Friday, July 15, 2005

Democracy Now: Norman Solomon & Sidney Blumenthal; Bob Somerby, Matthew Rothschild, BuzzFlash GOP Hypocrite of the Week, Jude (Iddybud)

Bush Says No to NAACP for 5th Year
President Bush has once again refused to address the national convention of the nation's largest and oldest civil rights organization, the NAACP which was held this week in Milwaukee. Instead, Bush sent the chair of the Republican national Committee, Ken Mehlman who apologized to the group for the so-called southern strategy of the GOP, appealing to white southern racists to win elections. Instead of attending the NAACP conference, Bush addressed the Indiana Black Expo, which presented him with a lifetime achievement award. It marked the fifth consecutive year Bush has turned down an NAACP invitation to speak, making him the first sitting president since Warren Harding to not address the group. President Bush's father was booed when he addressed the group as Vice President in 1986 but still addressed the NAACP when he was elected president.
White House Worried About Possible Indictments
The Washington Post is reporting that White House officials are privately saying that they are concerned that the investigation into the outing of undercover CIA operative Valerie Plame will lead to an indictment of someone in the administration later this year. This comes as Democrats escalate their calls for the man known as "Bush's brain" to be stripped of his security clearance and fired. There are also calls for Congressional hearings. One of those leading the charge in the House is California Democrat Henry Waxman.

  • Henry Waxmann (D, California):
    "This is a serious matter because it affects the national security of this nation. It's an even more serious matter because if our national security has been jeopardized, it's been jeopardized for political purposes."
The two items above are from today's headlines on Democracy Now! and were selected by Keesha and WestDemocracy Now! ("always worth watching," as Marcia says):
Headlines for July 15, 2005

- Rehnquist Says He is Not Stepping Down
- Wilson Charges White House ‘Smear’ Campaign
- Dems Attempt to Strip Rove’s Sec. Clearance
- Times Confirms Rove Talked to Novak About Plame
- Amid Scandal, “Duke” Cunningham Announces Retirement
- Bush Says No to NAACP for 5th Year
- Court Overturns Canada Beef Ban
- First Death Sentence in VT in Decades
Political Firestorm Brews in Washington Over Karl Rove and Outing of Undercover CIA Operative

The political firestorm over Karl Rove and the outing of undercover CIA operative Valerie Plame continues in Washington. Wilson and top Congressional Democrats are increasing their calls for Karl Rove to be fired over the White House leak. We speak with Sidney Blumenthal, a former senior adviser to President Clinton, and Norman Solomon, author of "War Made Easy." [includes rush transcript]
Sidney Blumenthal vs. Norman Solomon on Karl Rove, the Democrats and Iraq

Sidney Blumenthal, a former assistant and senior advisor to President Clinton, takes on Norman Solomon of the Institute for Public Accuracy and author of "War Made Easy: How Presidents and Pundits Keep Spinning Us to Death" on Iraq, the Democrats, the invasion of Iraq and much more. [includes rush transcript - partial]
Two excerpt from the hour with Sidney Blumenthal and Norman Solomon.
SIDNEY BLUMENTHAL: Well, Karl Rove is waging a communications battle in the way he wages communications battles. He is trying to act -- he's acting as though this is -- this matter is going to be decided by a court of Washington pundits. He is leaking stories now. There are stories in the New York Times and the Washington Post that are clearly leaked by his lawyer trying to depict him in a light in which he is innocent of the charges, but that's not how this is going to be decided. It's going to be decided by the prosecutor. And I think that Rove is in a panic mode. He's acting in a very frenetic way, and he is undermining himself, and he is undermining his principal, the President.
AMY GOODMAN: How is he undermining himself?

SIDNEY BLUMENTHAL: He's undermining himself by putting out all of these stories and keeping this at a -- in the forefront of the news. He has regarded his defense as though it is the defense of the administration himself. He cannot separate himself. Furthermore, the President has not separated him. He walked to Marine One, his helicopter, accompanied by Karl Rove, a clear statement that he stands by Rove. So, Bush has embraced Rove, as well. This is -- Bush -- Rove's damage control, in my view, has created more damage. This so-called master of communications is undermining himself in terms of communications, but in the end, none of that matters. It all comes down to Patrick Fitzgerald, the prosecutor, and what he decides to do.


