or “having an exit strategy.”)

2. “I AM the federal government.” – Smokin’ Tom to a staffer, after being told he wasn’t allowed to puff on his cigar in a federal building.

3. “You know, you’re never a prophet in your own hometown.” – DeLay, explaining his unpopularity with some of his constituents. (Houston Chronicle, 8/23/98)

4. “We march forward with a biblical worldview, a worldview that says God is our Creator, that man is a sinner, and that we will save this country by changing the hearts and minds of Americans.” – DeLay’s view of his role in government.

5. “When faced with the truth, the truth hurts. It is human nature not to face that… People hate the messenger. That’s why they killed Christ.” – DeLay, explaining why some Americans weren’t delighted with that “biblical worldview.”

6. “Now tell me the truth boys, is this kind of fun?”— DeLay to children living in the Astrodome during Hurricane Katrina

7. “So many minority youths had volunteered for the well-paying military positions to escape poverty and the ghetto that there was literally no room for patriotic folks like himself.” – Houston Chronicle, repeating DeLay’s rationale for not serving in Vietnam.

8. They’re the “Gestapo of government:” – DeLay, proving it’s not easy being green, talking about the Environmental Protection Agency.

9. “Our school systems teach the children that they are nothing but glorified apes who are evolutionized [sic] out of some primordial soup.” – DeLay, blaming the shootings at Columbine on, obviously, teaching evolution in schools.

10. “This whole thing about not kicking someone when they are down is BS – not only do you kick him – you kick him until he passes out – then beat him over the head with a baseball bat – then roll him up in an old rug – and throw him off a cliff into the pounding surf below!!!!” – DeLay right-hand Michael Scanlon (yes, that Michael Scanlon, the Jack Abramoff buddy who used to work for The Hammer) in an email during the Clinton impeachment trial.

Special Bonus Countdown:

Five Things You Wish You Knew About Tom DeLay

1. DeLay Gone Wild. DeLay was kicked out of Baylor University for…oh, how did his spokesman put it… “too vigorous a social life.”

2. Smoke ‘Em If You Got ‘Em. DeLay reportedly started smoking at age 6, becoming the first kid in 2nd grade to suffer from nic fits.

3. Magnum P.I. He Ain’t. DeLay shaved his moustache in 1984 after a study found Republicans wouldn’t elect a guy with facial hair. (Houston Chronicle, 6/22/06)

4. Wasn’t Indiana Jones Taller? DeLay “keeps two large leather bullwhips on display in his Capitol office, occasionally demonstrating his prowess in whipcracking.” Oooh, Tom!

5. The Nicknames That Aren’t Fit to Print. The Hammer. The Exterminator. The Meanest Man In Congress. Hot Tub Tom.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

I Want Him Behind Bars!!!

From today's Progress Report:


DeLay to Resign, But His House Still Stands

Criminally-indicted Rep. Tom DeLay (R-TX) announced last night that "he will not seek reelection and will leave Congress within months." According to DeLay, he has been chosen as a "target" because he was "effective" and accomplished "some pretty amazing things." But the truth is that Tom DeLay's extensive corruption and bitter ultra-partisan activism had finally caught up with him -- costing him his Majority Leader title, turning him into a national political pariah, and eventually shifting his conservative Texas district against him. DeLay will reportedly leave Congress by the end of May, and says he plans to "pursue an aggressive speaking and organizing campaign aimed at promoting foster care, Republican candidates and a closer connection between religion and government." But despite his absence, the House of Representatives will remain the House of DeLay. The overwhelming majority of House conservatives supported the "DeLay Rule" that was "custom tailored for Majority Leader DeLay to avoid stepping down even after indictment." House conservatives rigged the ethics committee to protect DeLay from being penalized. And they rushed to his side with support even after the full extent of his corruption became evident. As Josh Marshall writes, "He's their guy. Their rule rests on his machine. They can run but they can't hide."

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Another Fox In the Hen House!!!

From Friday's (3/31/06) Progress Report:

EMPLOYEES' RIGHTS -- BUSH NOMINATES FORMER WAL-MART LAWYER TO OVERSEE LABOR DEPT. WAGE DIVISION: The Labor Department's Wage and Hour Division is "responsible for administering and enforcing some of our nation’s most comprehensive labor laws," including minimum wage, overtime, child labor, and medical leave provisions. President Bush recently nominated Paul DeCamp, an attorney with a long history of working to undermine basic rights at work, to head the division. "As a private practice lawyer, DeCamp represented Wal-Mart in trying to prevent a class of 1.5 million women -- the largest employment class action ever certified -- from suing the company for discrimination in pay and promotions," the AFL-CIO blog reports. "He has proposed taking overtime pay away from workers in ways that were even more extreme than what the administration actually has done -- and suggested easy outs for bosses who misclassify workers as not eligible for overtime pay." More on DeCamp's record here