Sunday, April 30, 2006

Suddenly, Out of Nowhere, The Truthiness Appeared

See the entire performance here at You Tube: Part 1 Part 2 Part 3

C&L has video from it too.

[Update] Send Stephen Colbert a thank you.

Mark Smith, the Whitehouse AP correspondent who intro'd Stephen, couldn't have given more fair a warning for what was to follow, and chimpy's face right after he says this is priceless:

Colbert: The press is destroying America"Mr President usually you and the politicians are the ones in the crosshairs at this dinner. Tonight, no one is safe."

Colbert Lampoons Bush at White House Correspondents Dinner-- President Not Amused?

E&P: A blistering comedy “tribute” to President Bush by Comedy Central’s faux talk show host Stephen Colbert at the White House Correspondent Dinner Saturday night left George and Laura Bush unsmiling at its close. (...)

Colbert, who spoke in the guise of his talk show character, who ostensibly supports the president strongly, urged the Bush to ignore his low approval ratings, saying they were based on reality, “and reality has a well-known liberal bias.”

He attacked those in the press who claim that the shake-up at the White House was merely re-arranging the deck chairs on the Titanic. “This administration is soaring, not sinking,” he said. “If anything, they are re-arranging the deck chairs on the Hindenburg.” (...)
Stephen tiene cajones muchos grandesI really liked the hand gesture he offered to Scalia, and I must say, to Scalia's credit, he laughed heartily. Chimpy, on the other hand, wasn't taking it so well.
He noted former Ambassador Joseph Wilson in the crowd, just three tables away from Karl Rove, and that he had brought " Valerie Plame." Then, worried that he had named her, he corrected himself, as Bush aides might do, "Uh, I mean... he brought Joseph Wilson's wife." He might have "dodged the bullet," he said, as prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald wasn't there.

Colbert also made biting cracks about missing WMDs, “photo ops” on aircraft carriers and at hurricane disasters, melting glaciers and Vice President Cheney shooting people in the face. He advised the crowd, "if anybody needs anything at their tables, speak slowly and clearly on into your table numbers and somebody from the N.S.A. will be right over with a cocktail." (..)

Those seated near Bush told E&P's Joe Strupp, who was elsewhere in the room, that Bush had quickly turned from an amused guest to an obviously offended target as Colbert’s comments brought up his low approval ratings and problems in Iraq.

Several veterans of past dinners, who requested anonymity, said the presentation was more directed at attacking the president than in the past. Several said previous hosts, like Jay Leno, equally slammed both the White House and the press corps.

“This was anti-Bush,” said one attendee. “Usually they go back and forth between us and him.” Another noted that Bush quickly turned unhappy. “You could see he stopped smiling about halfway through Colbert,” he reported. ...(more)
USA Today had a piece on it too:Bush, Celebrities Attend Press Corps Dinner

Just as he so often brags about, Stephen Colbert definitely has balls. I don't even know how he manages to walk. The man needs a wheelbarrow. He was really showing them off earlier this week on his show....

Colbert shakes up Bill Kristol over PNAC ties

Kristol: Ahh--I think...hehe yea--I'm speechless..
Earlier this week on his show, Colbert caught Bill Kristol completely off guard when he confronted him about PNAC. You never see anyone in the corporate media bring up the group founded by Kristol, Cheney, and Rumsfeld that openly made plans to invade Iraq since back when Clinton was still the President.

H/T to STOP George from the comments at Bradblog for the Colbert .gifs

Peace Takes Courage

This story really hits home to me. I don't know Ava personally but her videos have always meant a lot to me. I've been linking to nearly every video she's made ever since the 3rd day of this blog.
15-yr-old gets death threats for anti-war video

MA Liberal at Dailykos: It seems that a young woman by the name of Ava Lowery, a 15-year-old from Alabama has been getting death threats for a powerful video she produced called "WWJD" (What Would Jesus Do)
So Ava made a video about it.

Now, that's courage. How is it that people can be so filled with hate? Nothing bad had better ever come to Ava.

I this girl.

Friday, April 28, 2006

Fitzmas Time In The City?

Prosecutor Weighs Charges Against Rove in Leak Case
NYT: Patrick J. Fitzgerald, the special prosecutor in the C.I.A. leak case, is expected to decide in the next two to three weeks whether to bring perjury charges against Karl Rove, the powerful adviser to President Bush, lawyers involved in the case said Thursday.

With the completion of Mr. Rove's fifth appearance before the grand jury on Wednesday, Mr. Fitzgerald is now believed to have assembled all of the facts necessary to determine whether to seek an indictment of Mr. Rove or drop the case. ...(more)
Now, before I go getting my hopes too far up (as if they're not already), let's take a step back and take a look at why Rove might have been testifying before the GJ for a 5th time. At first glance there appears to be a glaring contradiction between Leopold's reporting that Rove testified after having received a "target letter", and Rove's atty's claim that:
AP: Rove "testified voluntarily and unconditionally at the request of Special Counsel Patrick Fitzgerald to explore a matter raised since Mr. Rove's last appearance," Luskin said in a statement. "Mr. Fitzgerald has affirmed that he has made no decision concerning charges."
Over at the Whiskey Bar, Billmon serves up a sobering dose of reality that seemingly reconciles that connundrum:

... I know Rove thinks he can tapdance his way out of anything, and Luskin may have every bit as high an opinion of his client's cleverness as the Evil One does himself. But still, given the stakes, and Patrick Fitzgerald's won-loss record, it seems to me Luskin is skating close to the edge of malpractice, if not over it. Being the guy who helped the president's brain get himself indicted is not a good way to boost your future billable hours.

Unless, of course, Rove wasn't there in the role of possible target, trying to fast talk his way out of an indictment, but rather in the role of a cooperating witness, delivering on his end of a plea bargain. (...)

