Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Grab bag: Return of Toe Jam (Media Matters), Corrente's Bill & Judy Show, Katha Pollitt & Reuters on Miers

Grab bag of items. First, Vicky ToeJam wraps a scarf around her head and attempts to remake Not Without My Novak yet again while ABC calls it "news." From "ABC's "Closer Look" channeled Toensing to provide one-sided legal view of CIA leak investigation" (Media Matters):

In an ABC World News Tonight segment billed as "A Closer Look" into the investigation of the alleged leak of CIA operative Valerie Plame's identity, ABC News senior foreign affairs correspondent Jonathan Karl presented a one-sided report on the possible crimes involved that solely reflected the legal analysis of Republican attorney Victoria Toensing. Purporting to review the possible outcomes of special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald's investigation, Karl presented only Toensing's oft-repeated claim (offered here, here, and here) that this is "a nearly impossible case to prosecute" because the 1982 Intelligence Identities Protection Act (IIPA) sets a "high bar" for prosecutions under it.
In relying solely on Toensing, who in numerous media appearances (
here and here) has promoted the argument that the IIPA is inapplicable to this case, Karl's report omitted mention of another statute that has been much discussed as a possible focus of Fitzgerald's investigation -- the 1917 Espionage Act. Others have argued that the outing of Plame constituted a violation of that act, which prohibits the distribution of classified information to someone not authorized to receive it. That argument went unarticulated in Karl's segment.
Moreover, the focus on the IIPA in news reports such as ABC's, to the exclusion of other parts of the U.S. Code, lends support to a false claim made by several media figures that by investigating possible violations of other statutes, Fitzgerald is overstepping his mandate. Media Matters for America has debunked this claim (
here and here).

We'll again note that ToeJam's "legal analysis" is suspect due to her close friendhsip with Robert Novak. (Suggested alternative readings: "Legal analysis by visiting attorney" and "Attorney X with more on the Plame outing.")

Trevor e-mailed to highlight MJS's "Bill & Judy Show" (Corrente):

NOTE: Rushed transcription of a private conversation between NY Times' Executive Editor Bill Keller and Judith Miller, a Times reporter and woman of mystery.
BILL: Hello, Judy. Thank you for coming in.
JUDY: What?
BILL: How was jail?
JUDY: Where?
BILL: Jail--how was it?
JUDY: Fail? Did I fail?
BILL: Jail. Because of Plame.
JUDY: Fail? Because of Flame?
BILL: What?
JUDY: Why do you ask now, of all times.
BILL: When?
JUDY: Now.
BILL: Now, what?
JUDY: Can we stop? I want to go home and fake a pie.
BILL: You mean "bake a pie."
JUDY: That’s what I said.
BILL: No you didn’t. You said "fake a pie."
JUDY: Sorry--my stove isn’t working properly. Something wrong with the Plame.
BILL: You mean the flame.
JUDY: Puck you. I know what I mean.
BILL: Look, I’m getting a lot of heat regarding your role in the CIA outing.
JUDY: From my stove? I told you: something wrong with the Plame.

More humor is noted by Brad who steers us to Katha Pollitt's "If Not Miers, Who?" (The Nation) (this is part four of four reasons Karl Rove should nominate Pollitt to be the next Supreme Court judge):

I am not a woman of mystery. Everyone's trying to figure out Miers's views on abortion. We know she's against it--she goes to an antichoice church; she gave money to Texans United for Life; when she was president of the Texas Bar Association in the early 1990s she lobbied to get the ABA to rescind its official support for Roe v. Wade. But is she really, really against it? The President tried to calm his base by saying he knew her and she would never change, wink-wink. But that was just confusing. After all, she changed once--she used to be a Catholic and a Democrat, and in 1998 she even helped start a feminist lecture series at Southern Methodist University (first speaker: Gloria Steinem)--so how can the President be so sure she won't change again? You could turn around one day and see her sitting up there, next to Antonin Scalia, in a burqa. My views on abortion, by contrast, are a matter of endless, possibly even tedious, record, and they have been the same since I knew what abortion was. There will be no need to play the old game of trying to persuade both sides that the candidate is with them without actually saying what the candidate thinks. If people ask you what my position on abortion is, you can just tell them!
What else? Unlike Miers, no one can say I'm a crony--I've never even met the President, and the only Republicans I know were so disgusted by the Katrina thing they might as well be Democrats--in fact, don't laugh, it could happen. Another plus: I'm a quick study, so I'm not too worried about the learning curve if I get on the Bench. Besides, the Constitution isn't very long; I could probably even memorize it if that would help me bond with the other Justices. The President says he expects the Court merely to apply the law, not make the law, and that doesn't sound very difficult, does it? The Justices probably go on about what a tough job they have just so we'll think they're so smart. But if I do have questions, I can always ask Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

Note that this was published before the news of the day re: Miers. On that, it's not a surprise. Here's something that is, via Reuters:

"Earlier this year, I received notice that my dues for the District of Columbia Bar were delinquent and as a result my ability to practice law in D.C. had been suspended," Miers said in submitting written responses to a broad-ranging questionnaire from the Senate Judiciary Committee.
"I immediately sent the dues in to remedy the delinquency," wrote Miers,
President George W. Bush' White House counsel. "The nonpayment was not intentioned, and I corrected the situation upon receiving the letter."

The White House counsel is unable to determine when dues are due? That was this year. 2005. She lost her "ability to practice law in D.C." as a result.

Oh big deal? It is a big deal. She's the White House council. She has no experience as a judge and this wasn't the case of an attorney in private practice forgetting to renew their membership dues. Is she forgetful? Is she absent minded? 2005 wasn't her first year in DC. The process was not new to her. And before the apologists come along saying, "It's not a big deal" think about this. If you're a pilot and you lose your license, you can't fly during that time. She lost her ability to practice law in DC for a brief time. And that was her job. Teachers have to keep up with their certifications. There's not an excuse for that when she's working for us. (As White House counsel, she's working for us even though everyone in the administration appears to believe that the higher authority is not the Constitution, it's the Bully Boy.)

"Oops, goof!" doesn't cut it. She was on the payroll as an attorney. She lost the ability to practice law in DC. Will there be any refunds to the American people on that from the "tax relief" administration?

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