Progressive Programmer

Progressive Politics or idle geek banter. What's on my mind when I'm irked, intrigued, bored or up too late.

Location: Michigan, United States


The Spin Begins - LIBBY indicted for lying to reporters

I heard "Tony Snow" on Bill Maher last night say that the indictment (which Snow bragged about having taking the time to read) basically came down to LIBBY being indicted for lying to reporters.


LIBBY was indicted for lying to the FBI and the Grand Jury. Repeatedly. He lied about what he knew. He lied about who told him what he knew. And then, finally, he lied about WHAT HE SAID to reporters. Regardless of what he was originally saying to Russert, Cooper, and Miller--which, had it been a lie, is no crime whatsoever--he did not factually recount what he had said.

Had LIBBY told Russert that George Bush is a fully-recovered alcoholic that hasn't had a drink in years, and that Cheney hasn't uttered a cuss-word since somebody shot JR, that isn't a crime. Had LIBBY then come into the Grand Jury and said that he told Russert that Dubya was still recovered and Cheney didn't have a potty mouth, then it still isn't a crime. Regardless of how factual either of those bullshit statements were in the first place. The point is whether he's factual about what was said. That's what perjury is, lying, under oath, about some facts and knowing you are lying when you do so.

All of this intentional misdirection put forth by LIBBY is objstruction of justice, and the reason for that charge. Had LIBBY been factual, and had Judith Miller not held out to protect LIBBY (and continued that attempt in her testimony after her release), it's entirely possible I wouldn't be having to write this right now, and quite likely Dubya would be meeting w/ the architect for his Presidential Library (Plenty of space for Archie comics and an alcove where visitors can reenact The Pretzel Incident with historical accuracies previously unimagined).

Glenn Greenwald (via atrios)

I'm not liberal, I'm just paying attention

LIBBY Indictment - The Odds of a Trial

Will LIBBY even wind up on trial? It seems doubtful.

This would be incredibly painful for the Administration. Imagine Cheney and Rove on the stand, under oath, rehashing the same stories they're already struggling to keep straight. Rove (Official A, most-likely) was already scrambling to avoid indictment this week, I don't think he'll want to put his hand on the Good Book and do any more swearing any time soon. Imagine the transcripts of everyone arguing over forged documents and Uranium from Africa and the sheer volume of potential perjury counts following that proceeding.

So how can the Administration, and LIBBY, avoid trial? Three ways.

First, LIBBY can cop a plea. He can plead guilty, but for the plea to be accepted, likely some concession will have to be given to Fitzgerald. After all, if he pleads guilty to the facts alleged in the indictment, he will have admitted to violating at least one law and potentially another.

Second, the prosecutor could drop the charges. Not likely.

Third, Bush could pardon LIBBY. Can he? Yes. Will there be an uproar? Absolutely. Does Shrub give a flying fig what you or anyone else thinks? No. Unless James Dobson or Pat Robertson comes out talking about how pardoning LIBBY somehow offends the Right Wing Evangelicals of this country, or oil companies think their profits could be hurt, Bush couldn't care less. He does care about his legacy, which would be tarnished by a pardon, no doubt. But putting Cheney and Rove on the stand and rehashing the rationale for the Iraq War into the judicial record would likely leave a lot bigger stain than a pardon. Besides, Poppy Bush put down a nice precedent with regards to Iran Contra.

Trial - 4:1
Plea - 1:2
Charges Dropped - 5:1
Pardon - 2:1

I'm not liberal, I'm just paying attention


LIBBY Indicted - Let the spin begin

So, LIBBY (I think I'll adopt the indictment's method of referring to Scoots) is indicted for perjury and obstruction.

Some Right-Wingers are already claiming that these indictments are clear evidence that Fitzgerald was unable to indict someone on the crime he was asked to investigate, and thus 22 months of investigation turned up nothing, so the prosecutor went after some bullshit perjury claim instead.

This is a woefully ignorant and hypocritical opinion for a number of reasons.

Just to tackle the ignorance for now, it fails to take into account exactly what Fitzgerald hinted at in his press conference this afternoon : The wording of Title 50, United States Code, Section 421 (that the prosecutor was originally tasked with investigating for evidence of violations of) is so poor, that it requires knowing what the perpetrator knew at the time.

