Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Editor's Note: Merry Christmas Wednesday 21 December 2005

Editor's Note

With today's posting, The Garlic is taking a few days off to get into the holiday spirit. We'll be back, peeling the cloves again, on Monday, December 26th

We want to wish all our readers and fans a very warm, happy and safe Merry Christmas.

Merry Christmas!

And, a very "Happy Holiday" this "Winter Season" to you, Mr. O'Reilly)

Top Ten Cloves: Signs That It Is Christmas At The White House

10. Giant fruit baskets, decorated with holly and bows, have arrived, from the participants of Dick Cheney's secret energy meetings

9. Sending aides out to buy eggnog, because still waiting for FEMA to deliver it

8. White House council doubts President can keep gift of silver candelabra from former Rep. Duke Cunningham

7. A panicked Scott McClellan, verifying with everyone, he can that it's okay to go to Press Room and announce it's Christmas

6. Bob Novak is calling every hour, to see if they want to out any more covert CIA agents before Christmas

5. Donald Rumsfeld is arguing that there are too many decorations on the tree

4. Chorus of Gitmo prisoners are practicing their caroling in the East Room

3. Cards, with personal notes, to put on the gifts have arrived from the Lincoln Group

2. Karl Rove has been putting together his string of cranberries and smears to hang on the tree

1. President Bush is busy, wiretapping First Lady, and his daughters, seeing if he can get information on what his gifts will be

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Tuesday 20 December 2005

Breaking News!
Woodward Said To Be Jumping To The New York Times

Post Won't Match Freedom To Sit On Stories; Keller Says Watergate Ace "Under No Pressure" To Break News

The Garlic has learned that The New York Times is close to wooing away from The Washington Post, star reporter and author, Bob Woodward, secretly courting him after the disclosure he sat on information of receiving Valerie Plame's name over two-years ago.

"It's rare when you can find," says Bill Keller, 'Times' Executive Editor, "that big of a reporter who has such a nose for when to bury a story, how to hold back blockbusting news. We're very lucky we can welcome him to the paper."

Keller went on to say that Woodward would be "under no pressure" to break any major stories.

"He can take his time. We don't want him to push the buttons too early."

Keller added that "with Judy {Miller} gone, we need another White House lackey, we've gone too long without one."

Last month Woodward had come under heavy criticism, from both his own colleagues and the media overall, for not informing his editor that he was given the name of Valerie Plame, the now former undercover CIA Agent that is at the center of a Leak Investigation by Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald that, to-date, has resulted in the indictment of Vice President Dick Cheney's Chief of Staff, Lewis 'Scooter" Libby.

Woodward initially indicated that it was is habit of keeping secrets, and a fear of being subpoenaed, that prevented him of disclosing the information to his paper's editors. Despite this, Woodward made numerous appearances on cable television news programs, making comments and observations on the leak case and characterizing it as something that won't amount to much

Woodward later said that the reason he didn't write about the Plame Case because most of the Pulitzer Prize-winning work had already been done by other reporters and that "I didn't have a good feel for it … I also didn't have a secret, high-level, FBI source that could give me leads, and that I could confirm leads with."

It was only after November 3rd, when Prosecutor Fitzgerald requested Woodward to testify before the Grand Jury, that Woodward advised his editor.

Washington Post Executive Editor Leonard Downie Jr. admitted that his most famous employee had "made a mistake."

"He still should have come forward, which he now admits. We should have had that conversation. . . . I'm concerned that people will get a mis-impression about Bob's value to the newspaper and our readers because of this one instance in which he should have told us sooner."

Downie indicate that he has been aware of The New York Times talking with Woodward, courting him.

"We made an offer to Bob, but there's no way we could match allowing him to sit on any more stories."

It was rumored last month that Woodward may join the White House staff, who had put out a RFP seeking quality, talented writers to assist the Administration in spinning their stories.

The New York Times is currently under criticism, after it was disclosed that the newspaper sat on the story of President Bush's ordering of secret wiretaps of American citizens for nearly a year.

'Times reporters met with both current and former National Security Agency and other government officials, all who were granted anonymity due to the classified nature of the program. All had concerns about the operation's legality and oversight.

According to their own reporting, James Risen and Eric Lichtblau indicated that "the White House asked The New York Times not to publish this article, arguing that it could jeopardize continuing investigations and alert would-be terrorists that they might be under scrutiny. After meeting with senior administration officials to hear their concerns, the newspaper delayed publication for a year to conduct additional reporting. Some information that administration officials argued could be useful to terrorists has been omitted."

In a statement last Friday, Keller wrote that when "the Administration argued stronglythat writing about this eavesdropping program would give terrorists clues about the vulnerability of their communications and would deprive the government of an effective tool for the protection of the country's security."