This is precisely what Raw Story (which is compiling a pretty good record of its own in this case) said was in the process of going down last month:
Karl Rove, Deputy White House Chief of Staff and special adviser to President George W. Bush, has recently been providing information to special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald in the ongoing CIA leak investigation, sources close to the investigation say.
According to several Pentagon sources close to Rove and others familiar with the inquiry, Bush's senior adviser tipped off Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald to information that led to the recent "discovery" of 250 pages of missing email from the office of Vice President Dick Cheney. (...)
Karl Rove has described his three and a half hour meeting with a grand jury as grueling, and is more worried about being prosecuted than ever, MSNBC is reporting.
The movie is The French Connection, and the scene is the one in which Popeye Doyle and his partner bust into a junkie bar, looking for a lead on the big shipment that's supposed to be hitting town. They rough up the regulars a bit, then Doyle picks one out and takes him back to the men's room -- for what we assume will be a private skull cracking session. But, when the door closes, we learn that the junkie is actually a snitch. Doyle finds out what the guy knows, and then, as he's getting ready to leave, asks him: "OK, where do you want it?" The junkie points to his eye and Doyle slugs him -- hard enough to draw blood. So the others won't get suspicious, you see.
It looks to me like Karl is showing off his bruises.
OK, I just threw out what I thought were a few of the tastiest morsals to Billmon's argument. You really should go read the whole thing. It's pretty damn compelling IMO.

Jane's not buying it though:

... Fitzgerald has quite a bit on Rover. Some think this is an indication Rove has flipped; I’m with Digby who thinks it’s more likely due to this:
Rove was no lawyer but he carried a kind of preturnatural confidence in court cases. Like in his high school debates, he always felt better than anybody in the room. He could beat anybody with the strength of his argument or the weight of his will. When a team of blue-chip lawyers in a tobacco case grilled Rove for a deposition some years earlier, he was not just confident, but arrogant, fending off their questions with playful insults. On the stand in the Kay Bailey Hutchison trial, he was masterful in frustrating the prosecution. Now he had a former U.S. Attorney General in his cross hairs, and as Rove sat at the table in the federal courthouse, he turned his head slowly and looked over at the defense table with the thin sliver of a smile. It was a dark smile, determined, and there was not mistaking the message: You are my enemy and you will pay.(Bush’s Brain p. 190)
Of course, as many others have noted, as far as the rats are concerned, it’s all about the 2006 election. They will do anything, say anything, sell anybody out and devote all their energies to stalling shamelessly to make sure Democrats never get subpoena power and start investigating their sorry asses. ...(more)
Huh? Now I'm not so sure what to think. That last paragraph though, especially "it’s all about the 2006 election", that much you can be sure of. It sure seems to me that throwing Cheney under the bus would be just about the best thing they could do to that end.

We'll just have to wait with bated breath and see how this thing plays out.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Rove About To Exit Stage Left?

ThinkProgress: Rove Meeting With Special Prosecutor About Leak Case
John King, CNN’s political correspondent, just reported:
CNN is told by three force sources familiar with the investigation that this morning Karl Rove, the president’s deputy chief of staff and top political adviser, is meeting with his attorney and is to meet this morning — if it is not already under way — with the special prosecutor, Patrick Fitzgerald. ...(more)
[Update] video via C&L: MSNBC/CNN Reports: Rove to testify

It's too soon to know, but I'm getting the impression Rove's days are numbered, and that the number is considerably less than the 999 days left in chimpy's Presidency. AP has more.

CIA Leak Prosecutor Goes to Grand Jury
AP: Special counsel Patrick Fitzgerald early Wednesday went before a federal grand jury looking into the leak of the identity of undercover CIA officer Valerie Plame.

It is believed to be only the second session the prosecutor has had with the grand jury which is examining questions left unanswered in the Plame affair. The only other time Fitzgerald was seen going before the new panel was Dec. 7. (...)

Fitzgerald's unfinished business includes White House deputy chief of staff Karl Rove, who was under investigation when the previous grand jury that indicted Libby expired. ...(more)
[UPDATE] Leopold reports that Rove is testifying because he was named as a target ...

Truthout: Target Letter Drives Rove Back to Grand Jury

Monday, April 24, 2006

Why We Fight

With their tanks and their bombs, And their bombs and their guns. In your head, in your head, they are dyingI posted the trailer to this movie a while back. Now that it has aired on BBC, you can watch the whole thing online and even download it, thanks to Information Clearinghouse.
Why We Fight

What are the forces that shape and propel American militarism? This award-winning film provides an inside look at the anatomy of the American war machine.

Is American foreign policy dominated by the idea of military supremacy? Has the military become too important in American life?
This is a very important movie. It's 1:40 minutes long. If you haven't seen it yet, I urge you to make time to watch it. You won't be disappointed.

Progress in Iraq?

I haven't written much about Iraq lately, or much about Iraq at all really. It's hard to know where to begin.

Well, for starters, things sure aren't getting any better in Iraq. Eight US soldiers and dozens of Iraqis were killed over the weekend, and car bombs again rocked Baghdad monday morning, as work began on forming a new government there.

I wish that type of news was surprising, but sadly, those type of stories have become more and more frequent. Of course, as the Whitehouse would like you to know, all of what is happening in Iraq isn't bad. It's just mostly bad. There is always the National Review if you only want to hear the good news...
Iraq finally has a new prime-minister designate, Jawad al-Maliki. Maliki lived in exile during Saddam's reign, fleeing Iraq after a death sentence was placed on him. He has been active since returning to Iraq, working on de-Baathification and on the country's new constitution.

As much of the reporting on his appointment makes clear, it isn't known what kind of leader Maliki will be, but we should be encouraged by the fact that both Sunni and Kurdish political leaders have said they will support him.

In his first public speech, Maliki said that private militias will not be allowed, and must disband or join with the army.
Even with all of that success in Iraq, it's apparent the US isn't planning on leaving Iraq anytime soon. If it's not because of the oil (yeah right), then I don't understand. I mean Saddam is gone, they have a government, and there were no WMD's, so why are we committing ourselves to being there for another decade?
US forces planning for the long haul in Iraq
The US armed forces are planning to stay in Iraq for at least a decade, a media report claimed on Monday, quoting military strategists.

A report in Newsweek said that the 38 square kilometres mini-city and airport Balad was the evidence that American forces were preparing for the long haul.
They might be laying the groundwork for a decade of occupation, but I really don't believe the American public, or the world, will put up with 10 more years of this shit...
Stolen Away

As criminal gangs run amuck in Iraq, hundreds of girls have gone missing. Are they being sold for sex?
No one knows how many young women have been kidnapped and sold since the fall of Saddam Hussein in 2003. The Organization for Women's Freedom in Iraq, based in Baghdad, estimates from anecdotal evidence that more than 2,000 Iraqi women have gone missing in that period. A Western official in Baghdad who monitors the status of women in Iraq thinks that figure may be inflated but admits that sex trafficking, virtually nonexistent under Saddam, has become a serious issue. The collapse of law and order and the absence of a stable government have allowed criminal gangs, alongside terrorists, to run amuck. Meanwhile, some aid workers say, bureaucrats in the ministries have either paralyzed with red tape or frozen the assets of charities that might have provided refuge for these girls. As a result, sex trafficking has been allowed to fester unchecked.

