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Monday, October 31, 2005



What if there was a place you could go where you were the star of the show -- where the voice of the community shared the front page with the site’s full-time writers?

What if you there was a place where you could not only contribute your own views but also help to determine the content produced by the community as a whole? What if this place ran like a Democracy?

What if there was a place where higher thought and mutual respect combined with a culture of independent, investigative journalism to present a new paradigm in online netroots media?

And what if there was a place that put together a talented group of core bloggers – and then nudged them to the side to make room for the voice of the community within which they gathered?

These are the questions we asked ourselves. And this site is our response.

We hope Political Cortex can be that place.


The first thought that probably pops into many people’s heads is, “What makes Political Cortex any different form all the rest?” That’s a valid question, and one we considered when putting this site together.

That’s why we strove to remove the community from the periphery and placed it center stage on the front page.

That’s why we implemented a Blog Democracy via a special community editing and voting process unique to the political blogosphere.

That’s why we’ve incorporated new and original features such as Keyword Tags, advanced diary voting, and “Quick Posting”.

That’s why we forego cross-posting in order to encourage a bold and unique voice for the Cortex community.

And that’s why we hope to foster a culture of journalistic Independence that inspires a new generation of bold truth-seekers.

Featured Writers:

Al Rodgers
Frederick Clarkson
Bill Hare
S.M. Dixon
sdf (Stu)
Bob Kendall
Drew Johnston
Tom Ball

Official Launch will be Sunday, October 30, 2005: 10:00 PM EST

Saturday, October 29, 2005

This Says It All

Friday, October 28, 2005

Fitz's Unexpected Fitzmas Gift

This from a comment by wg on Kid Oakland's politics + culture blog.

BUT, I think I may be experiencing, Linus-like, the deeper meaning of Fitzmas. Watching and listening to Fitz, I rediscovered something I haven't felt in a long, long time: a kind of simple, optimistic pride in the potential and promise of America. I know that sounds fatuous, but it felt like, after crawling through the desert, I was finally rewarded with a tall, clear glass of ice-cold life-sustaining water. I took such profound and unexpected pleasure in the trust I felt in this guy. And I even found a perverse satisfaction in the way he frustrated my shallow partisan craving for a brutal rhetorical smackdown. When was the last time you had the experience of seeing somebody on tv, in a political context, that you didn't feel compelled to view through an angry ideological prism? It was such a relief to not be an analyzing and enraged critic, or even a chortling schadenfreudian. I just had a very simple, almost childlike, faith in this guy. He'll follow the evidence where it leads and no further, but he's not afraid of anybody, especially these smug thugs. He seemed like a walking, human rebuke to the insane political atmosphere of the last decade. I know this all sounds ridiculous and naive, but perhaps that only suggests how deeply I was craving, without even really being aware of it, somebody to believe in again. I believe in fairness, and justice, and equality, and civility. And I saw that today in Patrick Fitzgerald. And maybe that, Charlie Brown, is the true meaning of Fitzmas.

Humbled, I say Merry Fitzmas, in the true sense.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Indictments For Halloween?

Artwork by jaysea

Monday, October 24, 2005

Tick, tick, tick...

Everything's been examined...tea leaves consulted...speculation shared...leaks analyzed...a new holiday created...hopin'...wishin'...prayin'...and it all comes down to Fitz and the GJ.

We wait.

This is the hardest part, and, at times, I feel it's going to be November, 2004 all over again.


I keep coming back to the subpoena issued by the three judge panel ordering Cooper and Miller to testify or go to jail. Two of those judges are conservative republicans and they hopped on board and said as a matter of national security, they had to testify...AND eight pages were redacted. That isn't a subpoena about perjury or OoJ...that would be challenged all the way to the SCOTUS. That was some serious shit.

And I feel the wait will be worth it. But wait we must.

Tick, tick, tick....

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Family Matters

I've got to deal. Thus the hiatus.

If you need a fix, go to my new favorite blog for all things Plame, firedoglake.

I'll be back as soon as the health weather changes for a dear family member.

Sunday, October 16, 2005

John Aravosis Chews it up and Spits it out

The talking points concerning the Plame/CIA leak investigation from the GOP are circulating and John at AMERICABlog is cutting them no slack,

If a senior White House staffer had intentionally outed a CIA agent during World War II, he'd be shot.

We're at war, George Bush keeps reminding us. We cannot continue with business as usual. A pre-9/11 mentality is deadly. Putting the lives of our troops at risk is treason.