"Officials also assured senior editors of the Times that a variety of legal checks had been imposed that satisfied everyone involved that the program raised no legal questions," Keller continued. "As we have done before in rare instances when faced with a convincing national security argument, we agreed not to publish at that time."

Keller added that the paper satisfied itself through more reporting that it could write the story without exposing "any intelligence-gathering methods or capabilities that are not already on the public record."

When contact by The Garlic, Keller refused to say if The New York Times was sitting on any additional stories, or if they intend to hold back on news in 2006.

"I really can't say," offered Keller, "As to next year, some of that will be up to Bob."

Woodward, when reached for comment, refused to confirm or deny his moving over to The New York Times. When asked about 'the Times' holding back on the wiretapping story, Woodward offered'

"I think that was legitimate, there certainly was a compelling reason to take that action … I applaud their boldness … I only wish that I was the one sitting on it, I've always wanted one of my books serialized in The New York Times … That would be something, for sure …"

The White House disclosed today, that in addition to conducting secret wiretaps on American citizens, they also have contracted psychics in their efforts to gleam information on terrorists and their activitiies

News In Brief 20 December 2005

Google Begins Talks With White House To Digitize Wiretaps

Once Declassified, Can Pair With Google Earth So Users Can See If Neighbors Were Under Surveillance

Google, The Garlic learned today, has quietly begun talks with the Bush Administration and White Housel, seeking to secure the rights to digitize the secret wiretaps ordered by President Bush.

According to John Ruffing, editor of a the newsletter 'Did You Mean Everything?', that monitors Googles activities, Google senior executive and lawyers have been in Washington since last Wednesday, and meeting with senior White House officials.

"They're looking to keep the Google Print program moving forward," said Ruffing. "They're not leaving any stone unturned.

Ruffing speculated that the wiretaps could come into play with Google's new partnership investment with America On-Line.

"More likely," said Ruffing, "they'll wait until they become declassified and merge them with Google Earth. That's where the money will be. People will flood them, to see if any of their neighbors were being watched by the government."

Google has been slowed in launching their Google Print program, due to lawsuits filed over copyright issues by publishers and a publishing trade association.

Back in August, Google did score a victory for their Google Print, winning the rights to digitize the Bazooka Joe comics.

Top Ten Cloves: Other Powers President Bush Believes The Constitution Gives Him

10. Make himself permanent host of "Saturday Night Live"

9. Unlimited servings at any salad bar in the country

8. Can carjack any American Citizen he wants and won't face arrest or prosecution

7. Replace the stars on American flag with a picture of himself, Laura and the twins

6. Donate enough money to the GOP and he can place your favorite NFL Team directly in the Super Bowl

5. Can have secret meetings, secret prisons, secret wiretaps … Wait … Patriot Act already lets me do that

4. Through Special Executive Order, can take off Bono and Bill and Melinda Gates and make himself Time Person-of-the-Year

3. Redistrict, not just Texas, but the entire country and eliminate altogether the Democratic Party

2. Put the White House on the market and, when its sold, keep the profits

1. Not only is he Commander-in-Chief, but, in 2006, new captain of New York Yankees

Monday, December 19, 2005

Monday 19 December 2005

Angry Bush Invokes 70's Spoof Movie To Justify Spying On Citizens

Brusque Off-Camera Exchange With Reporter; Three Day Blitz Part Of New White House Tour Plans

Following a nationally-televised press conference from the White House this morning, an agitated President Bush exchanged terse statements with a reporter shortly after ending the session and going off-camera.

Still bristling from a question asked in the press conference, about "unchecked presidential authority" the President buttoned-holed the reporter, and, with sticking his finger in the reporters' chest, said angrily;

"I'm in the drivers seat! … I'm running the show! … I'm the fucking President!"

The President then turned and stormed away from the gathering amidst shouting reporters wanting clarification.

A few minutes later, White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan attempted to characterize President Bush as "having a little fun with you guys".

McClellan offered a private interview to the assembled reporters if they could name the movie the President used but none did before McClellan told them about "The Groove Tube".

Bush was invoking a quote from the popular 1974 movie, "The Groove Tube", a collection of satirizing skits.

The press conference this morning was the third consecutive day of a media offensive by the White House, with the President wrapping himself in duties of his office as a means to justify the war in Iraq and the new revelation of wiretapping telephone calls of American citizens/

"I took an oath to defend the Constitution, and I have no greater responsibility than to protect our people, our freedom, and our way of life," the President has said repeatedly and often.

The media blitz, following his four speeches laying out his new "National Strategy For Victory In Iraq" over the past two-weeks, as well as granting interviews to network anchors. All are part of a new plan by the White House to extend the Presidents speaking schedule.

After declining to comment to PBS's Jim Leher on Friday night, about the disclosure by the "New York Times" earlier in the day of a program authorized by the President to allow the National Security Agency to eavesdrop on American citizens' telephone calls, the President shifted gears on Saturday, beginning with his weekly "Radio Address".

