All The President’s Men

“These guys and gals make ordinary criminals feel squeamish”

By John S. Tully

The New York Herald Sun
October 27 2005

On one of the final episodes of HBO’s remarkable Six Feet Under, a character named Vanessa gently consoles the grieving sister of an Iraqi war veteran who has just committed suicide after losing many limbs. She tells the woman of watching her kids; sleeping; just being. Right then and there it seems to take the woman’s pain and turn it to something beautiful. There’s 2000 dead soldiers, sailors and Marines, thousands more injured for life, and countless dead and injured Iraqis.

It’s just getting to be too much for the American people.

America tortures and kills prisoners of war, lies about its soldiers’ deaths, allows its citizens to starve for days after a hurricane and produces its own news.
Meanwhile the press breaks a collective arm patting itself on the back for its gut-check Katrina coverage.

Too little and too late.

While we’re at war, a cadre of cowards has brazenly robbed the Treasury blind, mortgaging our great-grandchildren’s future as the last five years has been a cash-grab of epic proportions for the fat Republican-only lobbyists in Washington D.C.. As Mr. Bush completely alienated the rest of the free world, the un-free world got more dangerous. The Cowboy President didn’t want to use diplomacy when he could with North Korea so now they want their own reactor. Unfortunately, the intelligence agencies are in shambles, and Donald Rumsfeld’s “lighter, quicker, faster” military is decimated, demoralized and stretched dangerously thin. Meanwhile, China and Japan own much of our debt.

There is still a lack of adequate equipment for our troops on the ground in a war done so completely nearsightedly and on the cheap that families have to send goggles and boots to their children in Iraq and taxpayer-paid mercenaries/private contractors from companies like CACI make four times as much as the enlisted man. Meanwhile, Halliburton’s Kellogg Brown and Root and American oil companies are reaping windfall profits while heating-oil bills double for that widow in Detroit. Up on Capitol Hill, the Republican Senate leader Bill Frist is in serious legal trouble and House leader Tom Delay has now stepped down after being indicted in Texas… twice. The chief purchasing official for the United States of America you ask? Why, he’s just been frog-marched from his office in handcuffs for multiple counts of fraud on the federal government. During a so-called War on Terrorism the Federal Emergency Management chief gets his important job because he is a buddy of the old chief. The criminalization of politics?
These guys and gals make ordinary criminals feel squeamish.

So many troubling occurrences have in fact already gone down the memory hole so far this year that these cold winds of autumn will surely blow more truth away; too many stolen billions, too damn many lives. Somebody in The White House is going to jail for revealing a CIA agent’s identity or lying about it to investigators. The great New York Times helped to sell this war on stories by a reporter named Judith Miller who had sources like a fellow named Curveball, well known by international intelligence agencies to be a fabricator, Jordanian-convicted criminal and American advisor Ahmed Chalabi and the Vice-President’s chief advisor Lewis “Scooter” Libby. Mr. Chalabi was issued an arrest warrant last year by the Iraqi government but now he’s firmly in place again as leader of a Shiite Iraqi coalition. Curveball was last seen fleeing from a prison in Iraq and Ms. Miller went to jail for 89 days for not revealing her source to Independent Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald. She was released after reaching a deal and revealed that Mr. Libby was one of her sources for the information about Mr. Wilson’s wife. She claims to have written it in her notes as Valerie Flame.

You just can’t make this stuff up.

This foul mess is greased by a Mainstream Media who butter Americans with a steady
diet of Paula Abdul-Tryst /Brain-Dead Woman /Missing Blond-Girl stories. Lately the press has been hammering home the notion that this leak of a C.I.A. agent’s name is a very complicated story. It’s not but one can understand why, to journalists like Andrea Mitchell and Tim Russert, it must seem complicated, because so many of them are such active participants in the Wink-Wink Washington Game that it completely clouds their judgment. The leak story is simple. It’s about the dirty politics of war.

