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Saturday, July 16, 2005

America's biggest growth industry

A Roper-Starch survey conducted in 2001 showed 41-percent of Americans had used the Internet to find a friend from their past. More recent surveys indicate 99.7 percent of U.S. citizens have now looked for a lost friend via the Information Super Highway.

I mention this to underscore a significant trend. Second only to the development of video games, the industry surrounding searching for people is the top employer in America. Despite a number of “people search” jobs recently being sent to India and Ireland, approximately 23-million are employed in the industry nationwide.

I employed one of these “search” companies to find my former prom date. I swear I hadn’t remembered that I had taken Carl Rove to the dance. My only memory was a beehive hairdo, the red corsage I had bought her and a satiny, light pink dress. The Rove issue underscores the need to keep this “search industry” firmly based in this country. Those Calcutta based Internet people just don’t understand the nuances of dropping a steak in your lap while wearing a tux (yes, this actually happened). The dating culture of the United States, they will never understand it in India.

After a somewhat embarrassing call to Mr. Rove that helped clear the air about the prom, I hired a new Internet search firm. They found Cheri and fortunately for me and my high school memories she isn’t in prison and has never appeared on “The Jerry Springer Show.” She did admit to dating Geraldo Rivera briefly.

Not all of these reunions work out. Most companies recommend you don’t get in touch with your ex-wife. It’s OK to have a formal Internet search done just to make sure several states still separate you from your ex and your former wealth. If you’ve gone to prison, tracking down a former cellmate also nearly always ends up in disappointment.

There is an inherent clear danger in this reconnecting with your past “business” and governments worldwide are stepping in to prevent more incidents like my unfortunate encounter with Mr. Rove.

The FBI and the Departments of Justice and Homeland Security want to monitor all Internet traffic aboard commercial airplanes as a way to curtail desperate passengers reaching into their past on long air trips. In China the steps are even more draconian. While some argue that Internet restrictions have more to do with the last throes of Communist control, don’t bet on it. Can you image what 1,306,313,812 Chinese looking for lost friends would do to the Internet?


Will Christmas Come Early This Year?

Murray Waas:
Columnist Robert Novak, who first disclosed Plame's identity in a July 14, 2003, newspaper column, has also been cooperating with investigators for some time, according to the same sources, as I first reported in my blog earlier in the week. But federal investigators have been highly skeptical of Novak's account -- as they have been of Rove's -- and were concerned that the key participants might have devised a cover story in the days shortly after it became known that a criminal investigation had been commenced.
NYT on the State Department memo prosecutors are evidently quite interested in:
The information in the State Department memorandum generally tracked the information Mr. Novak laid out for Mr. Rove in their conversation, according to the account of their exchange provided by the person briefed on what Mr. Rove has told investigators.

But it appears to differ in at least one way, raising questions about whether it was the original source of the material that ultimately made its way to Mr. Novak. In his July 14, 2003, column, Mr. Novak referred to Ms. Wilson as Valerie Plame. The State Department memorandum referred to her as Valerie Wilson, according to the government official who reread it on Friday.

(my emphasis)
If Novakula does the perp walk, drinks are on me and the dogs.

As a side note, the NYT article was reported by my old friend David Johnston (among others) who now covers the Justice Department for the Times and wrote the Aldrich Amesspy book. People sometimes mistakenly think my liberalism is a Hollywood affliction, but it's much more of a Bay Area variety (and there is a big difference), dating back to my days as a teenager covering punk rock for the Bay Guardian newspaper when David was covering stories like the assassination of Harvey Milk and People's Temple. It was one of the best (and worst) times of my life, and I got to grow up around people like David, Art Goldberg, Paul Krassner and a host of other celebrated San Francisco/Berkeley liberals.

I haven't talked to David for quite a while, I showed up to the Barnes & Noble book signing for the Aldrich Ames book clutching my copy two hours after it was over -- good one, Madonna -- but he's a great guy. That he is covering the Best News Story Ever is just icing on the cake.

Update: Even Armando is impressed with the NYT reporting:
To be frank, this is the most intriguing and enlightening article on the matter I have seen yet. I feel I know more about what is being investigated than I ever have before.
Go David.


