Just Like Watergate
So, the first shoe drops and Scooter Libby resigns. Yawn. This was to be expected. Much more important is the fact that Fitzgerald is continuing and expanding the investigation into other areas.
Watergate started just like this, with small indictments, minor felonies, a cover up. As the investigation continued and moved deeper, ever more disturbing activities were uncovered. Like pulling on a loose thread from a sweater, eventually the whole thing unravels and falls apart. The involvement of Cheney's people in the dissemination of the forged Niger documents will be key, I'm sure. As will the self-preservation instincts of those in the CIA and State Department.
Much more fun to come!
Confirmation of Lame Duck Status
Harriet Miers has withdrawn her nomination to the Supreme Court.
Even more than the indictments that are likely to decimate his inner circle later this week, this marks the official start of George Bush's lame duck presidency. Not a single Republican Senator called for her withdrawal, and the Democrats were carefully quiet. It was the extremist Bush base that told him clearly to stay in line, and he has had to bow to their demands. The end is nigh. Couldn't happen to a more worthy target.
Still Waiting, But ...
OK, so no indictments yesterday. But there is the knowledge that the Grand Jury will meet again on Friday and, who knows, maybe indictments have been issued and sealed.
More interesting, I think, is the news from The Washington Note that Fitzgerald has rented additional office space in Washington. Doesn't seem as if the prosecutor is planning on returning quietly to Chicago any time soon. Maybe he can empanel a new Grand Jury to look into the Niger forgeries and Cheney's involvement in that piece of the affair.
Update: TWN has retracted its story about the office lease. Oh well, we can dream can't we?
Like A Kid Before Christmas
A little over thirty years ago, those of us of a certain age and a certain inclination eagerly scanned the papers and TV shows for the next installment of the Watergate saga. It was just exciting and important. No other "scandal" since then has given me that degree of interest until the last few weeks, with the Plamegate Affair.
The blogosphere is full of rumours today: Up to 5 indictments will be handed down tomorrow, the Grand Jury already has one indictment served, the target letters have been sent, Cheney will be indicted along with (perhaps) Rove and Libby, McCain has been approached to take over as VP, the Italian secret service struggled mightily to get forged documents to the White House, Fitzgerald will hold a press conference on Thursday.
It is all just too exciting! It is like being a kid and not wanting to sleep the night before Christmas in case you missed something. For political junkies this is a series of big fixes delivered straight to the heart and brain. Great stuff!
This Is The Bush Base Speaking ...
A British TV News organization has secretly filmed the Bush Base in action. Here is their report:
Fred Phelps says that terrorist outrages and natural disasters such as Hurricane Rita are examples of God's wrath against countries such as America and Britain for tolerating homosexuals and homosexuality. Phelps, who set up the controversial Westboro Baptist Church in Topeka, Kansas, told our undercover reporter about the attacks, which killed 52 people:
"Oh I am so thankful that happened. My only regret is that they didn't kill about million of them. England deserves that kind of punishment, as does this country (America)".
The church, which has 150 followers, recently started picketing funerals including those of American soldiers killed in Iraq, waving banners such as "Thank God 9/11", "God Hates Fags" and "Aids Cures Fags". [emphasis added]
We remember, of course, that more "mainstream" religious leaders (think, Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell) said pretty much the same thing about America "deserving" it immediately after the 9/11 attacks.
This is the base that got Bush elected twice. This is the base about which we should have great fear and loathing.
Rosa Parks, RIP
Rosa Parks, a genuine hero, died yesterday aged 92.
After a confrontation in 1943, a driver named James Blake ejected Mrs. Parks from his bus. As fate would have it, he was driving the Cleveland Avenue bus on Dec. 1, 1955. He demanded that four blacks give up their seats in the middle section so a lone white man could sit. Three of them complied.
Recalling the incident for "Eyes on the Prize," a 1987 public television series on the civil rights movement, Mrs. Parks said: "When he saw me still sitting, he asked if I was going to stand up and I said, 'No, I'm not.' And he said, 'Well, if you don't stand up, I'm going to have to call the police and have you arrested.' I said, 'You may do that.' "
The United States is demanding "substantive cooperation" from Syria in regards to the assassination of Lebanese politician Rafik al-Hariri. I'd be very surprised if Syria wasn't involved in the killing. But to have a nation like the United States, with a long and inglorious history of assassinations, attempted assassinations, military coups and illegal invasions, complain about it is simply sickening.
Most of America's demands for "exceptionalism" are laughable. Others, like this, cause the stomach to heave involuntarily.
Happy 6,009th Birthday World!
According to the calculations of Archbishop Usher of Armargh, today is the earth's birthday. His calculations led him to believe that God created the world on October 23rd, 4004 BC. Now, there are those who say his math is wrong, but let's not quibble on our birthday!
Coulter Says: "Repress Free Speech"
The right wingnuts' favourite girlfriend, Ann Coulter, says:
"[The media a]'re always accusing us of repressing their speech," she said. "I say let's do it. Let's repress them ... Frankly, I'm not a big fan of the First Amendment."
Her strict constructionist allies must be pretty confused by now. They should join the club of all the rest of us who have always found Coulter not only confusing but, frankly, of limited intelligence. Now, she is opposed to the Constitution. Hmmmmm, what next?
In the US, All Men Are Created Unequal
The gap between rich and poor in America has never been wider, and the latest figures show it is getting much worse. New figures from the Internal Revenue Service show that income disparities grew substantially from 2002 to 2003. After adjusting for inflation, the after-tax income of the one percent of households with the highest incomes shot up in 2003 by an average of nearly $49,000 per household while the after-tax incomes of the bottom 75 percent of households fell on average.
And the corporations and the bosses have done even better.
During this recovery period, wages and salaries as a whole have grown less than half as fast as the average growth during other post-World War II recoveries. Meanwhile, corporate profits have grown more than half as fast as in other recoveries. Separate surveys of pay trends by Business Week and Forbes magazines both found huge increases in the compensation of chief executive officers (CEOs) in 2004. The Business Week article observed that from 2003 to 2004 “CEO raises and total pay once again dwarfed those of theaverage worker.” The Forbes report found that the CEOs of the nation’s 500 largest companies received an “aggregate 54 percent pay raise last year…. That easily outpaced 2003’s eightpercent raise.”
Capitalism is by definition designed to create inequality, and modern consumerist-capitalism merely exacerbates that built in tendency. But rarely do we see a government encouraging this income spread as Bush as his allies do. The Bush family slogan should be: From the many to the few.