Between President Bush telling Americans in a State Of The Union speech that Iraq was seeking uranium, and Condoleeza Rice talking that nuclear nonsense about not wanting to wait until we had a “mushroom cloud” in our skies, the deal was sealed to go to war.
In the end, this main reason for invasion, the imminent nuclear threat posed by Saddam and Iraq, was fabricated. Ambassador Joseph Wilson called the administration on this lie and they ruined his wife’s career in the C.I.A for revenge. Mr. Wilson had been sent by the C.I.A. to Niger Africa to see if Iraq had actually tried to get the specialized yellowcake uranium to make a nuclear bomb. He found no evidence of this, neither has anyone else, and he wrote an op-ed piece to this effect. The Bush Administration, in order to punish Mr. Wilson for revealing their big war lie, told some journalists on the White House beat that he had been sent there by his wife, C.I.A. agent Valerie Wilson, who had been undercover for years under the alias of Plame, and was now at headquarters in Langley, Virginia.

They were sure to get some so-called fair journalists like Evan Thomas of Newsweek to backhandedly trash Joseph Wilson’s integrity on John Donald Imus’ program and some politicians to label it simple partisanship. Don’t forget the Drudge/Rush/Freepers, they’re almost as mean and nasty as their heroes in the Oval Office, where wishful thinking and self-delusion rule the day; get in their way and you’ll pay. They’ll turn on anyone who disagrees with them. Ask Richard Clarke, Gen. Shinseki or Paul O’Neill.

Don’t worry, here comes mealy-mouth media-darlings David Brooks and Tom “Pakistani Cabdriver” Friedman to tell us a nice story that will make us feel better.

But now, even the administration’s personal water-carriers are starting to criticize the President over this latest Supreme Court debacle.

The president nominated an unqualified, lightweight, personal friend and advisor Harriet Meirs to the highest court in the nation and the right-wing is absolutely crushed. Like little children who aren’t getting what they thought had been promised, columnists George Will, Bill Kristol and the Republican activists are fuming and furious and beginning to go off-message.

Egads!

Their loyalty to this administration’s consistent and constant shenanigans is finally wearing thin. The very machine that keeps the disinformation going is breaking down.
It’s hard work these days for the White House to cover its tracks and they can’t even blame the Democrats. The first Court crisis began this presidency and this week’s indictments, the Meirs mistake, and the mess in Iraq signals the end.

Leandre Rice, a newly returned soldier from Iraq, came home with a skull fracture, vicious burns all over his body and no more eyesight. He’ll never see his twins born two months ago.

It’s too much for the American people; too many mistakes and too many lies.

As Mr. Libby wrote in a letter to Judy Miller while she was in jail: “It is fall now. … out West, where you vacation, the Aspens will already be turning. They turn in clusters, because their roots connect them..”

Many of the the President’s men are starting to turn and it’s not going to be pretty.

© 2005 THE NEW YORK HERALD SUN

The Darkness Has Come

There are approximately 8.8 billion missing in Iraq; completely unaccounted for

THE DARKNESS HAS COME
BY JOHN TULLY
THE LOS ANGELES SUN
MARCH 25

Last year the oily and corrupt House majority leader, Congressman Tom DeLay, personally used the Department Of Homeland Security to track down and locate members of the Texas State Legislature who had fled to Oklahoma after Mr. DeLay tried to redistrict his home state into illogical shapes that were straight off of a sushi plate.

This week Mr. DeLay subpoenaed a brain-dead woman to Capitol Hill to score political capital from the religious and rigid right, and distract from his vast legal problems, including the illegal use of campaign funds and his current successful attempt to literally change the House’s ethics rules, written in secret.

Texas, of course, is where they execute retarded people and adolescents.

Irving Kristol’s son Bill, the neoconservative dreamer and top propagandist for the Iraq invasion since his co-founding of The Project For A New American Century, had his expert say on Fox News the other day. He claimed that one of the neurologists who had examined Terri Schiavo said: ” She can recover substantially if she gets the proper rehabilitation. ”

It almost makes you long for the days of uninterrupted Atlanta courtroom-killer news and video.