Friday, July 15, 2005

No, Monica, I Really Don't Care What John Fund Thinks

So what does an ex-CIA agent think of the outing of Valerie Plame, and the cackle of the Mighty Wurlitzer that no damage was done? Former CIA special agent Jack Rice was on Countdown last night with Allison Stewart. Enough with the smear Joe Wilson distraction. This is what we should be talking about:
STEWART:  At the time she was outed, Valerie Plame was working for a CIA front company, and obviously she didn't work there alone  Can you explain the ripple effect of her outing?

RICE:  Well, this is potentially huge, because what happens now is, everything that she touched, every person that she touched, every asset that she may have come across, is now potentially exposed.  Every intelligence organization in the world will now go back and scour their files to see if she was ever in their country, was ever involved with anybody, and try to wrap up every operation. The potential is huge.

STEWART:  And you're talking about in terms of five, 10 years ago, even.

RICE:  Oh, certainly.  Because if you can get a good operation going, if you have a good asset that has very good access, that person can be involved for years, decades, potentially.  And you open those people up.  I'm not just talking about physically for her directly, but for all of those assets, and sadly, for the intelligence that some of those assets may provide.

STEWART:  In your experience, is something like this, the outing of a CIA agent or operative, has it ever happened?

RICE:  Well, there's been one prosecution in the past under this statute that everybody's been talking about.  But it's a very rare circumstance.  It doesn't happen that often.  So when it does, it can be a big deal, and it should be a big deal.  This should be nonpartisan.

STEWART:  Is it likely that national security has been compromised because of this?

RICE:  I think it's very possible.  We'll never completely know.  Ideally, I hope it hasn't been.  But at the same time, what happens here is, if we ever, either side, either political party, start using politics over what's right, over patriotism, we're going to have a very serious problem in this country.

STEWART:  And in terms of that ripple effect you talked about, in terms of things being compromised and people's situations being compromised, and their assignments being compromised, how could the damage be repaired?

RICE:  I think in this case, what needs to be done is, it needs to be addressed.  It needs to be treated as seriously as it should.

Look, if we -- —if you look at this two ways, you can look back and see what this may have done.  You can go back and see what she may have done, and you can look at those assets.  That is one implication.

There's a second implication, at what may happen in the future, what happens for any future operations, what other CIA or other intelligence operatives may be willing to do in the future.

If there's a perception that you're going to see people in blue pinstripe suits in Washington wrapping themselves in the flag and talking about God and country while they're exposing CIA and intelligence operatives, you're going to have a real hard time convincing CIA officers to get out into the field and risk their lives for those people.

(my emphasis)
Stuff like this doesn't happen very often, and when it does it should be big news. That the major media outlets are letting themselves be hijacked by Rove's thugs attempting to divert attention onto Joe Wilson, who has absolutely nothing to do with the damage that has been done to national security shows what a bunch of old syphilitic whores they have become.

I hope someone besides me is keeping track of all these bilious old frauds and self-styled legal experts on TV saying Rove did nothing wrong. It'll make for a nice little montage the day Fitzgerald comes back with his indictments.


I Swear, Office, It Was Only One Beer

Rove has said he does not recall who the journalist was who first told him that Wilson's wife worked for the CIA, or when the conversation occurred, the lawyer said.
Oh lord he is using the cocktail party defense. The job of satirizing this bunch just gets tougher every day.

I'm thinking Dick DUI Cheney ought to make a public statement in his defense. Because, you know, things like this happen all the time. You've pissed yourself, you can't find your license, walk a straight line or remember where you were born -- but damn if you don't pick up the phone the next day and tell everything to Time Magazine. It's a good story. Who cares where it came from.

Unlike many, I myself am very heartened to hear that Fearless Leader is keeping young Turd Blossom around. With so much that needs to be dealt with on the national agenda to position this country for what is surely to come in the new world order, it's tragic to think that we have to wait years for anything to get done -- the most we can hope for in the mean time is to limit the damage that the Chickenhawk Gang can inflict.

I hope Rove sticks around like a rancid pot roast that GW just refuses to throw out and stinks the place up 'til 2006. It's a public service, IMHO.


Thursday, July 14, 2005

Your Daily Les

Poor Scott McClellan. With the rabid White House press corps all over him like recoiled barbed wire and no Jeff Gannon there to provide cover, he can still count on Les Kinsolving when things get tough. See if you can guess the real Les question over at Sadly, No!:
LES: Scott, White House officials have frequently scoffed at the efficacy of the U.N. and its ability to function. Does this mean, Scott, that the President intends to disregard the dire threat to America posed by the Bible-burning, gun-snatching heathens in blue helmets who every night fly over my house in black helicopters?