Then why is the White House and the Republican party engaged in a concerted campaign to make treason acceptable during a time of war? That's exactly what they're doing. On numerous news shows today, Republican surrogates, their talking points ready, issued variations of the following concerning White House chief of staff Karl Rove's outing of a covert CIA agent as part of a political vendetta:

- It's the criminalization of politics
- Is this 'minor' leak really worth all this?
- Political payback is common and should not be criminalized
- Mis-speaking or mis-remembering is not a crime

Yes, the Republicans are now making light of an intentional effort to expose an undercover CIA agent, working on weapons of mass destruction in the Middle East, no less, while we are at war in the Middle East on that very issue.

The GOP has become the party of treason.

He doesn't let go of their throats, and neither should we.

Saturday, October 15, 2005

Judith Miller

The Times and Judith Miller published dualing stories today concerning their respective roles in the Plame/CIA leak case.

In this corner, The New York Times.

And in this corner Judith "Miss Run Amok" Miller.

For the best analysis, go read:

* Jane Hamsher at firedoglake

* Arriana Huffington at The Huffington Post

* Kid Oakland at k/o: politics + culture

My analysis can be boiled down to one question about Miller's credibility:

She spends two months in jail protecting a source whose name she can't recall?

All About the Law?

Next week, or shortly thereafter, Patrick Fitzgerald will very likely pass out some indictments. Among the charges included in those party invitations may be perjury, conspiracy, obstruction of justice, espionage...just to name a few.

Basically, all these charges have one very important thing in common: they are violations of federal law. Let me repeat: VIOLATIONS OF THE LAW.  

Remember how important that single fact was for the wingnuts during the Clinton impeachment trial? As I recall, they had plenty to say about lying and perjury and how it wasn't about sex but about respect for the law. MAJOR talking point that they all repeated ad nausium.

I'm going to bet that the wingnuts and Bush apologists and White House operatives are going to forget all that gnashing of teeth and rightous indignation once Mr. Fitzgerald is done with his paperwork. I'm sure they will begin to downplay the charges and dismiss it all as much ado about nothing, as evidenced by Richard Cohen's insulting opening volley.  Keep moving. Nothing here. Nothing serious. What's a little perjury among friends?

Well, we can't let them forget.  We've got to arm ourselves with some memory joggers. If we can build a comprehensive list here, then during the pundit media wars that will certainly follow, our side can have some ammo with which to conduct some serious rug pulling exercises.

Let me begin with a few choice ones. Feel free to add. The more the better. (emphasis mine).

Here's Kenny-Boy Starr from his first interview after his report was complete:

"I was assigned to do a job by the attorney general, and that was to find out whether crimes were committed in this (Paula Jones) sexual harassment lawsuit," Starr said. "The whole idea of equal justice under law means that you've got to play by the rules. It has nothing to do with the underlying subject matter. You just tell the truth.

"Lying under oath, and encouraging lies under oath, does go to the very heart and soul of what courts do. And if we say we don't care, let's forget about courts and we'll just have other ways of figuring out how to handle disputes," he said.

"There is no excuse for perjury -- never, never, never," he said. "There is truth, and the truth demands respect."

The Majority Whip, Tom Delay, from the minutes of the House Judiciary Committee's debate on impeachment:

. . . I believe that this nation sits at a crossroads. One direction points to the higher road of the rule of law. Sometimes hard, sometimes unpleasant, this path relies on truth, justice and the rigorous application of the principle that no man is above the law.

Now, the other road is the path of least resistance. This is where we start making exceptions to our laws based on poll numbers and spin control. This is when we pitch the law completely overboard when the mood fits us, when we ignore the facts in order to cover up the truth.

Shall we follow the rule of law and do our constitutional duty no matter unpleasant, or shall we follow the path of least resistance, close our eyes to the potential lawbreaking, forgive and forget, move on and tear an unfixable hole in our legal system? 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.

Lindsey Graham on the impending impeachment charges:

"I'm telling you now," Graham added, "if the facts don't change, this is the most compelling case of grand jury perjury I have ever seen in my life."

These are but three, there are thousands more.  Care to add a couple?

Friday, October 14, 2005


From Swopa at Needlenose

Meet the New Boss...?

In one of the more bizzare twists in in American politics, Newt Gingrich is looking at making a run for president in 2008. You know, today's criminals in the White House make old Newt (and Pat Buchannan, for that matter) look like progressives.

Of course, Nixon made a similar recovery, but...Gingrich?

Miller Divorcing The Gray Lady?