Fitzgerald would have to prove that LIBBY knew that the US was taking affirmative measures to conceal Plame's identity.

But in order to know that, you would have to receive frank, truthful testimony from any person that had violated the crime, and LIBBY was not being truthful. He lied his way through his testimony. Given the rights granted by the 5th amendment, one wonders whether anyone could ever be convicted of a crime derived from these laws. If anything, those that wrote and passed this legislation should be kicked in the proverbial shins.

Note that the wording of Title 18, Section 793 makes it seem as though LIBBY could have been convicted of a violation simply by adopting the items put forth as facts in the indictment (as opposed to LIBBY's purported lies).

My question is whether--if LIBBY is convicted of all of these counts--it will be a foregone conclusion that he therefore violated either or both of these laws? Title 18, Section 793 would seem like a no-brainer. If it can be proven that he really did know that Plame was covert at the time, then isn't it only logical he violated Title 50, United States Code, Section 421 as well?

I'm not liberal, I'm just paying attention


Bring me some Fitzy pudding - A Fitzmas Collection

It seems that every day this week is Fitzmas-Eve. At least if Fitzmas comes this week, we can have no more Fitzmas-Eve's, now can we Peabody?

At any rate, the list of Fitzmas Carols and Fitzmas Related Program Homages continues to grow:

The Poor Man Institute (The Pony-driven sleigh is priceless)
Corrente (via PoorMan)
Daily Kos (fitzmas tag page)

[Update 1]
The Rantings of a Madman
blinq (a small collection)
Yep, another Goddamned Blog
Demeter Rising

I'll update as I happen across more.

I'm not liberal, I'm just paying attention


PlameGate - Danger! Bad Fitzmas Poetry

MSNBC has an AP article about how today might be the day we finally know how big--or full of coal--Fitzmas stockings will be. So, to honor ( or besmirch ) the occasion...

The Night Before Fitzmas
Twas the night before Fitzmas and all through the house,
grim facts on the TV even Rove could not douse.

The talking points stuffed to the gills with faux fare,
In hopes that Americans would not even care.

The targets were tucked all snug in their beds,
While visions of nooses snapped tight in their heads.
With ma in her nightie, my eyes on the news,
We had just settled in, having guzzled some booze.

When then on FoxNews their arose such a chatter,
I leaped from my couch to see Hannity got fatter.
Grabbing for the remote, I pumped up the volume,
And flipped to CNN to avoid the Fox Vacuum.

The pin on Wolf's breast had the American Flag,
as he spoke of Fitzgerald's cat out of the bag.
When what, to my wondering eyes should appear,
but a glorious image--Rove's eyes filled with tears.

With a little old man, all decrepit and sick,
I knew in a moment it must be that Dick.
More rapid than eagles, his curses they came
with f-bombs and s-words and more of the same:

Now, f-you and screw you!
I'm no Richard Nixon!
This won't mean a thing,
Dubya's got the fix in!
To the top of this land
I have risen so tall
Fuck Powell, Fuck Scowcroft
Go Fuck Yourself, all!

As gutless Chicken-Hawks from a battle will shy,
when they meet with a draft-card just as you or I,
So out from the Naval Observatory he ran,
demon tail peeking out from his ample round can

And then in an inkling I felt from down deep,
I switched to MSNBC and laughed off the Veep.
As I drew in a breath and remembered to blink,
Old footage of Miller walking out of the clink.

She was dressed in street clothes and wore glasses of course,
To hide soulless eyes black as those of a horse.
She was smiling and waving but worried inside,
For she and dear Libby had something to hide.

On comes David Gregory from the White House lawn,
Looking wired, excited, saying Bush was a pawn.
His face showed hesitation as he wanted to grin.
Finally, FINALLY he'll be rid of Rove spin!
Then Fitzgerald came on with stone face and large boxes,
took questions from newsmen, and patsies of Fox's.
He spoke of the case and laid out the big maze,
The lies and half-truths that gave us all grays.

He was stern and succinct, a bit dull in fact,
but I didn't care if he had zero tact.
A flick of a pen and a twist of the law,
And this guy had come in to see justice for all.