"It is a problem, definitely," says the official, who has heard specific reports from Iraqi aid workers about girls being kidnapped and sold to brothels. "Unfortunately, the security situation doesn't allow us to follow up on this." The U.S. State Department's June 2005 trafficking report says the extent of the problem in Iraq is "difficult to appropriately gauge" but cites an unknown number of Iraqi women and girls being sent to Yemen, Syria, Jordan and Persian Gulf countries for sexual exploitation. Statistics are further made murky by tribal tradition. Families are usually so shamed by the disappearance of a daughter that they do not report kidnappings. And the resulting stigma of compromised chastity is such that even if the girl should resurface, she may never be taken back by her relations. ...(more)
Abuses found in hiring at Iraq bases

Violations of laws on human-trafficking prompt U.S. military's order for change
The top U.S. commander in Iraq has ordered sweeping changes for privatized military support operations after confirming violations of laws against human-trafficking and other abuses by contractors involving possibly thousands of foreign workers on American bases, according to records obtained by the Chicago Tribune.

Gen. George W. Casey Jr. ordered that contractors be required by May 1 to return passports that have been illegally confiscated from laborers on U.S. bases after determining that such practices violated U.S. laws against trafficking for forced or coerced labor. Human brokers and subcontractors from South Asia to the Middle East have worked together to import thousands of laborers into Iraq from impoverished countries.

Two memos obtained by the Tribune indicate that Casey's office concluded that the practice of confiscating passports from such workers was widespread on American bases and in violation of the U.S. anti-trafficking laws. ...(more)
First off, props to Gen Casey for apparently trying to get to the bottom of this problem. Why do they need to bring in forced or coerced labor from other countries when putting Iraqis to work is clearly needed to win the hearts and minds? Somehow I don't think the hearts and minds are going to be won as long as young women are being shipped out as sex slaves and shipping in slave labor.

I have to wonder if anything will really change though. Haliburton has frequently been cited for human trafficking abuses, and instead of stopping the practice they just lobby against it so that nothing ever gets done. Perhaps you remember this story from last December.
U.S. stalls on human trafficking

Pentagon has yet to ban contractors from using forced labor
Chicago Tribune: A proposal prohibiting defense contractor involvement in human trafficking for forced prostitution and labor was drafted by the Pentagon last summer, but five defense lobbying groups oppose key provisions and a final policy still appears to be months away, according to those involved and Defense Department records.

The lobbying groups opposing the plan say they're in favor of the idea in principle, but said they believe that implementing key portions of it overseas is unrealistic. They represent thousands of firms, including some of the industry's biggest names, such as DynCorp International and Halliburton subsidiary KBR, both of which have been linked to trafficking-related concerns.
Just sickening. The US should nationalize the defense industry altogether. All of the Haliburtons and Dyncorps should be absorbed by the Pentagon. These companies don't bring the price down for the taxpayer, they extort the Pentagon and the taxpayer. Our military and our leaders have become puppets to these corporate behemoths. Watch Why We Fight.

Then there's this story.
Inspectors Find More Torture at Iraqi Jails

Top General's Pledge To Protect Prisoners 'Not Being Followed'
Last Nov. 13, U.S. soldiers found 173 incarcerated men, some of them emaciated and showing signs of torture, in a secret bunker in an Interior Ministry compound in central Baghdad. The soldiers immediately transferred the men to a separate detention facility to protect them from further abuse, the U.S. military reported.

Since then, there have been at least six joint U.S.-Iraqi inspections of detention centers, most of them run by Iraq's Shiite Muslim-dominated Interior Ministry. Two sources involved with the inspections, one Iraqi official and one U.S. official, said abuse of prisoners was found at all the sites visited through February. U.S. military authorities confirmed that signs of severe abuse were observed at two of the detention centers.

But U.S. troops have not responded by removing all the detainees, as they did in November. Instead, according to U.S. and Iraqi officials, only a handful of the most severely abused detainees at a single site were removed for medical treatment. Prisoners at two other sites were removed to alleviate overcrowding. U.S. and Iraqi authorities left the rest where they were.

This practice of leaving the detainees in place has raised concerns that detainees now face additional threats. It has also prompted fresh questions from the inspectors about whether the United States has honored a pledge by Marine Gen. Peter Pace, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, that U.S. troops would attempt to stop inhumane treatment if they saw it. ...(more)
Forced labor, kidnappings and sex slaves, and torture. Is this the freedom and democracy chimpy has been pitching? Are these just unintended occurrences, perhaps enabled by an incompetent leadership, or are these things all part of the actual plan? You know, the old Orwellian say they're doing one thing but then do exactly the opposite, kind of like the Clear Skies, Healthy Forests, and No Child Left Behind?

:(

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Manipulating the Intelligence: Macro

David Corn: Is there now a partisan loyalty oath at the CIA?

Buried in the Washington Post article on the firing of Mary McCarthy at the CIA...

The White House also has recently barraged the agency with questions about the political affiliations of some of its senior intelligence officers, according to intelligence officials.
Hmmm?

Not surprisingly, Josh some choice words to add...

CIA officers don't work under the same civil service rules as most government employees. But I still don't think this sort of political purge activity is permitted.

Not that we should be surprised about this. When Porter Goss took over as DCI he brought over with him a number of GOP political operatives. Take the CIA head of Public Affairs Goss installed: Jennifer Millerwise Dyck. She was a flack from the Bush-Cheney 2004 campaign. Before that she worked for Goss on the Hill. And before that she worked for Ari Fleischer at the House Ways and Means Committee. ...(more)
I take no comfort knowing that our CIA is becoming a partisan operation. Even more so that they have been doing the same thing at the State Dept. I guess now the Whitehouse will be able to get their manipulated intel through without a dissenting opinion now. That ought to come in handy so they can bomb Iran.