There are approximately $8.8 billion missing in Iraq; completely unaccounted for. The money was entrusted to the U.S.-led Coalition Provisional Authority. Never one to miss an opportunity for irony, George W. Bush nominated yet another chief architect of the Iraq invasion, Paul Wolfowitz to run The World Bank. That’s a perfect triangle of failure with a secretary of state who did a miserable job advising Bush on National Security and an attorney general who tried to find legal loopholes in torture laws.

A recent document uncovered Halliburton’s newest overcharge of $108 million for Jordanian and Turkish fuel—”The cost data did not reconcile to KBR’s (Halliburton subsidiary) accounting” – and added to countless overcharges totaling close to two billion dollars. Meanwhile, Congress decides to investigate steroid use in professional baseball.

They must not know that Chandra Levy’s killer is still on the loose.

The media swine scoffed and smirked at veteran journalist Dan Rather’s final plea for courage as they ripped apart Michael Jackson for wearing pajamas and blanketed the airwaves with coverage of Martha Stewart. It’s always hard to figure out, week in and week out, who the biggest media weenie is. George Will and David Brooks both could hardly wait to make immediate cheeky/mealy-mouthed references to France in discussing the Syrian mess in Lebanon. Everyone in the cool kids media club was praising Bush for his bold leadership, though almost two months have gone by since the Iraqi election and the many sides are still fighting, and the country is a bloody mess.

Or is it the three-headed liberal weenie, The Evan Thomas/ Howard Fineman/ Chris Matthews Monster with their newest shtick, the just-so-wacky-it-might-work: “George Bush is an idiot-genius who had to lie to America to get us into a war to bring freedom to the Middle East.” Subtitle: “We won’t know for 50 years”

Talk about mission creeps.

In fact, all three men were performing it brilliantly last week, after about 20 minutes of adolescent discussion of Mr. Jackson’s wardrobe and Ms. Stewart’s homecoming, on radio legend Don Imus’ program. That hardly left them any time to discuss the brand-new appointment of America’s chief diplomat to the United Nations, John Bolton.

The little coverage and criticism the media did give the truly absurd nomination usually referred to a bad joke that Bolton had once told about cutting off the top floors of the UN building and it not mattering. But the consistently undiplomatic Bolton once seriously asserted, “We (United States) are the Security Council.” One of the few reporters left in Washington, Mark Shields, remarked that the nomination was “like naming Howard Stern as your chief of protocol or Mary Baker Eddy as your surgeon general.”

Back in the middle of 2003, before Jon Stewart was a big star, Chris Matthews was on The Daily Show and was asked about the presidential election and the long list of Democratic candidates. The war that Mathews had passive-aggressively cheer leaded had not been going well. The questions that he had failed to ask the politicians and leaders about the preparation and planning for the war were coming home to roost. With all his experience in “Wershington” as he calls it in his Pennsylvanian drawl, working for the late, great Thomas P. “Tip” O’Neill, among others, this would have been a perfect opportunity to educate the young people about the issues on a cool TV show and discuss the politics involved with them.

But Mr. Matthews tried to be hip and irreverent, and summarized the whole field of candidates by giddily telling Stewart that Congressman Dick Gephardt had big eyebrows.

Hilarious.

Tip O’Neill was probably rolling in his grave that summer night. And just about the same time out in Colorado, an old salty dog named Hunter S. Thompson was stewing about the sorry state of affairs in America.

The journalist and author fumed: “It is genuinely incredible. The U.S. Treasury is empty, we are losing that stupid, fraudulent chickencrap war in Iraq, and every country in the world except a handful of corrupt Brits despises us. We are losers, and that is the one unforgivable sin in America.

“Beyond that, we have lost the respect of the world and lost two disastrous wars in three years. Afghanistan is lost, Iraq is a permanent war zone, our national economy is crashing all around us, the Pentagon’s ‘war strategy’ has failed miserably, nobody has any money to spend, and our once-mighty U.S. America is paralyzed by mutinies in Iraq and even Fort Bragg.