He spoke very few words, answered queries with skill,
filled Republican stomachs with antacid pills.
And laying his finger aside of his nose,
he told of how Bush gave the order to Rove.

He then said 'Last question' making pundits all bristle,
And took one on PlameGate v. Clinton's near-dismissal.
And we heard him exclaim as he shut them up quick,
"It just isn't treason when a woman sucks on your dick".

I'm not liberal, I'm just paying attention


Cult of Hypocrisy, part Deux

Will someone please explain to me when a lie is really a lie? Between Kay Bailey Hutchinson and Tom DeLay and Dick Cheney and Bill Frist, it's a wonder a school-age child could figure it out for themselves.

What self-respecting Christian would put these guys up as role-models to their kids again? Oh, yeah. Single-issue-voters...

"Little Jimmy-Sue, It's okay to lie, cheat, perjure yourself, take your country to war on false pretenses and anything else the hell you want so long as you *claim* you would overturn Roe v Wade (which you won't do, because you'll still need the abortion issue come next election cycle)."

"Ok, mommy."

Honor and integrity indeed.

I'm not liberal, I'm just paying attention

Dick "Trickle" Cheney

I don't know whether to laugh, cry, or scream.

The Times, still trying to make up for its own screwups in this entire mess, no doubt, has dug up a doozy.

It would appear that the ultimate source of the Plame leak, the point-of-origin Patrick Fitzgerald has spent two years of his life doggedly pursuing, the person from which many-a-pixel and countless buckets of newspaper ink has sprung forth... is Dick Cheney.

Dick Cheney is the source of many of this administration's stupidest, most inhumane, un-American ideas, but rather than going down in history as the most powerful Veep since the country's inception, perhaps now he'll just go down. If that happens, look for Bush himself to be run out of town on rails, but he won't go willingly. Too stubborn. Too stupid.

What would be funny, is if the Bushies dragged this out past the '06 elections, only to see the house overtaken by the Dems, and the new Speaker elevated to the Presidency as Bush faces impeachment and *finally* resigns... hello, Madame President?

I'm not liberal, I'm just paying attention


Cult of Hypocrisy

I was reminded as well, however, that the laws of our Country are applicable to us all, including the President, and they must be obeyed. The concept of equal justice under law and the importance of absolute truth in legal proceedings is the foundation of our justice system in the courts.

I certainly hope that if there is going to be an indictment that says something happened, that it is an indictment on a crime and not some perjury technicality where they couldn’t indict on the crime so they go to something just to show that their two years of investigation were not a waste of time and dollars.

If I wasn't so damned busy, I could be flooding the bomb with the unabashed hypocrisy the Republican machine will put forth this week. Anyone that wants to help, feel free.

Hat tip to atrios.

I'm not liberal, I'm just paying attention


Bill Maher and Tucker's glossy nature

My daily must-visit Cannonfire today talked about Maher's show last night, and I can't help but agree.

But one thing that irked me about Carlson last night that Maher only partially deflected as horse hockey was Carlson's response to Maher's suggestion about health care costs. Citing GM and Delphi announcements this year of health care costs' role in helping ensure they posted a loss ($1400 of every GM car is nothing but health-care costs), Maher suggested that the Republicans should have worked *with* Hillary in the 90s rather than destroying her, and her universal health care plan, as best they could.

Carlson made the point that it would be too expensive. And that per-person administrative costs in countries that do this are higher than they are here.

But this is just silly.

Even if the overall cost of health-care went up, the accounting would change completely.

Imagine a world where you're not paying cash to a health insurance company out of every paycheck. These companies are able and very, very willing to raise their rates yearly. Every year I pay a higher premium for similar or decreased coverage. For a family of 4 in NC, I'm coughing up 3 hundy a month. This stuff is going up at 4 times the rate of inflation.

Some of this is due to increased costs, some is due to litigation expenses (far less than Bush purports), and some of it is due to sheer greed. The insurance companies tanked in the markets and then realized something... people will pay whatever they charge, and so will companies.

Both individuals and their employers suffer under this sytem. The more these costs rise, especially in the case of retirees that are hurting a company's bottom line without continuing to affect revenue to the good, the more companies lose interest in keeping people on the payroll. The cost of goods rise, people lose their jobs, companies post declined profits or losses and stocks get hit. Everyone--everyone but the insurance companies and the drug companies--loses.

