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Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Culture of Corruption

Yesterday, the Republican Party engaged in a game of 3 card monte with the Press. Friday's indictment of "Scooter" Libby ushered in a wave of negative press for President Bush, and rightfully so. A top aide to the vice president has been charged with five felonies relating to a the outing of a classified CIA officer. This is a huge news story. The Republican Party works like a corporation, not an organization, and as such yesterday they rolled out a new product guaranteed to satisfy their manical base: the nomination of far-right wingnut Samuel Alito to the Supreme Court.

So they even fooled me and had me posting about Alito's nomination. In one way, it had to be done -- a Supreme Court nomination is a huge story. On the other hand, it's not fair that Bush and the GOP had this card in their back pocket that they could play to deflect the indictments. The news media should not be so stupid as to let off the administration just because they've momentarily become distracted. Cheers to the Daily Show for giving the leak story the lead last night and criticizing the rest of the Press for playing along with the Republican marketing effort.

1. Libby will likely be the only one indicted. If you read the indictment, the evidence against him is massive. Fitzgerald may well have decided that if he didn't prosecute Libby, he could potentially be in trouble because the evidence of the 5 felonies was so blatant. Since he has a credible story for not doling out more indictments, Fitzgerald would prefer not to indict.

What of Rove? What of Cheney? What of Bush? They will likely all be spared considering the fact that we have a Republican Congress and a Republican Prosecutor. (Clinton, on the other hand, had to face both a GOP Congress and an Independant Republican Prosecutor who was a member of the Federalist Society.) The evidence against Rove is apparently being ignored; we can't get the evidence as to Cheney and Bush because they won't go under oath.

Funny how we got Bill Clinton under oath to talk about a private consensual affair but can't get Cheney under oath to talk about how his number one man committed five felonies while on the job.

2. Republicans must stop lying about the fact that Plame was a classified CIA agent. I heard Tony Snow, a top FOX News contributor, saying on Bill Maher's show that it would be a crime if Plame were a classified agent, but she was not. This is a 100% lie. From Republican Prosecutor Fitzgerald's legal indictment of Libby, allegation 1.F. on page 3:

"At all relevant times from January 1, 2002 through July 2003, Valerie Wilson was employed by the CIA, and her employment status was classified."

The Republican liars never stop. As long as some uninformed people believe it's true, the Vast Right Wing Conspiracy has done their job.

3. Libby will be publicly arraigned this Thursday. Hopefully this will distract our corporate news corps from Alito and turn its attention to the crimes of the White House. Libby is expected to plead not guilty. The trial of Libby could expose how the GOP manufactured evidence to fight the war against Iraq.

4. Karl Rove was directly involved in the leak of Valerie Plame.

Everyone knows about it and abundance evidence exists.

Libby's arraignment named everyone but mysterious "Official A." Official A is the one who revealed Plame's identity to Novak, according to Fitzgerald's indictment. Numerous sources throughout the mainstream press have confirmed that Karl Rove is Official A.

Was there enough evidence to indict Rove? There are reports that Rove' attorney provided evidence to Fitzgerald that may have prevented his indictment. Of course, this evidence amoutned to proving one thing: that Rove is a busy man, so he can't remember all his conversations with reporters. If this convinced Fitzgerald not to indict, then Fitzgerald is worthless as a prosecutor.

More than enough evidence exists to fire Rove, so why hasn't Bush fired the man? Bush has proof, beyond any doubt, that Rove played dirty politics. Further, Rove then lied about it by maintaining that he had nothing to do with the leak.

Ambassador Joseph Wilson, the man whose wife had her career destroyed by Rove and the GOP, has called for Rove to be fired. Regardless of whether Rove technically committed a crime, he failed to act ethically and it does not befit a senior official at the White House to jeopardize national security interests for the sake of political gain.

The real story, however, isn't just about the outing of Plame. The outing of Plame was part of a larger plan to sell a war. And the key piece of intelligence surrounding this entire story are the sixteen words that Bush used in his 2003 State of the Union address: the British government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa. Ambassador Joe Wilson investigated this claim on a trip to Niger and found it to be 100% false monts before the State of the Union address. When Wilson publicized Bush's lie, they outed his wife.

So why was it so important to protect the lie Bush espoused in his "sixteen words?" Some responsible journalists are starting to tie Plamegate with the sixteen words, as they shoud be, by asking questions such as these:

Who forged the documents that claimed Saddam Hussein was seeking uranium for nuclear weapons in the African country of Niger?

How did a version of the tale get into President Bush's 2003 State of the Union address, even though U.S. intelligence agencies never confirmed it and some intelligence analysts doubted it?

I'm eager to see this kind of hard-hitting reporting continue, even if it's about 2 and a half years late. The Italian intelligence agency was involved, and if you remember, the Italian government at the time was run by hard right conservatives who closely allied themselves with President Bush. The rat, ladies and gentlemen, is pretty easy to smell: the Republican Party conspired to forge the documents in order to sel the Iraq war. It's so obvious that it's not funny.

6. The Public Smells the Rat, Too

A new poll indicates that 55% of Americans believe that Libby's indictments indicate wider problems 'with ethical wrongdoing' in the White House, while 41 percent believes it was an 'isolated incident.'

A new USA poll indicates that 55% of Americans judge Bush's Presidency to be a failure. At no point in Clinton's presidency did a majority ever rule it to be a failure; 50% was the highest mark he reached after the health care debacle. Indeed, In 71% called Clinton's tenure a success in January 1999 as he awaited his impeachment trial.

7. The Democrats Start to Gain a Backbone

Today, the Democrats began the process of tying Plamegate to the sixteen words. Sen. Harry Reid ordered the Senate into a closed session this morning to discuss the Bush administration's bogus intelligence that led to the Iraq war.

It's almost as if Sen. Reid reads War on Corporate Evil: "The Libby indictment provides a window into what this is really all about, how this administration manufactured and manipulated intelligence in order to sell the war in Iraq and attempted to destroy those who dared to challenge its actions."

Although nothing may come of it, this is exactly the kind of thing Democrats need to do with the little power we have. Harry Reid is the anti-corporate crusader of the day.

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