Raw Story is reporting that the cozy marriage of convience and protection between Judith and The New York Times is about to hit the rocks.

Conversations with nearly a dozen Times reporters revealed a scarred landscape of discontent. Few reporters were willing to go on the record, but none who spoke with RAW STORY said they supported Miller. Many voiced worries that the paper’s editor, Bill Keller, was sacrificing his own integrity to protect her."

Seems that greed and power and loyalty are battling it out once again and, once again, the truth could be the first casualty.

Can Turd Blossoms Sing?

Fitzgerald vs. Rove

Karl's excellent adventure continued today. He spent four hours testifying before Patrick Fitzgerald and the Federal Grand Jury in D.C.. Everybody is being very quiet about what Rove said or didn't say.

And now, we wait. Tick, tick, tick....

Tuesday, October 11, 2005


This from Raw Story reporting that tomorrow's Wall Street Journal will state that Fitz is going all in. Conspiracy charges for the entire White House Iraq Group.

Lawyers familiar with the investigation believe that at least part of the outcome likely hangs on the inner workings of what has been dubbed the White House Iraq Group. Formed in August 2002, the group, which included Messrs. Rove and Libby, worked on setting strategy for selling the war in Iraq to the public in the months leading up to the March 2003 invasion. The group likely would have played a significant role in responding to Mr. Wilson's claims.

This is truely significant. Hang on to your hats. This is going to be hell of a Halloween.

Oh, my, my, my....

This from The Huffington Post

The Wall Street Journal and Bloomberg are working on stories that point to Vice President Dick Cheney as the target of special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald's investigation into the leaking of CIA operative Valerie Plame's name.

Popcorn, anyone?

Monday, October 10, 2005

It's the Indictments, Stupid.

It's much fun to watch Delay, INC. try to squirm out of his indictment mess. Guilt or innocence is irrelevant in this case, as it will be in the Plame/CIA case. The indictment is everything, which is why Delay is fighting so hard to get his thrown out.

To discover the reason one only has to look at what the alternatives are AI (After Indictment). As far as I can see, there are two options and both seem to lead down the same rocky road.

Let's look at the Plame case AI options.

1. Hold a Big Public Messy (probably televised) Trial, with an endless stream of administration staff members and cronies marching to court to testify under oath...lugging along stacks of subpoenaed papers, emails and other odds and ends (no blue dresses, alas) for all to pour over and read...aloud. AND the testimony will tiptoe oh-so-close to fringes of the lies that led us into Iraq. Can we imagine a witness list? Powell, Rice, Hadley, Libby, Ari, Scotty, Card, etc. etc. etc.

All this broadcast over 24-hour cable news stations complete with play-by-play pundits and expert ex-lawyers looking to make a media name for themselves. Hell, I'd hire Clinton to do some sideline interviews.

In short, the administration's and GOP's WORST nightmare.

2. Cop a Plea. But I would imagine that, like any good prosecutor, Fitz won't be handing those out like cotton candy to expectant kids at a county fair. No. The pleas will be expensive for those who want one. They are going to have to cooperate and offer up bigger fish for frying. Standard Operating Procedure for any good mafia lawman.

IN short, the administration's and GOP's SECOND WORST nightmare.

That's why avoiding the indictments to begin with and fighting like hell to have them thrown out (like Delay) is all-important. That's also why the administration insiders who know the score are really, really, really, really, really, really, really, scared. They can't afford to go to trial and risk having their string of lies about Iraq exposed...and they can't cop a plea and turn in their Dear Leader(s).

Tough spot.

And, to make them feel just a bit more skittish, there's Joe Wilson's Civil Suit after the trial that will rob them of treasure and clean up any messes Fitz misses.

Sleep tight, wingnuts, and sweet dreams.

Sunday, October 09, 2005

Bush's Brain

Thanks to Reddhead at firedoglake

Torturer In Chief

Well, it's official. The president will side with the nine Senators who voted against banning the use of torture as an interrogation tool on Iraqi prisoners. The News Telegraph has the story.
The Bush administration pledged yesterday to veto legislation banning the torture of prisoners by US troops after an overwhelming and almost unprecedented revolt by loyalist congressmen.

He will join the torturing senatorial cabal of:

Allard (R-CO)
Bond (R-MO)
Coburn (R-OK)
Cochran (R-MS)
Cornyn (R-TX)
Inhofe (R-OK)
Roberts (R-KS)
Sessions (R-AL)
Stevens (R-AK)

who were on the losing end of a 90-9 vote in opposing the bill. The bill still must pass the House, but knowing their history, I imagine they will keep the voting open for three days while they take wavering Republican members out back and practice some torturing techniques of their own until they get the votes to defeat it. However, the White House, has now taken a public, pro-torture stance.