Now, let's change the perspective. Let's have the government pay the bills. The cost of the exact same system may go up overall, but it should. 45 million people would be covered again. 45 million people, many of them elderly and children, could get healthy when they're ill. Could stay productive, live longer lives, and get the preventative care they can't afford today. This preventative care could help decrease costs of illnesses that might have been caught earlier or prevented entirely through earlier, less-costly measures.

You and I have taxes go up, sure. But what we wouldn't have is huge, annual increases. Because the government, if it had common-sense instead of reelection-sense, could tell the health care companies to go pound sand. The government doesn't have to accept any annual increase in costs greater than the rate of inflation unless it's stupid when it writes the legislation.

Let's look at some simple math.

For the sake of simplicity, say the entire country's health care system costs $1 billion per year.

Say inflation is running at 3% / year. Health care costs are increasing at 11% / year (accurate).

Now, say that the government takes over health care and the administrative costs of our entire health care system, country wide, goes up 50% instantaneously.

In the first year, costs are $1.5 billion.

In the 2nd year under this system, the old system would have run $1.11 Billion. The new system runs $1.545 billion in year 2.

Year 3 of the old is $1.23 billion. Of the new, $1.58.
Year 4, $1.36 old system vs $1.62 new.
Year 5, $1.51 old system vs $1.67 new.
Year 6, $1.67 old system vs $1.72 new.
Year 7, $1.85 old system vs $1.76 new.

Hey, the old system costs more than the new already. What if we keep going...

Year 8, $2.04 old system vs $1.81 new.
Year 9, $2.26 old system vs $1.86 new.
Year 10, $2.51 old system vs $1.92 new.
Year 11, $2.79 old system vs $1.98 new.
Year 12, $3.10 old system vs $2.04 new.
Year 13, $3.44 old system vs $2.10 new.
Year 14, $3.81 old system vs $2.16 new.
Year 15, $4.23 old system vs $2.22 new.
Year 16, $4.69 old system vs $2.29 new.

After 16 years, the system only an insurance company, drug maker or a Republican could love is twice as expensive as the system that was originally 50% more expensive. Even if the new system costs started at double the old system, it would only be at just over $3 billion in the 16th year to the $4.69 of the current.

These numbers are over-simplified, of course. Duh. The point is that the insurance companies and the drug makers are unchecked by inflation because the government lets them be. Under a single-payer system where the government is the single-payer, dictating that the rate of inflation dictates the rate of price increases could save this country a ton of money, and move the accounting into the hands of the people with the power to force some humanity onto an insurance industry that would rather focus on profit.

If they can't self-police, then why shouldn't the government do it for them?

Mainly because people like Tucker are controlling our government, and every politician gets $$ from health-care.

I'm not liberal, I'm just paying attention


So many hours...

I've been working far too much as of late. I've neglected my blog, my hobby website (currently way broken due to an unnamed image providers habit of changing their referential data), my need for sleep...

But you see, writing java code till 3 in the morning is much more fascinating and rewarding than REM sleep. You can always sleep during the day when you should be spending time mowing the lawn, or during the Michigan game when they should be blowing somebody out and don't.

Anyway, despite all that, my sometime favorite keeper of the ponies has directed my browser to a link that proves, yes proves that my blog is worth more than my down comforter, but much less than my day-job.

My blog is worth $9,597.18.
How much is your blog worth?

I'm not liberal, I'm just paying attention


Indicting we will go, Indicting we will go...

High-Ho the Derry-O, Indicting we will go.

Oh, the buyer's remorse might be rushing into the City of Cognitive Dissonance for the 10-20% of Americans that supported the Bushies this time around. Funny how none of it bubbled to the surface until Katrina, Indictment Autumn, and the Crony Nomination that broke the Elephant's Back.

I'm not liberal, I'm just paying attention


Quid Pro Quo, Harriet

Miers has to vote in his favor, no matter the legal mental backflips that would require, not because Bush is <cough> the most-brilliant man <cough> she has ever met, but because they have the goods on each other.

Quid Pro Quo Harriet:

And all those tedious, sticky fumblings in the boardrooms of Texas, while you could only dream of getting out... getting anywhere... getting all the way to the S.C.O.T.U.S.