The underlying issue here isn't about the leak of classified material, it's about government wrongdoing. This administration has bent/broken the rules and scoffed at any checks on its power from day one, and they've gotten away with it only because they have enjoyed a just as corrupt ever compliant Congress. In order to keep the whole thing out of the public arena, they just classify whatever the hell they're doing as secret.

McCarthy knew that the proper channels for whistleblowing this type activity do not exist, especially under this administration. This administration doesn't give a rat's ass about the law, and they go after anyone who tries to expose it. That should be obvious to everyone by now.

These are just a few of the whistleblower cases I know about under this administration, but I'd say it's a pretty safe bet there are hundreds if not thousands more that we don't get to read about:...

Sgt. Frank "Greg" Ford

Bunnatine Greenhouse

Russell Tice

Stephen Heller

Tommy Ray Hook

Richard Convertino

Sibel Edmonds

And we all know what happened to Joe Wilson when he tried to call this administration to account.

Mary McCarthy knows how the system works. She also knows the deck has been stacked by this administration. The checks in our system of checks and balances are gone, and our Republican dominated government is morally bankrupt. When she saw first hand how the Bush administration was violating the Geneva convention using secret prisons, and she did what was morally the right thing to do. Our government leaders cannot be allowed to break the law by classifying their law-breaking as secret.

It may have been a fireable offense what Mary McCarthy did, but it was absolutely the moral thing for her to do. That fact played no small part in earning one of the reporters she leaked to, Dana Priest at the Washington Post, a Pulitzer Prize for national security reporting.

Our government needs more Mary McCarthys.

Let's Impeach the President

Huffington Post has video of an interview with Neil Young talking about his upcoming protest album, "Living With War" and the song "Let's Impeach the President."

The cd will be free to stream over the internet sometime over the next week. I'm really looking forward to hearing it and seeing what kind of a reaction it will get.

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Our Right To Free Speech Is Gone


Reuters: A heckler from the Falun Gong spiritual movement who disrupted a White House appearance by Chinese President Hu Jintao was charged on Friday with harassing, intimidating and threatening a foreign official...
And Condi & Cheney Snoozed Through The Whole Thing



Is it really too much to ask that they stay awake on the job?

Uh-oh. This is bad

Friday, April 21, 2006

Dear Mr President

OMG, Awesome song by Pink.

I....♥♥.....♥♥
...♥......♥......♥
....♥............♥
......♥........♥
..............it!!


It totally blew me away.

h/t Joe at Americablog:
"You have to see it. Seriously."

Dixieland Band

Freeway Blogger

I just pre-ordered the new Dixie Chicks CD.
It was only $10, well $13 with S&H.
You can order one here.


Listen to their new song
"Not Ready To Make Nice"


Or watch the video.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

4/20 NPR is "Celebrating Stoner's Day"

On Weeeed!Listen to the episode on Morning Edition,

Did everyone get a cyber-hit of the conspiracy Weed?

I didn't mean to skip anybody. There's plenty to go around.

lol

I Have a Dream...

By Jason Leopold

Truthout: Just as the news broke Wednesday about Scott McClellan resigning as White House press secretary and Deputy Chief of Staff Karl Rove shedding some of his policy duties, Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald met with the grand jury hearing evidence in the CIA leak case and introduced additional evidence against Rove, attorneys and other US officials close to the investigation said.

The grand jury session in federal court in Washington, DC, sources close to the case said, was the first time this year that Fitzgerald told the jurors that he would soon present them with a list of criminal charges he intends to file against Rove in hopes of having the grand jury return a multi-count indictment against Rove.

In an interview Wednesday, Rove's attorney, Robert Luskin, confirmed that Rove remains a "subject" of Fitzgerald's two-year-old probe.

"Mr. Rove is still a subject of the investigation," Luskin said. In a previous interview, Luskin asserted that Rove would not be indicted by Fitzgerald, but he was unwilling to make that prediction again Wednesday.

"Mr. Fitzgerald hasn't made any decision on the charges and I can't speculate what the outcome will be," Luskin said. "Mr. Rove has cooperated completely with the investigation."

Fitzgerald is said to have introduced more evidence Wednesday alleging Rove lied to FBI investigators and the grand jury when he was questioned about how he found out that Valerie Plame Wilson worked for the CIA and whether he shared that information with the media, attorneys close to the case said.

Fitzgerald told the grand jury that Rove lied to investigators and the prosecutor eight out of the nine times he was questioned about the leak and also tried to cover-up his role in disseminating Plame Wilson's CIA status to at least two reporters.

Additionally, an FBI investigator reread to jurors testimony from other witnesses in the case that purportedly implicates Rove in playing a role in the leak and the campaign to discredit Plame Wilson's husband, former Ambassador Joseph Wilson, whose criticism of the Bush administration's pre-war Iraq intelligence lead to his wife being unmasked as a covert CIA operative. ...(more)

(Related Post)
It's Beginning To Look A Lot Like Fitzmas...

Must See Gore's Award Winning Film...




Washington Post: Boring Al Gore has made a movie. It is on the most boring of all subjects -- global warming. It is more than 80 minutes long, and the first two or three go by slowly enough that you can notice that Gore has gained weight and that his speech still seems oddly out of sync. But a moment later, I promise, you will be captivated, and then riveted and then scared out of your wits. Our Earth is going to hell in a handbasket. ...(more)

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Rolling Stone Nails Chimpy Hard

This is a really long great forward-looking take on the Bush Presidency's place in history. You need look no further than the cover to see where this is going. Even though this is a very long post, I have actually edited most of the article out. If you have more time, please do read the whole thing.

BY SEAN WILENTZ

George W. Bush's presidency appears headed for colossal historical disgrace. Barring a cataclysmic event on the order of the terrorist attacks of September 11th, after which the public might rally around the White House once again, there seems to be little the administration can do to avoid being ranked on the lowest tier of U.S. presidents. And that may be the best-case scenario. Many historians are now wondering whether Bush, in fact, will be remembered as the very worst president in all of American history. (...)

