You don't even have to be gay.... Punishment for a husband who gets a blowjob from his wife while serving in the U.S. military: 5 years in the brig (Source: Article 125, Uniform Code of Military Justice) Lying to Congress Josh Marshall: "As has happened so many times in the last six years, the maximal version of this story -- which seemed logical six weeks ago but which I couldn't get myself to believe -- turns out to be true. Indeed, it's worse. We now know that Gonzales, McNulty and Moschella each lied to Congress. We know that the purge was a plan that began at the White House -- and it was overseen by two of President Bush's closest lieutenants in Washington -- Miers and Gonzales. Sampson is the second resignation. There will certainly be more." That's a crime, kiddies. "Few debates have wasted more energy than

speculation over whether Bush will pardon Libby.

Of course he will. A president who voids laws he

doesn’t like with “signing statements” isn’t going

to start playing by the rules now."

--Frank Rich, Link

Attorneygate update John McKay, fired US Attorney in Washington state, "stunned" over Bush involvement in purge. About bogus voter fraud claims, "There was no evidence, and I am not going to drag innocent people in front of a grand jury." Keep in mind that McKay is not some Democratic flunky appointed during the Clinton administration. He's a Republican loyalist appointed by George Bush. He worked with the FBI to investigate claims of voter fraud and simply concluded that the evidence wasn't there. But that wasn't good enough for the local politicos: they wanted him to keep digging until he came up with something -- anything -- that would have produced a few hundred more votes for the Republican candidate. But he didn't, and that annoyed George Bush. So now he's out of a job. But it wasn't personal. Just business. You know. Today's Must Read: a timeline emerges of the administration's scheme to oust federal prosecutors. Suddenly, I'm not hungry From the Washington Post: "The government has new rules for preventing food poisoning in fresh-cut produce, but companies don't have to follow them." Question: In what way is something a "rule" if you don't have to follow it? It's your environment "Did you know that the Bush administration is now in the process of removing 20% of the staff in the National Wildlife Refuge System?" Follow the link for the gory details in Bush Declares War on Wildlife Refuge System. Dick Cheney's Daughter is Immoral So says General Pace. Ya see, acts of love between consenting adults is wrong; but torture and killing -- and lying to do them -- is OK. Huh. By the way, this whole issue has been brought up to get the media off attorneygate. Don't be hoodwinked. "Immoral" is letting our own injured and maimed soldiers sleep in their own urine when you all knew

about it and didn't give a damn. Immoral is lying to the American people in order to get us into a war.

Maybe if General Pace spent as much time worrying about Iraq as he does my sexual orientation

we wouldn't be getting our asses kicked by a bunch of two-bit thugs with homemade bombs."

-- John Aravosis Meanwhile: “The National Association of Evangelicals has endorsed an anti-torture statement saying the United States has crossed ‘boundaries of what is legally and morally permissible‘ in its treatment of detainees and war prisoners in the fight against terror.” North Dakota going to Hell? North Dakota considers hardline abortion ban. Legislators in North Dakota are set to take up legislation that would ban all abortions, even in cases of rape and incest. The bill passed the House 61-26 in January, and will be debated in the Senate this week. Feministing has details. What liberal media? Media Matters reports that the Democratic victory in the 2006 midterms has had almost no effect on the guest lists of the Sunday chat shows: with the exception of ABC's This Week, they've all continued to invite considerably more conservative guests than liberal guests. More Republicans than Democrats. More pro-war than anti-war. Etc. I know. You're shocked. Full report here. What liberal media? Part II Washington Post reporter confirms it: Matt Drudge is the mainstream media's assignment editor. Veteran slaps down draft-dodger Speaking before the 2007 AIPAC Policy Conference earlier today, Vice President Cheney trotted out the same old talking point about how any sort of timetable will just cause the "enemy" to "wait us out." When asked for his response to this, former Senator (and war hero) Max Cleland had some tough words for the draft-dodging and warmongering Veep. video_wmv Download (6532) | Play (6794) video_wmv Download (2404) | Play (3720)

"Where the hell were you in the Vietnam War? If you had gone to Vietnam like the rest of us, maybe you would have learned something about war. You can't keep troops on the ground forever. You gotta have a mission. You gotta have a purpose." You can't keep sending 'em back and back and back with no mission and no purpose. As a matter of fact, the real enemy is Al Qaeda, it's Al Qaeda stupid, it's not in Iraq.