I'm not liberal, I'm just paying attention

Miers has the goods

After a few posts elsewhere in which I theorized that Bush was lining up insurance against his own possible indictments, I see the same theory posited several other places at nearly the same time.

So, either the sun is shining on my dog's ass, or great minds think alike, take your pick.

Miers has held Bush's hand through at least one incompetent moment.

I'm not liberal, I'm just paying attention

DeLay recorded doing horrible British accent, resigns in shame

Look, it's one thing to get out there and try and squirm your fat belly through the oily cracks in the campaign finance laws of our country, but it's another thing entirely to start meeting with former heads of state to make laws in their favor.

Why are they worried about this guy again? I thought the Wingnuts hated the hoity toity Brits, save Tony Blair during his most visceral (shorter sentences and fewer syllables) speaking engagements.

If DeLay can't see to it that legislation is created for the right reasons he has no business being a congressman, and I should think all those Texans out there would agree. Seems like if there's one thing a true Wingnut wouldn't be able to stand it's a ferrner trying to tell them how to run their country.

DeLay is, was, and always will be for sale.

Via huffpo

I'm not liberal, I'm just paying attention

I like this Paul Hackett guy

Something about a Democrat that isn't afraid to tell it like it is and call Bush the liar that he is. Add to that the fact that he served in the war itself and the netroots behind him to get somewhere, and maybe we really can get one more guy on our side in the Senate that really is Of The People.

Bonus points for him talkin' smack to Limbaugh.

I'm not liberal, I'm just paying attention


So many scandals, So little time

George Stephanopoulos says he has a source that has said Bush & Cheney themselves are involved in the Plame leak.

Is anyone surprised?

But I disagree with the ThinkProgress statement that this development would make the scandal unmanageable. There are many scandals already, many of them involving truly impeachable offenses (some punishable as war crimes). But it doesn't matter a whit.

You see, Rove/Cheney/Bush has managed to suppress every budding scandal by simply offering up a new one. Fresh meat is better than rotten meat, especially for the vultures in the media. No sex involved (except maybe Jimmy/Jeff, but that's another post entirely), so move along, there's nothing to see here.

It will be handled the same way the Downing Street Minutes were handled: The talking points will come out, the press will eat them up, and all pro-administration news outlets will say that it doesn't command very much attention because it just proves what everyone already knew.

Such logic?! Nevermind that "everyone" means intelligent wonks and media types in Washington D.C. that follow all of this like Pavlovian leg-humpers. Nevermind that 42% of Americans out there think proof is proof, and lying warmongers should be impeached.

Imagine a man suspected of murder being let go, because even though evidence had come to light proving his guilt, everyone already suspected his guilt. We already knew he was guilty, so this new evidence isn't much to look at. Let him go.

Now imagine the man suspected of murder is your President, and upwards of 100,000 people are dead and your government is out several hundred billion dollars.

Move along, there's nothing to see here. Take a look at this new scandal we're offering--just came in this week.

ThinkProgress link via atrios

I'm not liberal, I'm just paying attention


Ye Olde Blogrolle Update

Someone randomly linked from a Kos page that led me to antichimp which is no on Ye Olde Blogrolle cuz I said so.

I'm not liberal, I'm just paying attention

DVR : Michigan 31, Michigan State 31

Lawn mower acted up on me this morning. My plan to have the lawn done by kickoff went painfully awry. But, I asked my wife to record it, and I'd watch it when I had the chance.

Roundabout 4:30 or so I started up the game.

Decent. My wife missed the our first few touchdowns, but I can deal. The pain came when we were marching down the field with the game tied, but under 3 minutes left. Michigan started milking the clock, hoping for a field goal in the waning seconds.

Wide Right.


My DVR recording ended.

I walked reluctantly to the ol' laptop to find out the score from the Internets.

Reality: Michigan 34, Michigan State 31

We caught some good breaks in the game. But our offense made an appearance for the first time in a while. Did well enough in the 2nd half to get by, but the first half went well. If only that had happened against Wisconsin and ND. If only.

As a p.s., how about that nasty broken leg in the end-zone ESPN won't stop showing. Ugh.

I'm not liberal, I'm just paying attention