How does any president's reputation sink so low? The reasons are best understood as the reverse of those that produce presidential greatness. In almost every survey of historians dating back to the 1940s, three presidents have emerged as supreme successes: George Washington, Abraham Lincoln and Franklin D. Roosevelt. These were the men who guided the nation through what historians consider its greatest crises: the founding era after the ratification of the Constitution, the Civil War, and the Great Depression and Second World War. Presented with arduous, at times seemingly impossible circumstances, they rallied the nation, governed brilliantly and left the republic more secure than when they entered office.

Calamitous presidents, faced with enormous difficulties -- Buchanan, Andrew Johnson, Hoover and now Bush -- have divided the nation, governed erratically and left the nation worse off. In each case, different factors contributed to the failure: disastrous domestic policies, foreign-policy blunders and military setbacks, executive misconduct, crises of credibility and public trust. Bush, however, is one of the rarities in presidential history: He has not only stumbled badly in every one of these key areas, he has also displayed a weakness common among the greatest presidential failures -- an unswerving adherence to a simplistic ideology that abjures deviation from dogma as heresy, thus preventing any pragmatic adjustment to changing realities. Repeatedly, Bush has undone himself, a failing revealed in each major area of presidential performance. (...)

THE CREDIBILITY GAP

No previous president appears to have squandered the public's trust more than Bush has. In the 1840s, President James Polk gained a reputation for deviousness over his alleged manufacturing of the war with Mexico and his supposedly covert pro-slavery views. Abraham Lincoln, then an Illinois congressman, virtually labeled Polk a liar when he called him, from the floor of the House, "a bewildered, confounded and miserably perplexed man" and denounced the war as "from beginning to end, the sheerest deception." But the swift American victory in the war, Polk's decision to stick by his pledge to serve only one term and his sudden death shortly after leaving office spared him the ignominy over slavery that befell his successors in the 1850s. With more than two years to go in Bush's second term and no swift victory in sight, Bush's reputation will probably have no such reprieve. (...)

More than half the country now considers Bush dishonest and untrustworthy, and a decisive plurality consider him less trustworthy than his predecessor, Bill Clinton -- a figure still attacked by conservative zealots as "Slick Willie." (...)

BUSH AT WAR (...)

No other president -- Lincoln in the Civil War, FDR in World War II, John F. Kennedy at critical moments of the Cold War -- faced with such a monumental set of military and political circumstances failed to embrace the opposing political party to help wage a truly national struggle. But Bush shut out and even demonized the Democrats. Top military advisers and even members of the president's own Cabinet who expressed any reservations or criticisms of his policies -- including retired Marine Corps Gen. Anthony Zinni and former Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill -- suffered either dismissal, smear attacks from the president's supporters or investigations into their alleged breaches of national security. The wise men who counseled Bush's father, including James Baker and Brent Scowcroft, found their entreaties brusquely ignored by his son. When asked if he ever sought advice from the elder Bush, the president responded, "There is a higher Father that I appeal to."

All the while, Bush and the most powerful figures in the administration, Vice President Dick Cheney and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, were planting the seeds for the crises to come by diverting the struggle against Al Qaeda toward an all-out effort to topple their pre-existing target, Saddam Hussein. In a deliberate political decision, the administration stampeded the Congress and a traumatized citizenry into the Iraq invasion on the basis of what has now been demonstrated to be tendentious and perhaps fabricated evidence of an imminent Iraqi threat to American security, one that the White House suggested included nuclear weapons. Instead of emphasizing any political, diplomatic or humanitarian aspects of a war on Iraq -- an appeal that would have sounded too "sensitive," as Cheney once sneered -- the administration built a "Bush Doctrine" of unprovoked, preventive warfare, based on speculative threats and embracing principles previously abjured by every previous generation of U.S. foreign policy-makers, even at the height of the Cold War. The president did so with premises founded, in the case of Iraq, on wishful thinking. He did so while proclaiming an expansive Wilsonian rhetoric of making the world safe for democracy -- yet discarding the multilateralism and systems of international law (including the Geneva Conventions) that emanated from Wilson's idealism. He did so while dismissing intelligence that an American invasion could spark a long and bloody civil war among Iraq's fierce religious and ethnic rivals, reports that have since proved true. And he did so after repeated warnings by military officials such as Gen. Eric Shinseki that pacifying postwar Iraq would require hundreds of thousands of American troops -- accurate estimates that Paul Wolfowitz and other Bush policy gurus ridiculed as "wildly off the mark." (...)

BUSH AT HOME

Bush came to office in 2001 pledging to govern as a "compassionate conservative," more moderate on domestic policy than the dominant right wing of his party. The pledge proved hollow, as Bush tacked immediately to the hard right. Previous presidents and their parties have suffered when their actions have belied their campaign promises. (...) But no president has surpassed Bush in departing so thoroughly from his original campaign persona.

The heart of Bush's domestic policy has turned out to be nothing more than a series of massively regressive tax cuts -- a return, with a vengeance, to the discredited Reagan-era supply-side faith that Bush's father once ridiculed as "voodoo economics." Bush crowed in triumph in February 2004, "We cut taxes, which basically meant people had more money in their pocket." The claim is bogus for the majority of Americans, as are claims that tax cuts have led to impressive new private investment and job growth. While wiping out the solid Clinton-era federal surplus and raising federal deficits to staggering record levels, Bush's tax policies have necessitated hikes in federal fees, state and local taxes, and co-payment charges to needy veterans and families who rely on Medicaid, along with cuts in loan programs to small businesses and college students, and in a wide range of state services. The lion's share of benefits from the tax cuts has gone to the very richest Americans, while new business investment has increased at a historically sluggish rate since the peak of the last business cycle five years ago. (...)

The monster deficits, caused by increased federal spending combined with the reduction of revenue resulting from the tax cuts, have also placed Bush's administration in a historic class of its own with respect to government borrowing. According to the Treasury Department, the forty-two presidents who held office between 1789 and 2000 borrowed a combined total of $1.01 trillion from foreign governments and financial institutions. But between 2001 and 2005 alone, the Bush White House borrowed $1.05 trillion, more than all of the previous presidencies combined. Having inherited the largest federal surplus in American history in 2001, he has turned it into the largest deficit ever -- with an even higher deficit, $423 billion, forecast for fiscal year 2006. Yet Bush -- sounding much like Herbert Hoover in 1930 predicting that "prosperity is just around the corner" -- insists that he will cut federal deficits in half by 2009, and that the best way to guarantee this would be to make permanent his tax cuts, which helped cause the deficit in the first place! (...)

