The Whack Job on Harriet Miers

The sedans pulled up in rapid succession as dusk settled over Washington last evening. Men in winter coats exited the backseats and walked briskly, heads down, into the building to an emergency meeting of party Capos. Permission was needed to dispose of a member who had become a liability.

The case for "whacking" the problem member was heard. Sober heads around the room nodded agreement. A contract was approved.

By sun up, Harriet Miers was history.

Karl Rove may have more to worry about from his boss than prosecutor Fitzgerald. Even the most loyal members of this gang are expendable when they become a liability. One of the gangs' former bosses, Richard Nixon, had his two closest aides whacked -- in what proved to be a futile effort to save his own skin -- when investigators began closing in on him.

Already we are seeing evidence that Bush may be getting ready to whack his own loyal aide, Karl "Turd Blossom" Rove. They have already brought in sub-capo Ed Gillespie to fill the hole. Eddy is already giving interviews, while Karl is nowhere to be seen. Bad sign.

Over at Cheney's crib, his right hand man, Lewis "Scooter" Libby, was seen yesterday hobbling around on crutches. No, he wasn't knee-capped - at least not yet. He was playing the sympathy card, trying to look too pathetic to indict -- or whack.

These are dangerous days. It's housecleaning time within the inner circles of  the Bush operation. It's the natural cycle for such organizations. Ranking members become radioactive after years of doing the boss's bidding, and they must be jettisoned. Those that can be trusted to keep their mouths shut are allowed to retire to lucrative, non-work positions on corporate boards. Those they suspect might run off at the mouth are whacked -- discredited, smeared, banished.

Fresh blood is moved up to fill the vacant positions. But, while eager to please the boss, these newcomers are green. They lack the years of street smarts possessed by the dearly departed they've replaced -- which makes all that eagerness a new disaster just waiting to happen.

Meanwhile, the boss, who does not trust new faces, has to figure out how he can keep the lid on the past while also staying in business. With Karl, all George had to say when he needed a job done was, "You know what to do, Karl." With a new guy, he might think Bush means, "Ed, you know what to do -- do the right thing."

As of this this morning, it's one problem gone and two to go -- Karl and Scooter.  If I were either man, I'd hire someone to start my car every morning for the next week or so.

Meanwhile, Patrick "Elliot Ness" Fitzgerald may have discovered another of the gang's operations over in Niger. A curious fellow by nature, Fitz could not have investigated Ambassador Joe Wilson's fact-finding trip to Niger without noticing the "facts" he was sent to find out about. To wit - those phony documents that supposedly proved that Iraq had been seeking uranium yellow cake from Niger. (Document images and translations, here).

Those documents proved to be forgeries -- that we know. What we don't know is, who forged them? It sure as hell wasn't a CIA job, since the CIA never believed the Niger tale from the get-go. But Cheney sure did -- or at least he said he did.

So the question remains hanging out there --  who planted those phony documents -- and just in time for Bush to hawk them in a pre-war State of the Union message?  
Until we find out the answer to that question the CIA leak investigation will  not be complete. (More)

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Imagine you've forgotten once again the difference between a gorilla and a chimpanzee, so you do a quick Google image search of “gorilla." But instead of finding images of adorable animals, photos of a Black couple pop up.

Is this just a glitch in the algorithm? Or, is Google an ad company, not an information company, that's replicating the discrimination of the world it operates in? How can this discrimination be addressed and who is accountable for it?

“These platforms are encoded with racism," says UCLA professor and best-selling author of Algorithms of Oppression, Dr. Safiya Noble. “The logic is racist and sexist because it would allow for these kinds of false, misleading, kinds of results to come to the fore…There are unfortunately thousands of examples now of harm that comes from algorithmic discrimination."

On At Liberty this week, Dr. Noble joined us to discuss what she calls “algorithmic oppression," and what needs to be done to end this kind of bias and dismantle systemic racism in software, predictive analytics, search platforms, surveillance systems, and other technologies.

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