LES: Scott, is carpet a car, or a pet? Squeal! Chased by biting pumpkins! Wah. Sorry, Scott. Scott, does the President think a tax on tacks will make Hungary hungry? And if so, does your chewing gum lose its flavor on the bedpost overnight? I have extra gum -- just saying. Back atcha, Scott.

LES: Scott, pull my finger. No, just kidding. Scott, what does the President think about the Soviets flooding our American water supply with toxic fluoride? And by Soviet, I mean Islamic or possibly North Korean, and will the President be hotsy-totsy tonight, or can you send me a note in private? Throwin' it right back to the Scottster.
The real question is by no means as easy to spot as it should be. But it's nice to know that whenever Scotty wants to pour a little lead downrange, Les will always be there to feed the belt.

(hat tip to Gord & Fixer -- they know why)


Treasongate Swag from AmericaBlog

Kill two birds with one stone. Support AmericaBlog and tell the world you're not going to take the GOP advice to just shut up and forget this whole big overblown non-issue about a throw-away comment where no crime was committed and oh by the way Joe Wilson lied. The Benedict Rove graphic is quite fetching, and it's available in messenger bags, hoodies, t-shirts, track suits and trucker hats, as well as mouse pads and mugs. I myself am ordering the lovely spaghetti tank. It'll be a great conversation starter that will allow me to bore even more people with my Rove obsession and maybe get back to other topics on the blog.


David Gregory Rocks the House

Unless you're fascinated with hopelessly compromised Beltway bores drooling all over each other, the only time the otherwise totally useless Hardball has been worthy of watching over the past year has been when it was hosted by David Gregory. He's smart, well-informed, and does not see his job as letting his guests drone on endlessly repeating GOP talking points without being challenged until he can interrupt just to listen to the sound of his own voice.

He's going to be hosting Hardball tonight on MSNBC (7pm ET/4pm PT) in a special show on Treasongate, and since Gregory has been doing yeoman's work at the Gaggle, it should be interesting. In case you missed yesterday's Gaggle, this was David Gregory:
Q Scott, you know what, to make a general observation here, in a previous administration, if a press secretary had given the sort of answers you've just given in referring to the fact that everybody who works here enjoys the confidence of the President, Republicans would have hammered them as having a kind of legalistic and sleazy defense. I mean, the reality is that you're parsing words, and you've been doing it for a few days now. So does the President think Karl Rove did something wrong, or doesn't he?

MR. McCLELLAN: No, David, I'm not at all. I told you and the President told you earlier today that we don't want to prejudge the outcome of an ongoing investigation. And I think we've been round and round on this for two days now.

Q Even if it wasn't a crime? You know, there are those who believe that even if Karl Rove was trying to debunk bogus information, as Ken Mehlman suggested yesterday -- perhaps speaking on behalf of the White House -- that when you're dealing with a covert operative, that a senior official of the government should be darn well sure that that person is not undercover, is not covert, before speaking about them in any way, shape, or form. Does the President agree with that or not?

MR. McCLELLAN: Again, we've been round and round on this for a couple of days now. I don't have anything to add to what I've said the previous two days.

Q That's a different question, and it's not round and round --

MR. McCLELLAN: You heard from the President earlier.

Q It has nothing to do with the investigation, Scott, and you know it.

MR. McCLELLAN: You heard from the President earlier today, and the President said he's not --

Q That's a dodge to my question. It has nothing to do with the investigation. Is it appropriate for a senior official to speak about a covert agent in any way, shape, or form without first finding out whether that person is working as a covert officer.

MR. McCLELLAN: Well, first of all, you're wrong. This is all relating to questions about an ongoing investigation, and I've been through this.

Q If I wanted to ask you about an ongoing investigation, I would ask you about the statute, and I'm not doing that.

MR. McCLELLAN: I think we've exhausted discussion on this the last couple of days.

Q You haven't even scratched the surface.

Q It hasn't started.

(my emphasis)
In case you missed it, that was David Gregory accusing Ken Mehlman of acting as the mouthpiece for the preternaturally silent White House who "will not comment on an ongoing investigation."


I know some people think that enjoying McClellan getting skewered by the press corps is like laughing while a little kid fall off his big wheels, but I'm not one of them. He's been the willing stonewall between the press and the least transparent administration of all time, and now that lack of transparency is coming back to haunt him.