The one noncorporate constituency to which Bush has consistently deferred is the Christian right, both in his selections for the federal bench and in his implications that he bases his policies on premillennialist, prophetic Christian doctrine. (...) The White House's sectarian positions -- over stem-cell research, the teaching of pseudoscientific "intelligent design," global population control, the Terri Schiavo spectacle and more -- have led some to conclude that Bush has promoted the transformation of the GOP into what former Republican strategist Kevin Phillips calls "the first religious party in U.S. history." (...)

The Bush White House's indifference to domestic problems and science alike culminated in the catastrophic responses to Hurricane Katrina. Scientists had long warned that global warming was intensifying hurricanes, but Bush ignored them -- much as he and his administration sloughed off warnings from the director of the National Hurricane Center before Katrina hit. (...)

PRESIDENTIAL MISCONDUCT

Virtually every presidential administration dating back to George Washington's has faced charges of misconduct and threats of impeachment against the president or his civil officers. (...)

The full report, of course, has yet to come on the Bush administration. Because Bush, unlike Reagan or Clinton, enjoys a fiercely partisan and loyal majority in Congress, his administration has been spared scrutiny. Yet that mighty advantage has not prevented the indictment of Vice President Dick Cheney's chief of staff, I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, on charges stemming from an alleged major security breach in the Valerie Plame matter. (...) It has not forestalled the arrest and indictment of Bush's top federal procurement official, David Safavian, and the continuing investigations into Safavian's intrigues with the disgraced Republican lobbyist Jack Abramoff, recently sentenced to nearly six years in prison -- investigations in which some prominent Republicans, including former Christian Coalition executive director Ralph Reed (and current GOP aspirant for lieutenant governor of Georgia) have already been implicated, and could well produce the largest congressional corruption scandal in American history. It has not dispelled the cloud of possible indictment that hangs over others of Bush's closest advisers. (...)

History may ultimately hold Bush in the greatest contempt for expanding the powers of the presidency beyond the limits laid down by the U.S. Constitution. There has always been a tension over the constitutional roles of the three branches of the federal government. The Framers intended as much, as part of the system of checks and balances they expected would minimize tyranny. (...)

Armed with legal findings by his attorney general (and personal lawyer) Alberto Gonzales, the Bush White House has declared that the president's powers as commander in chief in wartime are limitless. No previous wartime president has come close to making so grandiose a claim. More specifically, this administration has asserted that the president is perfectly free to violate federal laws on such matters as domestic surveillance and the torture of detainees. When Congress has passed legislation to limit those assertions, Bush has resorted to issuing constitutionally dubious "signing statements," which declare, by fiat, how he will interpret and execute the law in question, even when that interpretation flagrantly violates the will of Congress. Earlier presidents, including Jackson, raised hackles by offering their own view of the Constitution in order to justify vetoing congressional acts. Bush doesn't bother with that: He signs the legislation (eliminating any risk that Congress will overturn a veto), and then governs how he pleases -- using the signing statements as if they were line-item vetoes. In those instances when Bush's violations of federal law have come to light, as over domestic surveillance, the White House has devised a novel solution: Stonewall any investigation into the violations and bid a compliant Congress simply to rewrite the laws.

Bush's alarmingly aberrant take on the Constitution is ironic. One need go back in the record less than a decade to find prominent Republicans railing against far more minor presidential legal infractions as precursors to all-out totalitarianism. "I will have no part in the creation of a constitutional double-standard to benefit the president," Sen. Bill Frist declared of Bill Clinton's efforts to conceal an illicit sexual liaison. "No man is above the law, and no man is below the law -- that's the principle that we all hold very dear in this country," Rep. Tom DeLay asserted. (...) In the face of Bush's more definitive dismissal of federal law, the silence from these quarters is deafening. (...)

Bush has failed to confront his own failures in both domestic and international affairs, above all in his ill-conceived responses to radical Islamic terrorism. Having confused steely resolve with what Ralph Waldo Emerson called "a foolish consistency . . . adored by little statesmen," Bush has become entangled in tragedies of his own making, compounding those visited upon the country by outside forces.

No historian can responsibly predict the future with absolute certainty. There are too many imponderables still to come in the two and a half years left in Bush's presidency to know exactly how it will look in 2009, let alone in 2059. There have been presidents -- Harry Truman was one -- who have left office in seeming disgrace, only to rebound in the estimates of later scholars. But so far the facts are not shaping up propitiously for George W. Bush. ...(more)
I ♥ this article!

Feingold & Progressive Patriots

Check out the video (WMP) that Feingold and the Progressive Patriots Fund put together about Bush and the NSA wiretapping scandal.

Then you can visit their website, & sign the petition.

It's Beginning To Look A Lot Like Fitzmas...

This morning we learned that Scotty McClellan is leaving and Rove's role will be reduced. I must say I'm really skeptical that any move which leaves Rove in the Whitehouse, especially if he keeps his security clearance, is anything but a window-dressing on a turdblossom, but there are whispers that seem to be getting louder that Rove may really be in deep kimchi afterall.

Fitzgerald wrapped up his federal corruption case Monday in Indiana which resulted in convictions on all counts against former Republican governor George H. Ryan. Ryan now faces up to 95 years in prison. Now that that is done, and if these whispers are true, Fitz is about to get back to work in DC bigtime.Couldn't happen to a nicer guy

Once again the vastly underrated investigative journalist Jason Leopold, perhaps second on the CIA leak case only to Murray Waas, seems to have called it back on March 28 when he wrote that Fitzgerald Will Seek New White House Indictments.
Truthout: Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald has started to prepare the paperwork to present to the grand jury seeking an indictment against White House Deputy Chief of Staff Karl Rove or National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley. ...(more)
And today we get another clue that this may indeed soon happen from Sidney Blumenthal...
Walking the White House plank
White House press secretary, Scott McClellan, departs as the investigation into Karl Rove enters into a serious new phase.
Guardian: The resignation of the White House press secretary, Scott McClellan, is an event of almost complete insignificance except insofar as the beleaguered White House presents it as an important change. Meanwhile, the secretary of defence, Donald Rumsfeld, under siege from dissenting ex-generals demanding his firing for arrogant incompetence, stays. (...)

Events that could truly shake the Bush White House to its foundation, however, may be discerned elsewhere. (...)