Ah, yes. America the beautiful.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Indictment Watch

Lawrence O'Donnell has a piece at The Huffington Post. He's been right before.

If Karl Rove's lawyer, Bob Luskin, is still as easy to read as he has been since I broke the story that his client was Matt Cooper's source, then we now know that Rove has received a target letter from Patrick Fitzgerald. How do we know it? Luskin refuses to deny it.


Prediction: at least three high level Bush Administration personnel indicted and possibly one or more very high level unindicted co-conspirators.

Here's something for while you wait:

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Tilt A Whirl

A friend of mine, Chris Grabenstein, has just published his first book, Tilt A Whirl, and, according to the pre-release reviews, it's a hit. It's so new, I haven't read it yet, but he's a wonderful writer and big things are in the offing for his career and series.

Check it out.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

What must they be thinking?

As I've watched the The Incredible Shrinking President over the past month or so, one thing has crept into my mind. "What must Poppy and Bar be thinking?"

After all, they've seen this chain of events occur over and over in the past 50 years with George, Jr. They bail him out of trouble, get some friends to fork over a job or some money and watch as he, once again, completely screws it all up. Wash, rinse, repeat.

Except, this time, it's in front of the entire world, and millions of people's lives are being ruined by little George's latest "in-over-his-head-adventure." It was never supposed to be this way. Jeb was the one. He was the smart one who would make a go of it, fix his father's mistakes and serve his mother's insatiable need for sterling achievement.

They must have known how it was all going to turn out. After all, everything W. has touched has turned to crap. Couldn't even serve out a couple of years flying planes over Dallas during the Vietnam War. Ran an oil business or two into the ground, lost an easy congressional election and finally found his nitch sitting in a ball park, drinkng beers, glad-handing the male fans and gladly-handling a few of the female ones. He swaggered through a couple of years ruining the state of Texas and now...the big time. He's out-done himself. He's brought the entire globe to the brink of military confrontation and economic collapse.

Yep. What must they be thinking? I only wish they had spoken up before all this happened and sent him to his room when he said he was "gonna run for prezdent."

Iraqis Change Constitution Rules

In a power grabbing attempt to jam the Iraqi Charter through the approval process, the Shia and Kurdish members of the Iraqi parliament have changed the requirements for passage.

Instead of the original two-thirds of the vote needed in three provinces to reject the constitution in the upcoming referendum, on Sunday the Kurds and Shia reps. changed the requirements for passage to read two-thirds of registered voters are needed for rejection...a much more difficult goal to achieve.

In essence, this move reduces the influence of the Sunis in the process.

However, the United Nations has condemned the Iraqi Charter change.

And on it goes, seemingly without end.

The Day the Music Died

Something has been missing in my life recently. I haven't been consciously aware of it, but there has been a pall...a mist hanging over my world and travels. I think I've figured out what it is.

There is no laughter, there is no joy...there is no music anymore. I don't mean in a fleeting, random moment here and there, but I mean in my social discourse and interaction with the people I meet. Where has it gone and how do we get it back?

I remember, not too long ago, when music and laughter was the subways, on the streets, in conversation. The default expression seemed to be a smile. There was hope in the air and people were actually looking forward to tomorrow.

All that seems so long ago and it all seems so gone.

Am I just personally depressed, or has there been a real shift in our national psyche? And, if so, has it been the result of a conscious effort?

I remember so clearly the absolute joy that I and, I think, the nation felt when Clinton was inaugurated and Fleetwood Mac's anthem was everywhere. It wasn't just the tune, but the message. Hope. Joy. Dancing. Where is it now?

I think it has to do with the GOP.

Think about it. Music appreciation is anathema to the present administration's sensibilities. Ashcroft, for example, has never danced, an idea I find unbelievable. I also can't see ANY of the administration kicking off the shoes and letting loose with some spontaneous joy. It seems so out of place, and I think their fear-ridden response to 9/11, their war, their economy, their corruption, their hate...has worn us all down and nobody seems to be in much of a mood to laugh.

Has it affected all of us? I think so, and I didn't think about it those terms until this morning, when I read a comment on the threads. Where is the music? Dancing? Laughter? Joy? Hope? It's gone, it seems and I, for one, can't wait to have it back.


I apologize for my hiatus. Haven't felt much like writing and now I think I know why.

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