“The American nation is in the worst condition I can remember in my lifetime, and our prospects for the immediate future are even worse. I am surprised and embarrassed to be a part of the first American generation to leave the country in far worse shape than it was when we first came into it. Our highway system is crumbling, our police are dishonest, our children are poor, our vaunted Social Security, once the envy of the world, has been looted and neglected and destroyed by the same gang of ignorant greed-crazed bastards who brought us Vietnam, Afghanistan, the disastrous Gaza Strip and ignominious defeat all over the world. The stock market will never come back, our armies will never again be No. 1, and our children will drink filthy water for the rest of our lives.”

He ended his diatribe by declaring “Big Darkness Come Soon”

The day after Thompson killed himself, the beat-up, piled-upon and tired-looking Mr. Rather declared simply and dramatically: “Gonzo is dead”

This fact was immediately evident upon watching the cable news channels.

CNN’s Judy Woodruff introduced two young women at computers who were reading weblogs to gauge the reaction to the sad news. One of the women stated that Thompson had basically pioneered the practice of Gonzo Journalism. Don Imus’ producer stooge Bernard McGuirk and sports stooge Sid Rosenberg just could not, for the life of them, figure out what all the fuss was about regarding Thompson’s death. “What did he ‘eva do?” chortled the pool-ball headed producer. “Who is this guy?” laughed Mr. Rosenberg.

But their questions would soon be answered by the newsbunnies at MSNBC who were broadcasting Live from the Studio with In-Depth coverage of the top story: The darkness had indeed come.

©2005 NY HERALD SUN

Surprise Surprise, Halliburton Used Shell Companies To Get Contracts

THE NEW YORK TIMES
by James Risen and Mark Mazzetti

WASHINGTON — Blackwater Worldwide created a web of more than 30 shell companies or subsidiaries in part to obtain millions of dollars in American government contracts after the security company came under intense criticism for reckless conduct in Iraq, according to Congressional investigators and former Blackwater officials.

While it is not clear how many of those businesses won contracts, at least three had deals with the United States military or the Central Intelligence Agency, according to former government and company officials. Since 2001, the intelligence agency has awarded up to $600 million in classified contracts to Blackwater and its affiliates, according to a United States government official.

The Senate Armed Services Committee this week released a chart that identified 31 affiliates of Blackwater, now known as Xe Services. The network was disclosed as part of a committee’s investigation into government contracting. The investigation revealed the lengths to which Blackwater went to continue winning contracts after Blackwater guards killed 17 Iraqi civilians in Baghdad in September 2007. That episode and other reports of abuses led to criminal and Congressional investigations, and cost the company its lucrative security contract with the State Department in Iraq.

The network of companies — which includes several businesses located in offshore tax havens — allowed Blackwater to obscure its involvement in government work from contracting officials or the public, and to assure a low profile for any of its classified activities, said former Blackwater officials, who, like the government officials, spoke only on condition of anonymity. Continue reading Surprise Surprise, Halliburton Used Shell Companies To Get Contracts

This is Our Last Chance

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Bill Maher on Conan Part Two

Bill Maher on Conan Part Two

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Bill Maher on Conan

Bill Maher on Conan

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Stay Classy Politico….

“…They strike a desperate, high – school like “everybody love me” “centrist” pose”

-Tullycast viewer on The New Republic

stay-classy-politico

John Tully | Tullycast Memo

The Crimes of George W. Bush [Video]

Sneaky George W. Bush Pushing Through Dozens of Last-Minute Legislative Scams

THE OBSERVER

PAUL HARRIS

DEC 14 2008

chinatown110ec

After spending eight years at the helm of one of the most ideologically driven administrations in American history, George W. Bush is ending his presidency in characteristically aggressive fashion, with a swath of controversial measures designed to reward supporters and enrage opponents.