Two weeks ago, Fitzgerald filed a motion before the federal court in the Libby case stating that his investigation had proved that the White House engaged in "concerted action" from "a plan to discredit, punish or seek revenge against" former ambassador Joseph Wilson, who revealed that the rationale of the Iraq war was based on false information that the White House knew was bogus. Fitzgerald declared further that he had gathered "evidence that multiple officials in the White House" had outed his wife's clandestine identity to reporters as an element of revenge.

Last week, on April 12, Libby counter-filed to demand extensive documents in the possession of the prosecutor. His filing, written by his lawyers, reveals that he intends to put Karl Rove on the stand as a witness to question him about his leaking of Plame's name to reporters and presumably his role in the "concerted action" against Wilson. In his request for documents from Rove's files, Libby dropped mention of Rove's current legal status.

For months, Rove's attorney, Robert Luskin, has assured the press that his client, who was believed to be vulnerable to indictment for perjury, is in the clear. But Libby insisted that he was entitled to "disclosure of such documents" in Rove's files "even if Mr. Rove remains a subject of a continuing grand jury investigation".

Karl Rove is a subject of Fitzgerald's investigation - this is the headline buried in Libby's filing. ...(more)
[A few updates] Talk Left: Rumor: Fitz Met With Plame Grand Jury Today Re: Rove

David Corn: Rove on the Stand?

Fingers crossed!

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

WaPo Deputy Editor Admits He Needs a Sip of Koolaid...

Bullshit Juice...before he can even try to defend the paper's "Good Leak" editorial. (click pic to see the video)

ROFLMAO!!

Monday, April 17, 2006

Now This Is Frickin Hillarious!!

Great catch by...zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

"Droopy" Joe Lieberman lulls newsman to sleep!!

You just gotta check out this video.

He's snoring!!

Whitehouse Shakeup Coming?

Changes to Bush Staff Expected Soon ROFLMAO!
Washington Post: Are heads rolling at the White House? Or just Easter eggs on the South Lawn?

President Bush's new chief of staff told White House aides this morning to expect a shakeup and asked anyone who was thinking of leaving to quit now, White House spokesman Scott McClellan said. (...)

Among the White House vacancies that need to be filled are Bolten's former post as OMB director and that of domestic policy adviser, which opened up when Claude A. Allen stepped down in February while he was being investigated for an alleged retail store refund scheme. Allen was later charged with theft in the case. ...(more)
I have to agree with John that "If the White House "shake-up" doesn't get rid of Bush or Cheney, it's not a big deal"

SNL did a hillarious, almost prescient, take on this. I wonder if the writers knew about Norah O'Donnell's title at MSNBC when they wrote that part in?

Methinks they probably did. LMAO!!

Sunday, April 16, 2006

How Did All 3 WTC Buildings Manage to Fall Straight Down?


All 3 WTC buildings fell straight down. How can that have happened? How do vertical steel beams fail so uniformly that they fell straight down? I'm no physicist or engineer but I have welded more than my share of steel. To stand one beam on end and crush it straight down is not even imaginable, much less a few dozen together. It's so frickin hard to fathom how the official version could explain it happening to even one single building, but 3 different times on one day?

WTF is WTC-leaseholder Larry Silverstein talking about when he says in this video they "made the decision to just pull it"? I'd heard quotes of him saying something like that before but this is the first time I actually saw him say it. WTF?

Again, I like to entertain these "conspiracy theories" but I'm not totally convinced what happened at all. I think there's a lot of good questions finally being asked about the "official version" of events on 9-11 that really just need to be adequately answered. Instead, all I hear is an increasingly lame attempt to label the whole issue as too wacky to even address. But that aint going to fly for much longer. At some point someone needs to step up and offer a serious rebuttal if these questions are really without merit.

Blogs and the media need to not be so afraid to just ask these questions, and to seek answers.

Scholars for 9/11 Truth

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Bomb Bomb Bomb, Bomb Bomb Iran!


OMG!

This is too close to the truth.
This man must be stopped.

The Time Is Now

Friday, April 14, 2006

Meanwhile, Gas is $2.75 Gallon

Exxon Chairman Gets $400 Million Retirement Package Amid Soaring Gas Prices
''I'm just struggling to get by like everybody else.''
ABC News: Exxon Made Record Profits in 2005
Soaring gas prices are squeezing most Americans at the pump, but at least one man isn't complaining.

Last year, Exxon made the biggest profit of any company ever, $36 billion, and its retiring chairman appears to be reaping the benefits.

Exxon is giving Lee Raymond one of the most generous retirement packages in history, nearly $400 million, including pension, stock options and other perks, such as a $1 million consulting deal, two years of home security, personal security, a car and driver, and use of a corporate jet for professional purposes.

Last November, when he was still chairman of Exxon, Raymond told Congress that gas prices were high because of global supply and demand.

"We're all in this together, everywhere in the world," he testified. ...(more)
Oh, and Cheney took in $8.82 million and is getting a tax refund of about $1.9 million.

Doesn't this just piss you off?

Bushco's Iraq Lies Continue

Great vids via David Edwards' Blog...

Bush Admin. Making False Claims to Continue Iraq War

ABC News Report on False Claims about Bio-Weapons Trailers

MSNBC Countdown Interview with Journalist Who Broke Phony Bio-lab Story

ARAB TV - Iraqis Angry Over U.S. Military's Al-Zarqawi Propaganda

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Rumsfeld, Don't Go Away Mad,...

Just Go Away!


Don't Let the Door Hit You Where the Good Lord Split You
NYT: The widening circle of retired generals who have stepped forward to call for Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld's resignation is shaping up as an unusual outcry that could pose a significant challenge to Mr. Rumsfeld's leadership, current and former generals said on Thursday.

Maj. Gen. Charles H. Swannack Jr., who led troops on the ground in Iraq as recently as 2004 as the commander of the Army's 82nd Airborne Division, on Thursday became the fifth retired senior general in recent days to call publicly for Mr. Rumsfeld's ouster. Later in the day, another retired general, Maj. Gen. John Riggs, joined in the fray. ...(more)
Did they say 5 generals? Shit, it's now 6!
Reuters: Two more retired U.S. generals called for Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld to resign on Thursday, claiming the chief architect of the Iraq operation ignored years of Pentagon planning for a U.S. occupation and should be held accountable for the chaos there.

