Monday, April 30, 2007

The final nail?

Murray Waas has another scoop in the National Journal. It seems that Abu Gonzo delegated the authority to hire and fire for all political appointments in the Justice Department to Goodling and Kyle Sampson. Waas says that he has a document, signed by AG, along with supporting documentation that does just that.
Naturally, no mention of the 'highly confidential' document has been made to Congress so far, probably Gonzo forgot about it, right?
Is Gonzo's coffin ready for burial?

Monday, April 23, 2007

Google Reader

My posting rhythm, shaky at best, has taken a hit from the new Google Reader.
I'd tried using in the past the FireFox RSS feed mechanism, but without a way to know if there is new stuff in a feed, at least as far as I can tell, it struck me as fairly useless.

The Google Reader has an interface that lets me know what sites have new posts at a glance, and a fairly efficient way to mark items for further reading. The design is good, though I'd like to be able to change the white background.

Setting up all my links has taken a while, and there are still those sites that don't offer RSS (Digby, pour quoi?) so there is still going back to the old ways for some. Still, so far so good, congratulations to Google for devising a helpful, time saving tool.

Saturday, April 21, 2007


McCain in the 'Bomb Iran' video was just making a joke!
Get it?
I mean, ha, ha!

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Yellow Metal Peril

China Matters has a must read post that digests two articles from the only news source worth a damn anymore, McClatchy. It's all about the gold, babies.
Since I said must read, you'll have to go there to link to the two McClatchy articles by Kevin Hall that explore the real reasons for the war on Banco Delta Asia, read those too to get a remembrance of what reporters are supposed to do, rather than playing the ultra-cool government stenographers of the New York Times and the Washington Post.
As far as I can tell with Google, no other newspapers, including those of the McClatchy group, chose to publish the articles, at least in their on-line editions.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

A bigger bubble

It seems that the RNC has is now part of the executive branch bubble, or should I say, cone of silence.
There "exists a clear and indisputable Executive Branch interest" in the emails on the RNC-issued accounts, wrote Emmet Flood, Special Counsel to the President.
The whole edifice is tottering, but where will it fall? (Or should I say, on whom will it fall?)

Imus! We're on it!

Now that the news cycle has turned:
Imus's crime was to vulgarize the wrong people. College sports is too profitable to allow apostasy, even from outsiders.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Who'll crack?

I've not said much lately about Abu Gonzo, Karl Rove, and their merry den of thieves and liars. All the information that's coming out now confirms my diagnosis, the executive branch of government has been taken over by gangsters. There are also a lot of their henchmen in Congress and the Judiciary, not to mention the press.

The mind numbing effects of capitalism may hide this fact for a while, but sooner or later it has to be faced, the rule of gangsters means the end of the rule of law, and thus the end of the rule of money. So, for an ever expansive capitalism to continue, our current crew has to go before they have all the reins of power gripped tightly in their hot little hands, because if and when they do, great money will no longer necessarily mean great power.

Hence, the push back we see today in Congress. But as I see the current situation, so long as the executive continues to resist, stall, bluff and draw upon their allies in the press to normalize their conduct, Congress is not going to get very far. Just like Watergate, someone on the inside is going to have to crack and come forward, or at least push others forward. In my view, it's got to be soon, if you think Rove and Cheney are just going to watch and wait up to the next election, let me tell you about some funds in Nigeria I need to transfer to the States and you can help!

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Deadline, shmedline

David Sanger of the NTY, one of the stable of neo-con toadies at that benighted paper, tries to bring us up to date on the latest on the North Korea agreement, all of which has been apparent for the last month to 'i cognoscenti':

North Korea Takes No Apparent Action as Deadline Passes

Yes, the North Koreans have not shut down their reactor, and no one but the US is surprised.

I've followed the whole story at length, so if you are interested, scroll down, follow the links, and see why the Sanger article is an in the tank, crock of shit.

The energetic Mr. Sanger goes to the trouble of quoting the bleating of the State Department, and then running off for edification to Nicholas Eberstadt of, surprise surprise, the American Enterprise Institute.

Nick Baby gives the usual neo-con Cheneyite spin, regurgitated without comment by Sanger.

Then, just to give balance and perspective, Sanger then goes down on to John Bolton, he of the Mustache of Doom, to hear the same thing. Sanger spits that up too without a whimper.

Cheney and his horror puppet Bush may be having their troubles, but it's clear that the NTY and the WaPo are still in their thrall. Go to McClatchy if you want some reporting on international affairs, Sanger & Co. are still in the tank, and show no sign of coming out.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Frog Heaven

Wednesday, April 11, 2007


It's the best catch there is.

SecDef Robert Gates and Gen. Peter Pace announced today that army deployments in Iraq were being extended from 12 to 15 months.

I'm sure the troops currently approaching their return after 12 months are especially thrilled to get to enjoy another Iraqi summer.