Amidst the 24/7 parade of GOP water carriers MSNBC has booked to defend Rove (John Fund? Have they no shame?) it should be quite novel to see some actual news.


Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Treasongate 101

Lots of friends who aren't hard-core blogaholics have been moved to check in by the happy karmic bonanza of the Karl Rove/Valerie Plame affair, but they claim (and rightly so) that bloggers are all talking to each other and assuming quite a bit of past knowledge. If you're new to the whole story, or simply need a refresher, Digby has an excellent non-jargon-filled post that explains in simple terms the history of Wilson/Plame/Rove/Miller.

If the only source you have for news is television of the non-Olbermann or Daily Show variety, you might think Joe Wilson is a real dick. Eriposte over at the Left Coaster has a very succinct, point-by-point refutation of the smear campaign being launched against him by the mighty right wing wind machine. Oh, and if you're getting your news from Chris Matthews and thinking this is a "non-partisan" view, just turn it off. Enough with his beltway bullshit already. He should go on permanent vacation and be replaced by David Gregory, who definitely deserves his own show.

One of the main points being made by the We Heart Turd Blossom choir (note: "Turd Blossom" is Bush's nickname for Rove -- one wonders what he calls his enemies) is that under the 1982 Intelligence Identities Protection Act, Rove cannot be prosecuted because he did not have security clearance at the time to know Plame's identity (he was working on Bush's campaign) and thus the law is not applicable. All the beltway journalists whores who are already declaring Rove innocent because of the aforementioned act are a) pretending they know what Patrick J. Fitzgerald has uncovered which they most certainly don't, and b) carefully avoiding the topic of the Espionage Act, under which the Rosenbergs were tried. John Dean covered potential culpability under the act here.

And if you're tempted to think that Judith Miller is a heroine for going to jail for journalistic principles, Digby has another post that points out the total disregard she has shown in the past for the sanctity of her sources. Judy d'Arc she's not.

Patrick Fitzgerald is the federal prosecutor assigned to the case. The WaPo has a good profile on him -- from all accounts he looks to be pretty impartial and a complete bulldog. The Left Coaster has a good post on how a grand jury operates that I found really interesting (quite different and much more intimidating than at trial).

Today Democrats on the House Intelligence Committee called for Rove's security clearance (which he now has) to be yanked. There are plenty o' precedents for revoking the security clearance of someone under suspicion of leaking classified information, and Bush's refusal to do so shows once again that the administration puts politics before national security.

Many have asked why that old fraud Robert Novak isn't in jail when he was the one who first published Plame's identity. Novak evidently complied with prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald, but there is some speculation in the past few days that he may have conspired with his "sources" to lie about the substance of his conversations. I'd say his ass in jail would be pretty much proof positive of the existence of a supreme being.

And if you've made it this far, you're ready for the good shit (*choke*). Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald seems to be very interested in a report that was supposedly distributed on Air Force One on a trip in to Africa in 2003 just a week before the Plame outing that detailed classified information regarding Joe Wilson's trip to Niger, as well as his wife's identity. So far, the White House has complied with Fitzgerald's requests for phone logs -- EXCEPT for those from Air Force One during that Africa trip. Fitzgerald has been notoriously quiet about his investigation, but his interest in this INR report lead many to believe that the leaking of that report could be what he is building an espionage case around.

My source for the best in Plame updates has been Talk Left, where attorney Jeralyn Merritt does an excellent job of trying to decode the scant information available in the wake of Fitzgerald's discretion and the White House's ass-covering silence. (BTW, Jeralyn has a good argument that it's Scooter Libby who originally leaked the Plame information.) Holden is the best source for the comedy show that has become the daily Gaggle (White House press briefing), and Atrios sure has been a good clearing house for minute-by-minute developments.

More will undoubtedly be revealed.


You Lie Down With Dogs, You Get Up With Fleas

Yesterday she was the martyred heroine, belle of the wingnut ball. Today she's the main entree at the attack poodle buffet. From Byron York at the NRO:
[W]e know that the vice president's chief of staff, Lewis Libby, has testified he learned of Plame's identity from a journalist.

What if -- and here's where it gets really interesting -- what if the real object of interest where Fitzgerald's investigation is concerned is now none other than the jailed Judith Miller of the New York Times? What if she let it all slip and in the giant game of telephone around the nation's capital, Miller was the original source of the "Plame's in the CIA" info? What if Fitzgerald needs her notes to discern whether Miller knew or didn't know of Plame's supposedly covert status?