As the high-ranking officers accused Rumsfeld of arrogance and ignoring his field commanders, the White House was forced to defend a man who has been a lightning rod for criticism over a war that has helped drive President George W. Bush's public approval ratings to new lows.

Six retired generals have now called for Rumsfeld to step down, including two who spoke out on Thursday. ...(more)
[Update] Americablog weighs in...

Check out just WHO the generals are calling for Rumsfeld's resignation - they're HUGE
Among the six generals calling for Rumsfeld to resign:
* a former Secretary of the Army under Bush;
* former head of CENTCOM;
* the general who led our ground troops in Iraq; and
* general offered the #2 military job in Iraq. ...(more)

Buh Bye!

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

America

From Freedom to Fascism

This looks like it might be pretty good.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

''Has New Media Finally Arrived?''

TPM Muckraker: Abramoff-Scanlon-Reed-the Whitehouse and Election Tampering Phone Jamming

Although certainly a formal attribution would have been better, with a name like Muckraker you must know you're doing something seriously right when CNN is blatently ripping off your site for their story.

I tell you what else, If blogs and blog friendly internet news websites are ever going to rival or surpass the rightwing corporate msm as to where the majority of people will go to get informed, Josh's site: TPM Muckraker, is leading the way. TPMM has been leading the media on this story for weeks now beginning March 23 when they first reported James Tobin's Calls to the White House. This got picked up April 10 by the AP, and its been fairly widely reported as of late.

Well, it looks to get much muckier. TPMM has unearthed a moneytrail that leads back to Abramoff and Scanlon, and hell, Ralph Reed's name is all over it too, and there's going to be more to come from this I'm sure. You heard it from TPM Muckraker first. Let's see if they are going to try and lift TPMM's work without credit this time.

What Does it Mean to be American?

Just want to be freePolitics TV has great video from Monday's march in DC.

Protesting Sensenbrenner's HR4437

This really is a must see.

I definitely learned a few things from watching this.

Hat tip John Aravosis

This is Rep Sensenbrenner's plan...

Lock up 11-12 million people and send them back home (assuming they can figure out where home is).

Halliburton Subsidiary Gets Contract to Add Temporary Immigration Detention Centers
NYT: Feb. 3 — The Army Corps of Engineers has awarded a contract worth up to $385 million for building temporary immigration detention centers to Kellogg Brown & Root...
Here's video of one of the detention centers...

You can check out any time you like, but you can never leaveVideo via Get In Their Face.

I'm not for a blanket amnesty. No way, but if you are for this, you are a serious asshole.

What About Immigration?


Now, first let me say that I do believe the US does need to deal with a growing immigration and labor problem, and the sooner the better. That said, the marches over the last few days should be a wake up call to everyone. No matter what your position has been regarding immigration, we all would be wise to take a step back and absorb all of the factors and possible alternatives before jumping on the Lou Dobbs Express.

First, let me take a detour and tell you a little about two soldiers in Iraq...
On March 21, near the Iraqi port town of Umm Qasr, 28-year-old Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Jose Gutierrez was one of several U.S. soldiers who, as required by the Geneva Convention, motioned to accept the surrender of a group of Iraqi "soldiers" who had just raised a white flag. When Gutierrez and several other comrades were exposed, the Iraqis suddenly opened fire, killing him and several comrades.

On March 27, near the Iraqi city of An Nasiriyah, 21-year-old Marine Corps Cpl. Jose Angel Garibay also motioned to accept the surrender of Iraqis. But what had happened to Lance Cpl. Gutierrez now happened to Cpl. Garibay. It was no surrender, but an ambush, and Cpl. Garibay lost his life. ...(
more)
Both of these soldiers died within the very first week of the war in Iraq, but what makes their deaths all too important to the immigration debate today is this...
The sacrifice of these young men is no different than that made by any of the other young Americans who have given "the last full measure" in this or any other war, except in one, very noteworthy respect – at the time they died, neither was an American. Gutierrez was born in Guatemala and when he was 14, entered this country as an illegal immigrant. Garibay was born in Mexico and moved here as a child. Neither man was a citizen at the time of their deaths.
And they weren't the only ones either...
Even though his coffin was draped with the American flag, U.S. Marine Staff Sergeant Riayan Tejeda, 26, was not a U.S.citizen. Tejeda, who was killed in combat in Iraq, was a native of the Dominican Republic. (...)

There is no law prohibiting illegal immigrants from joining in the army but the armed forces representative says anyone without proper documents is rejected, according to a report in the New York Times.

Tejeda and at least six other U.S. servicemen killed in the war in Iraq had not yet become citizens. Six of these immigrants were granted citizenship posthumously but their relatives did not receive the benefits that would normally go to the families of the citizens. (...)

More than 36,000 service members are non-citizens, making up about 5 percent of active duty service members. About a third come from Mexico and other Spanish-speaking countries and the rest are from China, Vietnam, Canada, Korea, India and other countries. ...(more)
These men died for us.

They died serving for our country, and they were not US citizens at the time.

Jose Gutierrez was the first soldier to die in Iraq. He also was an illegal immigrant, and a US Marine who died serving this country.

5 percent of active duty service members are immigrants who are not yet US citizens.

That ought to factor into this debate somewhere, and prominently so, IMO.

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Pentagon Strike

What do you think?

No More Broken Promises

The latest by Peace Takes Courage

Wow! I've been linking to these flash animations from PTC for some time now. I just found out the site is the work of "a 15 year old student and peace activist from Alabama." (click on "About")

Ava, I must say I'm mighty impressed. :)

This Better Not F'in Happen!

Pardon for Libby? By TPM Muckraker Justin Rood:

Will the White House pardon Lewis "Scooter" Libby, the Leaking Lackey, in an attempt to cover up its own messes? Longtime GOP courtier Joe DiGenova tells the LA Times yes:
The special prosecutor [Patrick Fitzgerald] signaled in his court filing last week that he intended to call several former Bush aides as witnesses against Libby, including former Secretary of State Colin L. Powell and former White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer -- raising the specter of court proceedings that could lay bare the inner workings of the White House.

"I can't imagine this case going to trial," DiGenova said. "You'll see a pardon first."

The White House has refused to say whether Bush might pardon Libby, citing its policy of not commenting on the case.