As you may recall, every time that Yossarian, the protagonist of Catch-22 would almost finish the assigned number of missions to fly, Colonel Cathcart would raise the number. Reality does indeed mimic fiction.

When do you think that 18 month deployments will be announced?

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

30 more days?

Once again, a flurry of stories echoing that it's all OK:
The United States said Tuesday that a financial deadlock stalling North Korean disarmament efforts has been broken and hinted that a looming deadline for action by the Stalinist state could be extended.
This AP report seems to confirm that the NK nuclear plant will not shut down as agreed:

North Korea will invite back U.N. weapons inspectors as soon as it can access the money from bank accounts in the Chinese territory of Macau and will return to international talks on shutting its nuclear program "at an early date," the official said.

However, North Korea wants to delay a Saturday deadline for switching off its sole operating nuclear reactor by 30 days, the official said, adding that any such change would require agreement from all countries involved in arms talks with the North.

So still no transfer of the money, even though everything is resolved, the deadlock broken, and the technical details ironed out by our hero from the Treasury Department, Daniel Glaser and his helpful entourage. I bet they ate well, at least.

China Hand cuts through the bullshit, amply handed out by Glenn Kessler of the WaPo in presenting a sanctioned and sanitized version of events that omits the Treasury sabotage, and points out that it is Groundhog Day, everyday. It's resolved except there is no resolution.

I'll repeat that I find this episode emblematic of the US' foreign policy black hole, its strange dependence on getting optimistic articles in the press to keep the ball of shit rolling without exciting comment, and on the ability of the press to swallow the bullshit with a smile and to continue to parrot talking points while avoiding any meaningful analysis.

So, once again, we are told that all is resolved, but why should we believe it now? At least pay us a reporter's salary, then we might believe anything!

Sunday, April 08, 2007

And happy Pesach!

Uri Avnery hits a homer!

Shalom, Shin Bet

Enough already

If you were watching the broadcast of the Giants-Dodgers game today you might have glimpsed a distinguished gentleman directly behind home plate, twelve rows back or so. That was me, the humble proprietor of this blog, hoping to enjoy a victory by the home nine against the barbaric hordes from the southland.

Alas it was not to be, the Giants looked lackadaisical, apart from Bonds' RBI single in the first they didn't score until late, Zito got tagged in the sixth and things fell apart from there, 10 to 4, ho hum. But it was a beautiful day, the trip in on the ferry, the beautiful city, a discrete amount of liquid refreshment all combined for a good trip to the ballpark.

But it all turned sour for me (for a while) when it came time for the seventh inning stretch. Then we were instructed (even though they said please) to rise and remove our caps for the singing of 'God Bless America'.

I sat down and put my hat on. Look, Giants, MLB, quit telling me to get up and adjust my attire like I'm a trained seal. I do not believe in God, I don't want the nonexistent him or her to bless America, 'God Bless America' is not the national anthem, one is enough, and though my fellow sheeple seemingly rise and sit on command, hey, maybe you could get them to bounce up and down every inning, I will not.

I also resent this corruption of the seventh inning stretch. No self-respecting Dodger fan (if they exist) would stand between the top and bottom of the seventh, that's the point, the visiting team gets up before the top of the seventh, not with the home team.

So look, baseball fans, stop this madness and try to reclaim a little self respect. There is no reason to have a religio-patriotic festival where once stood a proud tradition, they are fucking with your minds and you are letting them.

It's for the good of the game.

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Good News for Modern Munchkins

The State Department has announced, publicly mind you, that:
N. Korea funds impasse resolved
"We support the release of all the funds. It is now a matter of technical implementation," spokesman Sean McCormack told reporters, adding that the actual return of the money would be up to China and North Korea.
Um, hasn't it always been a matter of 'technical implementation'?

The article from the AP (linked to above) deserves reading, if only for its highly elliptical manner of describing what is supposedly going on. Looks to me like State is still trying to make this a fait accompli, let us see what Treasury has up their sleeve.

Friday, April 06, 2007

Goin' home

It hadn't been clear up to now that all the Treasury people were still in Beijing, the IHT says they were:
The U.S. Treasury delegation, which left Beijing Friday after 13 days of negotiations, was led by James Wilkinson, chief of staff to Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson Jr.; Daniel Glaser, a deputy assistant treasury secretary for terrorist financing and financial crime; and James Fries, deputy assistant general counsel at Treasury.
I, who admittedly know next to nothing about banking and international finance, find it mind-boggling that a measly $25 million dollars is enough to block an agreement that would at least slow, if not stop, the DPRK's rush to get nuclear weapons.

The sad truth is that the Cheney administration doesn't give a flying fuck about nuclear proliferation, not to N. Korea, or Pakistan or India, or for that matter Iran, not to mention Israel. It's all just an excuse.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Why not?