In the address, the President cited the Patriot Act as giving him the powers, as well as saying "to fight the war on terror, I am using authority vested in me by Congress, including the Joint Authorization for Use of Military Force, which passed overwhelmingly in the first week after September the 11th. I'm also using constitutional authority vested in me as commander in chief.

However, the White House took the unusual step of allowing television cameras to broadcast the Radio Address, live, as opposed to the typical action or recording the address for later broadcast.

On Sunday, the President took to the national airwaves again, with another address, this time from the Oval Office.

In his nearly 17-minute speech, the President again, hit the themes that he was authorized by Congress and has the powers as Commander in Chief from the Constitution to conduct such an intelligence gathering program.

All of this follow the disclosures over the past month that the U.S. Military has been paying a consulting agency to plant pro-American stories in Iraqi newspapers, and that the Pentagon was gathering information on domestic individuals and groups who were participating in anti-war demonstrations and programs.

In today's press conference, the President cited the Senate's blocking the renewal of the Patriot act as "shameful" and inexcusable", saying it was "an essential tool" in the fight against terrorism.

In his speeches and addresses over the weekend, and in today's press conference, the President repeatedly stated that "Congress gave me authority," in reference to his authorizing the spying program. The President also added that Congress has been advised and that he plans on continuing using the program.

Critics, both Democrats and Republicans are puzzled that the White House has hot used the 1978 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA.) and gone to the FISA Court, which has, overwhelmingly, granted warrants for wiretaps. The FISA Act also allows for applying for the wiretaps after-the-fact, within 72-hours, under special or extreme circumstances.

Senator Arlen Spector (R-PA), chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, said he intends to hold hearings.

"They talk about constitutional authority," Specter said. "There are limits as to what the president can do."

Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) acknowledged he had been briefed on the four-year-old domestic spy program "a couple months ago."

"The president can't pass the buck on this one. This is his program," Reid said on "Fox News Sunday." "He's commander in chief. But commander in chief does not trump the Bill of Rights."

"The president has, I think, made up a law that we never passed," said Sen. Russell Feingold (D-WI"I tell you, he's President George Bush, not King George Bush. This is not the system of government we have and that we fought for."

McClellan refused to confirm or deny if the President would be using any additional quotes from movies to defend his actions.

"He does like Clint Eastwood films," offered the Press Secretary, "so, maybe, at the next press conference, he might ask one of you to make his day."

White House Councilor Harriet Miers has to duck photo- graphers, and under the wires and equipment that allows President Bush to listen to wiretapped telephone calls, live, in real-time, from the Oval Office.

Top Ten Cloves: Reasons Bill and Melinda Gates May Be Miffed At Sharing Time Person-of-the-Year With Bono

10. Bono uses a Mac

9. Pissed off that they have to do photo shoot and PR after Time-Warner burned Microsoft and sold piece of AOL to Google

8. Afraid Larry and Sergy will criticize them that they couldn’t win it on their own

7. It will probably bring a new round of frivolous lawsuits against Microsoft for monopolizing Time Person-of-the-Year Awards

6. Bush Administration already badgering them to pay for Bird Flu vaccine

5. Likely to send Steve Ballmer into another chair-throwing rampage

4. Bono will probably write a new song and it will only be god-dammed available on iTunes

3. Fear Bono may ask Gates to relieve debts of Microsoft customers and vendors

2. Being lumped with Bono probably means President Bush will be wiretapping their phone calls now

1. Apple already badgering them to do new iPod commercial with Bono

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Weekend Special - Sautéed Cloves 18 December 2005

President Bush and former House Leader Tom DeLay met over the weekend. DeLay was lobbying the President that "since you think I'm innocent, why don't you just pardon me right now and we can get back in business"

"It's three-months later and these assholes still don't have a clue," said New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin, flanked by Fedreal Deposit Insurance Corporation Chairman Donald Powell (L) and Secretary of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff (R)

FIFA, in an attempt to promote the 2006 World Cup to a wider gay and lesbian audience, is producing a video called "Brokeback Soccer", that will highlight the close relationships developed by the games

Jeffrey Skilling, right, waits with Enron founder Kenneth Lay, center, and Skilling's lawyer, Daniel Petrocelli, to receive their 2005 Christmas bonuses, from the special fund set up by the former Enron mangement

Ousted by CNN, and rumored to be joining the Fox News Network, columnist Bob Novak, is said to be in demand by community theatres in the Washington D.C. area, in the role of "Scrooge" this holiday season.

"Oh wow, you should hear some of these calls" was the reaction of Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, as she listened to an iPod loaded with wiretapped calls from the NSA and President Bush's program of eavesdropping on American citizens