NORMAN SOLOMON: And I think this raises also the question of the role of the Democratic Party here. Under Howard Dean, the Democratic Party in the United States now has a pro-war position. Let me repeat that. The Democratic Party has a pro-war position as the war in Iraq continues. And so, how well-positioned is the Democratic Party and its leadership, such as it is, to raise these issues about lies on behalf of war and also raise these issues about the meaningfulness of this war. When -- during the Vietnam War, and I know Sid Blumenthal, as well as myself, were active in writing about that war at the time, we had a situation where there were many people in the Congress who had a similar position to Howard Dean and most in the Democratic Party leadership today on this war. During the Vietnam War, they said, “Well, we can’t cut and run. We can't pull out.” That was a pro-war position. And so what kind of political discourse can we have about lies about a war that continues right now?

One other thing I'd like to mention. In 1968, as previously, and I was able to hear this in person at a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing in 1968, Senator Wayne Morris, the senior Senator from Oregon, a Democrat said, and I'm quoting here from transcript, “I do not intend to put the blood of this war on my hands.” Here we are in the midst of the Iraq war, and I am looking for one United States senator willing to say that he or she is unwilling to put the blood of this war on his or her hands. We don't have a single senator today willing to say that.

Dallas e-mails the latest from Bob Somerby at The Daily HowlerDallas picked the bottom part on the New York Times for the excerpt:

INANITY RULES IN THE CAPITAL: How inane was the idea that, if Rove didn't actually name Wilson's wife, that would mean that he hadn't IDed her? Duh. The idea was always completely inane--and three days ago, King Karl gave it up. His lawyer, Robert Luskin, spoke to  the National Review's Byron York:

YORK (7/12/05): A few other notes: Luskin declined to say how Rove knew that Plame "apparently" (to use Cooper's word) worked at the CIA. But Luskin told NRO that Rove is not hiding behind the defense that he did not identify Wilson's wife because he did not specifically use her name. Asked if that argument was too legalistic, Luskin said, "I agree with you. I think it's a detail.”
Duh. If you're more than seven years old, you always knew how inane that claim was. But inanity is the mother's milk of our national discourse. Three days later, here's the New York Times' David Johnston, saying that "critics of Bush"--no one else--think this claim is pure crap:
JOHNSTON (7/15/05): White House officials may argue that Mr. Rove's conversation with Mr. Novak did not amount to leaking the name of the agent. But to critics of Mr. Bush--including the Democrats who have called for Mr. Rove’s resignation--think that is splitting hairs, and Mr. Rove in effect confirmed her identity, even if he did not name her.
Three days after Rove killed this turkey, Johnston says that “critics of Bush” think it’s silly. Apparently, those “critics of Bush” include lawyer Luskin, who gave up this dog three days back.

Note: This passage has been dropped from NYT on-line editions. We don't blame the Times for dumping this embarrassing turkey. Good Lord! At the Times, you had to be a "critic of Bush" to think this claim didn’t make sense.

The article Somerby's referring to is David Johnston & Richard W. Stevenson's.  (Go to first Times post today for the link.)  And David E. Sanger "contributed to the article."  (I didn't note the "contributed" credit.  There's above the title and then there's end credits.)  Print edition readers, go to A14, it's second column, below the pull quote. 

We've got two Matthew Rothschild's "This Just In"s too note.  The first is entitled "Remembering Gaylord Nelson:"

I went to the memorial service for Gaylord Nelson, a giant of progressive politics.

The former governor of Wisconsin, who also served in the U.S. Senate for 18 years, took on Joe McCarthy, championed civil rights, was an early and courageous opponent of the Vietnam War, an advocate of auto and tire safety, a fighter for Legal Services and for Head Start, and above all, an ardent environmentalist. He was the first Senator to propose a ban on DDT, and he helped shepherd through the landmark environmental laws of the 1970s.