Fitzgerald already has a major bone to pick with Miller. He believes she materially and dangerously impeded his investigation into a terrorist-financing scheme run by the Holy Land Foundation.
Echoed, of course, in all the usual chambers: The Pod, Tool Time, Malkin, etc. etc.

(As a side note, Cap'n Ed once again demonstrates the dangers of freelancing and gives further evidence of his own curious grasp of the criminal justice system. He says that since investigators can't resort to torture, if everyone will just keep their friggin' yaps shut this will all blow over. All the guilty parties should just invoke their fifth amendment right to tell Patrick Fitzgerald to go fuck himself, and that should take care of it. 'Cos, you know, that always works on Judging Amy.)

I hope somebody gets word to Jailhouse Judy that her loyal flock has forsaken her before she gets slapped with criminal contempt charges. She may lose that luster of the beatific Dreyer film heroine and get a bit more chatty upon hearing that plans to make her the Che Guevara of the right have been cancelled.

Update: Roger has a few words for Cliff Kincaid, another member of the echo chamber:
If we inhale Cliffie's crack and assume that Miller is refusing to disclose her source to protect herself from the embarassment of having providing Plame's name to innocent Administration officials -- wouldn't those officials have already told Fitzgerald that they got the information from Miller and thus weren't passing official secrets? Wouldn't such officials not only waive "the privilege," but demand that Miller testify?

And if Cliff is speaking about protection from criminal prosecution (although he doesn't identify a law under which Miller could be prosecuted), Miller could simply assert her own Fifth Amendment privilege and stay out of prison while refusing to testify.

Of all the idiotic theories advanced by the Bushlickers in re: Plame, I've yet to see one more moronic.
The "Lawrence O'Donnell is a liar" defense had the shelf life of unrefrigerated milk. I wonder how long this one's gonna last.


Coffee With Bloggers: The Mini Series

My Coffee with Bloggers series continues. This week I met up with the debonair SteveAudio in Sherman Oaks where he kindly consented to sit in the heat and noise coming off Ventura Boulevard so Kobe (the world's most spoiled giant poodle) could join us and eat a muffin. It was great. As Steve notes, we solved all the world's problems and still got home in time for dinner.

Today the charming and erudite R.J. Eskow was kind enough to make the trip to Westwood so we could meet up between my classes. Turns out we have many friends in common. I was somewhat shocked to learn that even though he's been a regular contributer to Skippy, he's never met the great man. That's just wrong. I think we are going to have to arrange some big LA meet & greet.

In the mean time I go out for coffee most every day with Kobe, who gets quite testy if he doesn't get his muffin (I know it sounds a little weird, but trust me, we're both surprisingly friendly). So if you're a blogger in the Los Angeles area and would like to join us, drop me a line.


Monday, July 11, 2005

No Good Deed Goes Unpunished

The march of the unmedicated in response to Treason-gate seems to be converging around attacks on Joe Wilson's credibility. Today Tweety allowed right wing saw horse Deborah Orin to wheeze ad nauseum about what a shitheel Wilson was, and when E.J. Dionne tried to defend him Tweety cut him off. (Pretending the New York Post is a legitimate news organization is always a real knee-slapper for me. Why don't they just conjure up the ghost of Jeanne Dixon and be done with it.)

Anyway, I've stooped to doing something I swore I'd never do -- cruising right-wing blogs like so many troll-filled bars -- but in these dark days for BushCo. it holds the lurid fascination of a traffic accident. Most of the things they are shrieking sound like a form of right-wing talking points Tourette's, but those who actually have a frame of reference and are not merely echoing and distorting what they've read on other blogs seem to be hearkening back to an article in the WaPo from July 2004 by Susan Schmidt. She did a real number on Wilson following the release of the Senate Intelligence Committee report.

It's interesting to go back and read Josh Marshall's analysis from that time, and his conclusions about Schmidt's sloppy journalism:
This is one of those cases in which it's helpful to actually read the report rather than just run with what you've got from the majority committee staffer who gave you the spin.
Both Marshall and David Corn, who also wrote about the intelligence committee report at the time, concluded that much of what the right have been hurling at Wilson and attributing to the committee came from comments filed by its Republican members -- Pat Roberts, Kit Bond and Orrin Hatch -- aimed specifically at discrediting Wilson.