The news that Abu Gonzo has skipped his well deserved Easter rest, and has been cramming furiously for his upcoming appearance before Congress, forces Blog Simple to ask the obvious question, "Why not just take the Fifth?".
Certainly, if DOJ employee Goodling can fall back on her right not to incriminate herself, that choice must be available to her boss as well.
Until Feckless Leader works up the gumption to tell Congress that he won't have any executive branch workers testifying before Congress because it violates the separation of powers, and that the GWOT has obligated him, in order protect national security, to assume the powers to tax, spend, and oversee, and in doing so Congress as well as the courts are pretty well as superfluous as tits on a boar-hog so they all should just go home and shut up, the Fifth is probably the best option.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007


McClatchy, by far the best of the news wires, sums up the current situation on the six-party talks. Note the accurate summation of Glaser's stay in Beijing, not 'several days' a la Reuters, but "flew there on March 25".

They also go into 'article 311' that I learned about from China Matters, and how it's been used to shutdown North Korea's shutdown of their nuclear plant.

The story is still flying under the radar screen, but since the Iran affair seems concluded, maybe the newspapers of record will bump it up.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

No deal

Time to bite the bullet, from Reuters:
N.Korea unlikely to meet nuclear deadline: report

Japan's Kyodo news agency quoted Chinese chief envoy Wu Dawei as telling Japanese reporters in Beijing on Wednesday that it was difficult for North Korea to meet the deadline to close and seal its nuclear facilities in Yongbyon.

"I believe it's definite. It cannot be helped," Kyodo quoted Wu as saying in reference to Pyongyang missing the deadline.

Here's another choice passage:
A delegation led by Daniel Glaser has been in Beijing for several days to discuss the implementation of a deal in which $25 million was to be released into a North Korean account at the Bank of China.
This is Glaser's second trip (first was to Macao) and by my count he has been in Beijing 9 days, not several. No report I've read has given even the slightest clue what Mr. Glaser has been up to these 'several' days, I mean, what is the US position on the $25 million? What is the problem? Why don't any of these reporter's sources ever inform on these subjects, or if they do, why isn't it printed?

Wouldn't it be nice?

Glenn Greenwald discusses a 'bizarre scoop' (Glenn's behind an ad-wall now on Salon), an ABCNews article that says that Iran might have a nuclear weapon by 2009 since they just put 1000 centrifuges online. The article is completely unsourced, except for 'sources say', and naturally, being contrary to most estimates of when the nefarious Iranians might get the bomb, it has made an impact on the today's news. Some intrepid reporter (what we here at Blog Simple call a stooge) even asked Feckless Leader about it, guarantying even more press.
What I would find fascinating would be to know the exact sequence of events that led up to that story. Who are the 'sources', who put them in touch with ABC, what was the mechanism in the ABC newsroom that moved them to print such journalistic rubbish.
Surely that would tell us more about how our little world really works than the combined talking heads and pundits chattering away for a year. Wouldn't it be nice?

A bit of press activism

This story from the AP seems to be an attempt to move the ball along in the DPRK affair. It says that the US and NK are planning bilateral talks "as soon as the financial dispute is resolved".
The meeting is likely to be held in Beijing this weekend, as North Korean money held in a U.S.-blacklisted Macau bank is expected to be released this week, South Korea's Yonhap news agency reported, citing unidentified diplomats.

However, a senior South Korean official familiar with the nuclear talks dismissed the report as groundless. He did not elaborate and spoke on condition of anonymity, citing the issue's sensitivity.

There's also this:
Yonhap said the top U.S. and North Korean nuclear negotiators β€” U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Christopher Hill and North Korean Vice Foreign Minister Kim Kye Gwan β€” are likely to attend the weekend bilateral talks.
The bilateral talks are supposed to be about uranium enrichment.

So the whole article is based on a South Korean news agency who talked to unidentified diplomats, and the next paragraph refutes the claim, citing a senior South Korean official. Yonhap goes so far as to say that Hill and his DPRK counterpart will be meeting, but that is necessarily contingent on Glaser resolving the financial issues, and it's been two weeks and counting since that little problem cropped up.

So, is this article trying to put pressure on the Treasury department? That's my reading, but since I had to dig this article out by googling, and can't find it on any front page, the pressure is not going to be much. In terms of press muscle, the realists can't compete with the neo-cons. The Washington Times has run another time the article about the NK's 'supernote' counterfeit $100 bills, just to rub it in.

Monday, April 02, 2007

He's still there...

Contrary to earlier reports, Daniel Glaser is still in Beijing:
A US Treasury official was still in China on Monday, eight days after he arrived to help resolve the transfer of frozen North Korean funds to a Bank of China account.

β€œHe is still here,” a US embassy spokeswoman said late Monday when asked about Daniel Glaser, the US Deputy Assistant Secretary for Terrorist Financing and Financial Crimes.

Are the Chinese fed up yet? It can't be pleasant for them.