By the time he vacates the White House, he will have issued a record number of so-called ‘midnight regulations’ – so called because of the stealthy way they appear on the rule books – to undermine the administration of Barack Obama, many of which could take years to undo.

Dozens of new rules have already been introduced which critics say will diminish worker safety, pollute the environment, promote gun use and curtail abortion rights. Many rules promote the interests of large industries, such as coal mining or energy, which have energetically supported Bush during his two terms as president. More are expected this week.

America’s attention is focused on the fate of the beleaguered car industry, still seeking backing in Washington for a multi-billion-dollar bail-out. But behind the scenes, the ‘midnight’ rules are being rushed through with little fanfare and minimal media attention. None of them would be likely to appeal to the incoming Obama team.

The regulations cover a vast policy area, ranging from healthcare to car safety to civil liberties. Many are focused on the environment and seek to ease regulations that limit pollution or restrict harmful industrial practices, such as dumping strip-mining waste.

The Bush moves have outraged many watchdog groups. ‘The regulations we have seen so far have been pretty bad,’ said Matt Madia, a regulatory policy analyst at OMB Watch. ‘The effects of all this are going to be severe.’

Bush can pass the rules because of a loophole in US law allowing him to put last-minute regulations into the Code of Federal Regulations, rules that have the same force as law. He can carry out many of his political aims without needing to force new laws through Congress. Outgoing presidents often use the loophole in their last weeks in office, but Bush has done this far more than Bill Clinton or his father, George Bush sr. He is on track to issue more ‘midnight regulations’ than any other previous president.

Many of these are radical and appear to pay off big business allies of the Republican party. One rule will make it easier for coal companies to dump debris from strip mining into valleys and streams. The process is part of an environmentally damaging technique known as ‘mountain-top removal mining’. It involves literally removing the top of a mountain to excavate a coal seam and pouring the debris into a valley, which is then filled up with rock. The new rule will make that dumping easier.

Another midnight regulation will allow power companies to build coal-fired power stations nearer to national parks. Yet another regulation will allow coal-fired stations to increase their emissions without installing new anti-pollution equipment.

The Environmental Defence Fund has called the moves a ‘fire sale of epic size for coal’. Other environmental groups agree. ‘The only motivation for some of these rules is to benefit the business interests that the Bush administration has served,’ said Ed Hopkins, a director of environmental quality at the Sierra Club. A case in point would seem to be a rule that opens up millions of acres of land to oil shale extraction, which environmental groups say is highly pollutant.

There is a long list of other new regulations that have gone onto the books. One lengthens the number of hours that truck drivers can drive without rest. Another surrenders government control of rerouting the rail transport of hazardous materials around densely populated areas and gives it to the rail companies.

One more chips away at the protection of endangered species. Gun control is also weakened by allowing loaded and concealed guns to be carried in national parks. Abortion rights are hit by allowing healthcare workers to cite religious or moral grounds for opting out of carrying out certain medical procedures.

A common theme is shifting regulation of industry from government to the industries themselves, essentially promoting self-regulation. One rule transfers assessment of the impact of ocean-fishing away from federal inspectors to advisory groups linked to the fishing industry. Another allows factory farms to self-regulate disposal of pollutant run-off.

The White House denies it is sabotaging the new administration. It says many of the moves have been openly flagged for months. The spate of rules is going to be hard for Obama to quickly overcome. By issuing them early in the ‘lame duck’ period of office, the Bush administration has mostly dodged 30- or 60-day time limits that would have made undoing them relatively straightforward.

Obama’s team will have to go through a more lengthy process of reversing them, as it is forced to open them to a period of public consulting. That means that undoing the damage could take months or even years, especially if corporations go to the courts to prevent changes.

At the same time, the Obama team will have a huge agenda on its plate as it inherits the economic crisis. Nevertheless, anti-midnight regulation groups are lobbying Obama’s transition team to make sure Bush’s new rules are changed as soon as possible. ‘They are aware of this. The transition team has a list of things they want to undo,’ said Madia.