Says Corn:
Roberts and other Republicans are using the intelligence committee's report to whack Wilson, a prominent opponent of the Iraq war and a foreign policy adviser to Senator John Kerry, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee. If only Roberts' committee had applied as much time and energy into investigating the Wilson leak (and how the White House reacted to the leak) as it did to the actions of Valerie Wilson. But the leak is a subject that, for some odd reason, has escaped the attention of Roberts' investigators. And Roberts and his ideological comrades are exploiting the release of the committee's report to blame the victims of the leak. They are far more angered by alleged (or trumped-up) inconsistencies in Wilson's account than by Bush's misrepresentation of the prewar intelligence. Talk about overstating a problem.
They conclude that the worst thing you can pretty much say about Wilson is that he claimed his wife had nothing to do with sending him to Niger, and at some point she wrote a memo recommending him. But the claims that this was some sort of "boondoggle" -- an unpaid trip he made out of a sense of service to his country -- was hardly the Club Med vacation the attack dogs would make it.

And the bottom line, though he didn't start screaming it like some deranged harpie, is that he was fucking right.

Speaking of smears, Digby tells us that the mouth breathers are already hunting for Patrick Fitzgerald's head. You know, the more I read about that guy, the more I would not mess with him.


I'll Have Whatever He's Having

Hugh "Jass" Hewitt quite selflessly offers this piece of Solomonic wisdom:
It is no secret that the gang at the Los Angeles Times despises President Bush and just about every Red State value or representative out there.  That explains the paper's dismal circulation numbers and financial woes.
Yeah, and maybe they should start printing in Klingon. The city of Los Angeles overwhelmingly went for Kerry (65%) in 2004. George Bush and his Red State "values" only got 35% then, and Fearless Leader's recent approval ratings are currently uncovering new layers of priordial slime. While bending over like a bunch of neocon tools probably would earn them the return of GM's advertising, the word "newspaper" should probably be taken off the masthead and replaced with "the final nail in Edward R. Murrow's coffin."

Maybe the Times' woes would be ameliorated if they stopped publishing flaming piles of dogshit like this.


We Write Letters

With the 24/7 Rovian field day we've all been having, the upcoming Supreme Court battle has taken a bit of a back seat, but it has not diminished in importance. Cheers to those who wrote LTEs and posted them in the comments from last week's post! They were brilliant, and much appreciated. Everyone who entered (okay, both of you) will receive a copy of James Wolcott's Attack Poodles and Other Media Mutants. Well done and very inspirational.

Sent to Bayh and Luger:
306 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20510-1401

Justice O'Connor has long been one of my more admired figures in the body politic. Her willingness to consider an issue and all of its faces, not just left or right, is truly the making of a wonderful person; the kind of person we need more of in our decision-making process.

I admire you both as well, Senators Lugar and Bayh, for the same reasons. Despite the fact that you wear the labels Republican and Democrat, respectively, I know you are also willing to take a stand for what you believe is best, and not just tow a given party line.

Senator Lugar, I ask you to not be a yes-man to the President, but to consider, advise, and only if the next nominee to the Supreme Court passes muster at the level of Sandra Day O'Connor, consent to the appointment.

Senator Bayh, I implore you, as well, to not be swayed by party politics, but to use the same metric for approval I requested of Senator Lugar. Please don't unnecessarily deny a potential candidate just because of his or her appointment by the President -- but please fight vigorously should the candidate's decisions appear to be guided more by politics than by the best interests of all people of the United States.

It is my opinion that the only and best metric for appointing future justices to the supreme court is, in fact, to judge them in their ability to fill the gap left by the retirement of Justice O'Connor. The issue in the nomination and approval process leading to the Supreme Court is not within the politics, but the fact that politics is involved in the first place. We must have a nominee that understands this.


Charles R. Smith
Sent to: The Oracle
To the Editor:

During his election campaigns, President Bush made promises to be a “uniter, not a divider” and if the opportunity arose, to fill a vacancy on the Supreme Court with a “strict constructionist,” a jurist who relies solely on the original words of the Constitution and no other source to determine the intent of the framers. Now, with the retirement of Justice Sandra Day O’Conner, the President faces what should be the difficult decision of which of these promises to keep.

If the President nominates a strict constructionist - a term that has become synonymous with conservative - in order to please the more vocal segment of his base, there is no hope of keeping his promise to be a uniter. Partisans on both ideological extremes are poised to wage a contentious battle of rhetoric. If he proposes someone less conservative, the lines are still drawn. However, neither ideological extreme truly represents the majority of Americans. The majority of Americans are somewhere in between, near the center. Moderate Americans stand trapped between the battle lines.