BillO = worst person In last night's World's Worst, Keith chastised O'Reilly for his incompassionate coverage of the house fire in the Bronx last week that killed nine children and the mother of four of them. video_wmv Download (898) | Play (1077) video_mov Download (377) | Play (589) MediaMatters has the infamous original footage. What I take away from this and the Shawn Hornbeck case is that BillO will stop at nothing to make a political point and further his "culture warrior"/"looking our for the folks" agenda…even if it means exploiting and blaming child victims. Then again, I'm probably just a far-left loon that takes his comments out of context. Journamalism Watch Andrea Mitchell lie to America. She said: "They’re going to try to really tamp this down and appeal to the polling which indicates that most people think, in fact, that he should be pardoned. Scooter Libby should be pardoned." Sorry, no.

Should President Bush Pardon Libby?

Yes: 18 percent

No: 69 percent

Don’t Know: 13 percent

Was Vice President Cheney Part Of A Cover-Up?

Yes: 52 percent

No: 29 percent

Don’t Know: 19 percent

CNN’s Wolf Blitzer called the poll results more evidence of “a cloud hanging over Vice President Cheney and President Bush.”

Busy packing the office? Gonzales cancels travel plans amidst calls for ouster. Another Hillary Myth Robert Novak builds a whole theory of Hillary's candidacy on an absurdly transparent falsehood. Because they might find something ugly The State Department just can't seem to find enough room to put up three auditors in Iraq. 18 percent: Dick Cheney’s favorability rating. Ana Marie Cox responds: “If he had feelings, I’m sure they’d be hurt by this.” Olympic stupid As I believe I've acknowledged, I wrote some pretty dumb things back in the day. Nevertheless, I never came even remotely close to writing anything as inane as this: "Even after September 11th, Marvel Comics and other publishers are disseminating comic books that actively promote a destructive cynicism and mistrust of the United States Government." That was April 2003. Shockingly, though, Cliff May is actually bragging about his small role in bringing that pearl of wisdom to light. He must really not like the Ultimates 2 story arc.

Tim Russert is a Fake Journalist If you'd gone through Digby's post last night you would've seen it, but in any case you should read Colin McEnroe's little spanking of Tim Russert. Tim Russert's admission that he inverts standard practices and assumes all conversations with the powerful are off the record has been undercovered by the media, as was his admission that he squealed to the FBI right away. Why is he still running? I'd forgotten that McCain voted against the '01 tax cut. That's almost equivalent to kicking the baby Jesus in the head. The unifying issue throughout the various kingdoms of Wingnuttia, aside from hating liberals, is that tax cuts are always good. Cool. Senate Judiciary Chairman Pat Leahy (D-VT): "“I am outraged that the Attorney General was less than forthcoming with the Senate while under oath before the Judiciary Committee." "Less than forthcoming" is a euphemism for "lying sack of crap." Claims of voter fraud are .... frauds There's going to be a ton of news today. And we're going to be on top of all of it. But before the deluge, let me touch again on a point I referenced last night in this lengthy post. The story emerging is that at least some of these US Attorneys were fired because they weren't aggressive enough in investigating Democratic 'voter fraud'. Like I said last night, I've been reporting on this stuff for years. And this is a horse that shouldn't even be let out of the gate. It's become standard operating procedure for Republican operatives to whip up charges of 'voter fraud'. And some of them even believe it. But the claims are almost universally bogus. And the real intent in most cases is to stymie get out the vote efforts or shut down voter registration drives -- mainly, though not exclusively, in minority voting precincts. Here you can see a list of TPM posts from the 2002 and 2004 cycles on bogus 'voter fraud' stories, mainly from South Dakota. These are made up stories, the main aim of which is to keep real voters from getting to vote. There's no mystery why McKay and Iglesias wouldn't bite: the stories were bogus hash-ups from Republican political operatives and as McKay said this morning, he wasn't going to "drag innocent people in front of a grand jury." What's going on in Iraq Sociologist Michael Schwartz, who has consistently managed to prove more accurate in his Iraqi assessments from thousands of miles away than a bevy of reporters on the scene, returns to the three prongs of the President's surge plan: attacking and neutralizing Moqtada al-Sadr's Mahdi Army militia, confronting Iran, and launching a new offensive against the Sunni insurgents. In the process, he gives meaning to the title of his piece, "Surge and Destroy." He concludes:

[I]n the confrontation with the Sadrists, the Bush administration appears to be edging toward search-and-destroy operations that will rubble-ize Shia neighborhoods; in the confrontation with Iran, it appears to be lurching toward a possible air assault on a remarkably wide range of targets inside that country, guaranteeing staggering levels of civilian casualties; in the confrontation with the Sunni insurgents, it is already mobilizing its ground and air power with the promise of the subsequent imposition of an extreme form of martial law. The hallmark of all these new strategies is the high level of destruction and mayhem they promise.

There is a larger pattern that should, by now, be clear in these developments, and all that have come before. The architects of American policy in the Middle East tend to keep escalating the level of brutality in search of a way to convince the Iraqis (and now the Iranians) that the only path that avoids indiscriminate slaughter is submission to a Pax Americana. Put another way, American policy in the Middle East has devolved into unadorned state terrorism.

Dumb poll questions AP trotted out one of the stalest tropes in all of politics this weekend:

For all the policy blueprints churned out by presidential campaigns, there is this indisputable fact: People care less about issues than they do about a candidate's character. A new Associated Press-Ipsos poll says 55 percent of those surveyed consider honesty, integrity and other values of character the most important qualities they look for in a presidential candidate. ....The AP-Ipsos poll of 1,001 adults, conducted Monday through Wednesday, found honesty was by far the most popular single trait , volunteered by 41 percent of voters in open-ended questioning.

Please. People might say they value character above all other traits, but guess what? People who identify as conservative and conservative-leaning vote for Republicans about 80% of the time. Liberals do the same for Democrats. Perhaps this is just a remarkable coincidence, but character sure seems to be mighty closely tied to party affiliation.

Look: policy white papers probably don't swing many votes, though they might swing a few more than most pundits realize. (Why? Because the people who pay attention to them tend to be opinion leaders who sway other voters.) But plainly voters judge presidential candidates first and foremost by party ID and general policy preferences, and secondarily by personality traits. And there's nothing wrong with that. I do it too. Don't let dumb poll questions persuade you otherwise.

Start making the popcorn and get the cumfy chair It's astounding how huge the Prosecutor Purge is and how phenomenally fast it's all unravelling for BushCo. Josh has the most fascinating tidbits from the document dump and reports in the NYT and WaPo. It's important to keep in mind while reading all of this that Josh is not given to flights of giddy fancy, making some of his conclusions after tonight's developments all the more encouraging. First this:

...Perhaps as telling, according to the new Times article, Kyle Sampson, Alberto Gonzales's Chief of Staff and the guy who was actually in charge of drawing up the list ... well, he resigned today. Believe me, his boss won't long outlast him. And one other tidbit -- Sampson had a partner in assembling the list: then-White House Counsel Harriet Miers. [emphasis mine]

Sampson's resignation is huge, and from Josh's fingertips to Gonzales's ear, is all I can say. But wait, there's more! One of the more important issues emerging from the story is the intense focus on voter fraud, and the lagging efforts by these USAs to do everything in their power to keep people from voting.

The very short version of this story is that Republicans habitually make claims about voter fraud. But the charges are almost invariably bogus. And in most if not every case the claims are little more than stalking horses for voter suppression efforts. That may sound like a blanket charge. But I've reported on and written about this issue at great length. And there's simply no denying the truth of it. So this becomes a critical backdrop to understanding what happened in some of these cases. Why didn't the prosecutors pursue indictments when GOP operatives started yakking about voter fraud? Almost certainly because there just wasn't any evidence for it.

Lack of evidence, however, apparently wasn't a good enough reason for Gonzo, Rove and Bush. If you didn't purge your quota of potential Democratic voters, off with your head!

And finally, to a nail being firmly planted in Pete Domenici's senatorial career coffin:

And here's the piece in the Post story which should lead to Sen. Domenici's departure from the senate ...

One e-mail from Miers's deputy, William Kelley, on the day of the Dec. 7 firings said Domenici's chief of staff "is happy as a clam" about Iglesias. Sampson wrote in an e-mail a week later: "Domenici is going to send over names tomorrow (not even waiting for Iglesias's body to cool)."