Gaylord Nelson was the father of Earth Day. It was his idea. And when he left the Senate, he continued for the rest of his life to work on the issue of the environment at the Wilderness Society.

On Earth Day 2000, he wrote: "Forging and maintaining a sustainable society is The Challenge for this and all generations to come. At this point in history, no nation has managed to evolve into a sustainable society. We are all pursuing a self-destructive course of fueling our economies by drawing down our natural capital--that is to say, by degrading and depleting our resource base--and counting it on the income side of the ledger. . . . We have finally come to understand that the real wealth of a nation is its air, water, soil, forests, rivers, lakes, oceans, scenic beauty, wildlife habitats, and biodiversity. Take this resource away, and all that is left is a wasteland."

The above is an excerpt and we'll note that Rothschild steers those interested to Bill Christofferson's biography of Nelson entilted The Man From Clear Lake.

And don't miss "Hillary on the Right:"

There was Hillary Clinton instead calling for 80,000 more troops for the Army so that the United States can be fully equipped to patrol the far corners of the empire at a moment’s notice.

Hillary, the darling of the Democrats for 2008 (pssst, I don’t think she can win!), has been steadily repositioning herself on the far rightward reaches of the Democratic Party when it comes to the Pentagon.

She’s always been for the Iraq War, and she still is.

And in case you needed any other clue about where she stands, she was accompanied by Joe Lieberman at her press conference calling for more troops.

Kara e-mails to note the latest GOP Hypocrite of the Week Award.
Kara:  Welcome back to the BuzzFlash GOP Hypocrite of the Week.  The envelope please
. . .  The winner is . . . <gasps> it's a, it's a tie or a mulitple win.  Republicans Who Condone Treason, come pick up your award!"
Maria steers us to Jude, as did RyanJude's pulling together from her real time commentary to reconstruct the outing of Valerie Plame.  I'm not sure where to quote (indicates read the whole thing) so we'll go with the top of the "Dick Don't Know Joe:"
 ..If Dick Cheney didn't know Joseph Wilson, someone awfully close to him certainly did.

I am repeating these words, once again, from Matt Cooper's TIME magazine article. The words in quotation came from Lewis "Scooter" Libby. "Scooter" needed to disseminate the storyline good and fast - before the public could effectively point their finger at Dick Cheney.
"The Vice President was unaware of the trip by Ambassador Wilson and didn't know about it until this year when it became public in the last month or so." Other senior Administration officials, including National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice, have also claimed that they had not heard of Wilson's report until recently.

I gave you a blog entry in September, 2003. "Dick Cheney denies Joe Wilson Three Times"

Read it again. Think about it carefully. Why was it so important, in September, 2003, for Cheney to get out on the political talk shows and swear, hot and heavy on a stack o'Bibles, that he didn't know Joe? Why didn't Tim Russert ask more pointed questions at the time - when he could have?
Janet (Ivy Leaves) e-mails to comment on the Karl Rove:
It seems that to come under this law, one must have authorized access to the secret information that is revealed. Why would Karl Rove be authorized? I suspect that pinning him down as the source will force him to reveal HIS source, and so on, quite possibly leading to the president or vice president themselves.
My apologies to Janet who gave permission to be quoted sometime Thursday.  I'm obviously running behind.  And a number of e-mails are coming in noting Attorney X's commentaries.
There have been two thus far: here and here
Brad e-mails to note that Anthony Lappe (Guerilla News Network) will be on The Majority Report tonight with Janeane.  (He's a regular guest on Fridays.)
Lynda e-mails to note that Laura Flanders (Saturday & Sundays seven to ten p.m. est) is still on vacation,  "Bill Crowley will fill in Saturday and someone named Harrison on the Edge Sunday. Kyle Jason's playing the music of Sam Cooke and Daniel Wolff who wrote the biography You Send Me will be on. [Airs 10pm to 12am est Saturday.] On EcoTalk, Betsy's going to be talking about G8 and Gaylord Nelson and Denis Hayes who cofounded Earth Day with Nelson will be one of the guests."  [Betsy Rosenberg's Eco-Talk airs Sunday mornings from seven am to eight am.)
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