Before President Bush selects a nominee, he should visit the Jefferson Memorial where these words of one of the original strict constructionists are immortalized:
“I am not an advocate for frequent changes in laws and Constitutions. But laws and institutions must go hand in hand with the progress of the human mind. As that becomes more developed, more enlightened, as new discoveries are made, new truths discovered and manners and opinions change, with the change of circumstances, institutions must advance also to keep pace with the times. We might as well require a man to wear still the coat which fitted him when a boy as civilized society to remain ever under the regimen of their barbarous ancestors.” - Thomas Jefferson
If President Bush still holds any pretext of being a “uniter”, he should nominate a jurist who will deliberate on the merits of a case, and not solely on personal beliefs. He should nominate a jurist who has a keen perception of the present and a clear eye to the future, not just a narrow view to the past. He should nominate a jurist who will seek consensus and not simply vote partisan opinion. He should nominate a jurist who represents the real majority of Americans and neither ideological extreme.

Donald Dye
Really great work, guys. I applaud you.

Don't know what I'm going to give away when the time comes for LTE action for Treason-gate, but I'll think of something. Right now I'm reading Michael Klare's Resource Wars: The New Landscape of Global Conflict, which isn't directly applicable but does tie in with a bunch of thugs who just want to steal as much as they can without any thought for the future. We'll see.


Sunday, July 10, 2005

Henry Rollins Responds to Mann Report

I woke up on Friday and spewed my corn flakes all over the wall when I read about the Mann Report, commissioned by BushCo. apparichik Kenneth Tomlinson to determine if PBS is too liberal and therefore in need of dismantling by the GOP, wherein Henry Rollins is described as a "conservative."

After cleaning the corn flakes off said wall, I emailed Henry and asked him if he'd like to respond:
Jane. I don't know if I could be called a conservative seeing how I will get up extra early to tell anyone in front of me THAT BUSH IS A COWARD AND A LIAR AND THOSE WHO VOTED FOR HIM ARE PART OF A VERY BAD PROBLEM. THAT THE FOX NEWS CHANNEL IS A BUNCH OF SISSIES WHO CAN'T TAKE A PUNCH....If Bush's idiotic television monitors are making reference to my 70 second appearance on Fox News talking about the USO, I did that because the USO asked me to and since I do a lot of work on their behalf because I support our troops, I did.
You know they really should give you advance warning when they're gonna say something that stupid. What a howler.


Eat Me

Without taking time off from their "A" job of carrying water for BushCo., Newsweek confirms that Rove was, indeed, Matt Cooper's source (just as Lawrence O'Donnell said). Remember these oldies but goodies?

October 10, 2003:
Q Scott, earlier this week you told us that neither Karl Rove, Elliot Abrams nor Lewis Libby disclosed any classified information with regard to the leak. I wondered if you could tell us more specifically whether any of them told any reporter that Valerie Plame worked for the CIA?

MR. McCLELLAN: Those individuals -- I talked -- I spoke with those individuals, as I pointed out, and those individuals assured me they were not involved in this. And that's where it stands.
Wee Mickey:
[Lawrence O'Donnell] is almost always wrong. Which is why I'll believe his report that "Karl Rove was Matt Cooper's source"--headlined "Rove Blew CIA Agent's Cover"--when it's confirmed elsewhere. ... Which it pointedly isn't, quite, in Newsweek ...


If, as Rove's lawyer told told Newsweek, Rove "signed a waiver authorizing reporters to testify about their conversations with him," how could he be "the" source Cooper was "protecting" at risk of going to jail?
Ankle Biting Pundits:
Rove has gone from “Matt Cooper’s source” to “one of the secret sources Matt Cooper has been protecting for the last two years.” If O’Donnell downgrades Rove any more, O’Donnell will officially be branded a liar in this affair.
Many people have doubts about the reliability of Lawrence O'Donnell as a source. We'll find out, I suppose.
So Lawrence O'Donnell's breathless allegations were all much ado about nothing.

Of course, this isn't likely to stop the leftist-driven media storm over the accusation that Rove was the leaker.