The massive amounts of information and the speed with which it is all happening leads Josh to a conclusion so hopeful it makes one giddy, at least on this issue:

We now know that Gonzales, McNulty and Moschella each lied to Congress. We know that the purge was a plan that began at the White House -- and it was overseen by two of President Bush's closest lieutenants in Washington -- Miers and Gonzales. Sampson is the second resignation. There will certainly be more.

And remember this key point: The 'document dump' is meant to get bad news out of the way fast. But it's always a hedge. It never includes the really bad stuff. And if you're not in deep crisis mode, ya' never do it on a Monday.

Lorne Michaels' crystal ball. Check out this transcript from the December 16, 2000 episode of Saturday Night Live that was replayed Sunday on The Chris Matthews Show:

George W. Bush (Will Farrell): It’s official---I’m the president! It’s gonna be cool! Hey...Hey...maybe I’ll start a war. Wars are like executions supersized! Did you ever start a war?

Al Gore (Darrel Hammond): No, George, I never did.

Bush: I hope I can do it. That Dick Cheney’s gonna be one tough boss.

Gore: Actually, George, you’re gonna be his boss.

Bush: HehHehHeh...don’t I wish it.

Then wasn't really that hard to predict, was it?

Way-too-fond farewell Secretary of the Army Francis Harvey---who was fired for incompetence over the Walter Reed scandal---got a lavish send-off Friday with full military honors (Americablog has another cringe-worthy pic here). In fairness, his goodbye cake was only five layers instead of the usual six. In yer face, pal. On this date in 1877, in Farmington, Maine, earmuffs were patented by Chester Greenwood. Or as we call him up here in Wisconsin: The Chosen One.

Doing the right thing. Here we go again: another pharmacist allegedly denying a woman access to the morning-after pill. Kudos to Kroger for laying down the law:

"We believe that medication is a private patient matter," said Meghan Glynn, a Kroger spokeswoman. "Our role as a pharmacy operator is to furnish medication in accordance with the doctor's prescription or as requested by a patient."

Meanwhile, the number of complaints about patients not being able to get their Viagra prescriptions filled has risen

Gonzo lied to Congress ThinkProgress puts the pieces together:

On Jan. 18, Attorney General Alberto Gonzales assured the Senate Judiciary Committee that the administration never intended to take advantage of it:

GONZALES: And so let me publicly sort of preempt perhaps a question you’re going to ask me, and that is: I am fully committed, as the administration’s fully committed, to ensure that, with respect to every United States attorney position in this country, we will have a presidentially appointed, Senate-confirmed United States attorney.

I think a United States attorney who I view as the leader, law enforcement leader, my representative in the community — I think he has greater imprimatur of authority, if in fact that person’s been confirmed by the Senate.

But in mid-December, an e-mail by Gonzales’s chief of staff, D. Kyle Sampson (who resigned yesterday), showed that the Justice Department clearly intended to skirt the Senate altogether and use the Patriot Act provision to appoint U.S. attorneys that would serve until the end of Bush’s term:

There is some risk that we’ll lose the authority, but if we don’t ever exercise it then what’s the point of having it?

Gonzales also told the Senate Judiciary Committee that the Justice Department was "working with home state senators to get U.S. attorneys nominated." But as the Washington Post notes, e-mails show that "as early as last August," Justice officials "discussed bypassing the two Democratic senators in Arkansas, who normally would have had input into the appointment."

Impeachment for Gonzales, you say? How about prison?

Who supports the truth? Pretzeldent still sending wounded troops to Iraq.

'Hurricane FEMA.' Story in The New York Times yesterday says that several displaced Katrina victims were summarily booted from their FEMA trailers earlier this month (with a whopping 48 hours notice!), "even before the agency had decided where they would go." But at least there's a happy ending...or not:

Shametha LaFrance and her five children were moved from Yorkshire into another FEMA mobile home, where, on the second day, the toilet backed up and the water stopped running.

Darcelin Turner, 49, was relocated to a trailer in Belle Chasse, more than an hour away. She commutes every morning to bring her children to their school in Hammond; she does not want to transfer them again.

Several others who moved to a site near the Hammond airport said that the new park is crime-ridden and that they would prefer to be back at Yorkshire. Out of fear, they said, they venture outside less and keep a close watch on their children.

I still can’t decide what I admire most about this administration, the compassion or the competence.

Submitted by RKing on