The fact that O'Donnell and others are asking Rove to defend himself only proves that they have no really convincing proof. Otherwise they would have made it public by now.
Mark in Mexico:
Why hasn't Karl Rove come forward, in person, to tell his side? He's having too much fun watching morons like Lawrence O'Donnell self-immolate just like Dan Rather did.
I don’t condone the “outing” even if it was not malicious, because it is possible that anyone that dealt with Plame that is still in the field, in our country or others, was potentially put in danger by the revelation.
Well fuck me silly. A conservative who's actually sincere about all that "national security" stuff. Wow. Who woulda thunk.

Oh and while we're at it, how about some fodder for future crow, today from the not so subtly homoerotic Powertools:
It is doubtful whether Rove or any other administration source knew of Plame's affiliation with the CIA through access to classified materials; it is further questionable whether Rove or any other source knew that she was a "covert" employee, or that the government was making an effort to keep her affiliation with the Agency a secret. (In fact, it is unclear whether the Agency did make such an effort.) As to the third situation covered by the statute, neither Rove nor any other administration source identified Plame as part of a "pattern of activities intended to identify or expose covert agents" for the purpose of impairing national security.

It is hard to see how Rove could be indicted for violation of the Intelligence Identities Protection Act, and it is very unlikely that he would have been foolish enough to testify falsely before the grand jury about his conversations with journalists.
Keep 'em coming, boys and girls. I got a long memory.

(photo courtesy stock.xchng)


Old, Angry, Out of Touch Racists -- And the People Who Employ Them

I was listening to Alan Wolfe, author of Return to Greatness : How America Lost Its Sense of Purpose and What It Needs to Do to Recover It on C-SPAN Books the other day. He was talking about his thesis that the modern South is incapable of envisioning a country founded on higher principles because their acceptance of slavery and segregation in the recent past preclude them from doing so -- in effect, their idea of patriotism rests on the notion that United States is worthy of admiration solely because it is the biggest, meanest, nastiest-tempered mofo on the block.

Now, that makes a lot of sense to me, but you sort of expect that when you say stuff like this people on the other side will get pissed off. It always shocks me a little when anyone proudly embraces that kind of deranged totalitarianism, waving it around like a fresh tattoo.

MandT points us to FAIR, who tell us the tragic tale of senile old Paul Harvey (yes, he's still alive) who is from Oklahoma, so I guess that counts:
Disney/ABC radio personality Paul Harvey, one of the most widely listened to commentators in the United States, presented his listeners on June 23 with an endorsement of genocide and racism that would have been right at home on a white supremacist shortwave broadcast. Harvey's commentary began by lamenting the decline of American wartime aggression:

"We're standing there dying, daring to do nothing decisive because we've declared ourselves to be better than our terrorist enemies--more moral, more civilized," he said. Drawing a contrast with what he cast as the praiseworthy nuclear bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in World War II, Harvey lamented that "we sent men with rifles into Afghanistan and Iraq and kept our best weapons in their silos"--suggesting that America should have used its nuclear arsenal in its invasions of both countries.

Harvey concluded:
"We didn't come this far because we're made of sugar candy. Once upon a time, we elbowed our way onto and across this continent by giving smallpox-infected blankets to Native Americans. That was biological warfare. And we used every other weapon we could get our hands on to grab this land from whomever. And we grew prosperous. And yes, we greased the skids with the sweat of slaves. So it goes with most great nation-states, which--feeling guilty about their savage pasts--eventually civilize themselves out of business and wind up invaded and ultimately dominated by the lean, hungry up-and-coming who are not made of sugar candy."
Harvey's evident approval of slavery, genocide and nuclear and biological warfare would seem to put him at odds with Disney's family-friendly image. The media conglomerate syndicates Harvey to more than 1,000 radio stations, where he reaches an estimated 18 million listeners. Disney recently signed a 10-year, $100 million contract with the 86-year-old Harvey. In 2004, Disney forbid its Miramax subsidiary to distribute Michael Moore's film Fahrenheit 9/11, even though Miramax was the principal investor in the film.

A Disney executive told the New York Times (5/5/04) that it was declining to distribute the film because, in the paper's words, "Disney caters to families of all political stripes and believes Mr. Moore's film...could alienate many." One wonders whether Disney executives are worried about alienating families who oppose slavery, nuclear war and Native American genocide.
(my emphasis)
I've heard a lot of dillies in my life, but I've never heard the one where passing out smallpox-infected blankets was chalked up to a triumph of the indominable pioneer spirit.

You know, I've got a few relatives on the walkers and oxygen tanks. Being old doesn't axiomatically mean you have to become a raging fascist asshole.