Monday, October 31, 2005

NYT: Todd pens a valentine to Tim Russert and the paper front pages it

We're not Isaiah's The World Today Just Nuts from yesterday.

Why? The press loves this story if they can repeat gossip everyone knows (and include others in the press). Check out the Times.

Front page of the Times features Todd S. Purdum's "TV Newsman Is His Own News in the Leak Case" which reads as a desperation plea on the part of Purdum: "Pick me, Timmy! Make me a guest in the roundtable!" I'm reminded of the song "No Wonder" from Yentl (lyrics by Marilyn and Alan Bergman, music by Michael Legrand, "Who wouldn't want someone who fusses and flatters, who makes you feel that you're all that matters, whose only goal in life is to serve you . . ." That's Todd's suck up to Tim Russert this morning. The fumes continue to rot Purdum's brain.

Is the Times just going to recap this story? Or are they going to lead on it? (Looks like they're just going to recap it.)

Nolanda e-mails to note Alexander Cockburn and Jeffrey St. Clair's "Beginning of the End? Watergate 2005? Gotterdammerung for the Bushies?" (CounterPunch):

Scooter Libby was the lawyer who got the charges dropped against billionaire scamster Marc Rich back in Clintontime. But that had more to do with Rich's billions than with any legal talents Libby may have. On the evidence of the indictment brought by special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald on Friday, October 28, one fact stands out: SCOOTER LIBBY IS INCREDIBLY STUPID.
And this is what CounterPunch gets from the Fitzgerald indictment as a whole.
Special prosecutor Fitzgerald could have suggested that there is a cancer growing on the presidency, metastasizing out of Dick Cheney's suite. He could have stated, or even hinted that yesterday's indictment of Libby is the first drum roll in a mighty symphony of prosecutorial onslaughts on felonious conduct in high places.
But special prosecutor Fitzgerald did none of these things. He trailed his coat plenty of times. In his indictment of Libby he opens a couple of doors a few inches, so that the attentive reader can see footprints that head off towards the vice president's office. But then the door shuts and there's no evidence that special prosecutor has an appetite to prise it open again.
Despite all the enormous hopes vested in the Plame affair, that it is playing the same role in the downfall of the Bush administration as did the "third-rate rate burglary" that kicked off Watergate, this could be the end of the story, even if Fitzgerald has said there might have to be further investigation of Karl Rove, identified in the Indictments as Official A.
Back to Libby and his stupidity. Put yourself in his shoes. You are about to go before a grand jury and testify under oath. You know that the special prosecutor has successfully subpoenaed White House and CIA logs. Your lawyer whispers in your ear that the three most beautiful words in the English language are "I don't recall". He claps you on the back and, alone and unarmed, you enter the grand jury room. You raise your right hand and swear solemnly that you will testify to the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth so help you God.
And here's nice Mr Fitzgerald asking you questions and you tell one staggering lie after another. Not sneaky little half truths. Not mincing little evasions. No, Sir! Not this Scooter! I work for Dick Cheney and I can really, really tell a lie. And you do! You fire off volley after volley of brazen falsehoods, stretchers so ripe with willful and considered mendacity that it's a marvel the words don't explode in the jury room like methane in an overheated pile of manure.

Keesha e-mails to note Katrina vanden Heuvel's "Dear Scooter, From Dick" (Editor's Cut, The Nation):

I admire your principled fight against the five indictments. But for my part, this is the rare case where this "principal" would be better off if you plead guilty. That's one reason why I let George accept your resignation. If you find a way to testify about the discussion we had relating to the Wilson-Plame matter, if any, I would be very interested in who your cellmate will be.
You were indicted in the fall. It is still fall. You fell down the stairs and broke your foot. Now you don't walk so good. It would be terrible if you fell down the stairs again and broke your skull. Others can cover up our stories--Iraqi WMD and the energy task force, Abu Ghraib and Guantánamo Bay. Out West, where you vacation, the aspens will already be turning. They turn in clusters, because their unbroken roots connect them. Do the thirty years. At least you still have your health.
Until then, you will remain in my prayers and under surveillance.
With admiration,


Mike's mother e-mailed to note this section of Robert Parry's "Letting the White House Walk?" (Consortium News):

The limited scope of the Libby indictment buoyed some conservatives, including former U.S. Attorney Joseph diGenova, who pounced on its narrow construction as a sign of White House vindication.
Meanwhile, other Republicans made clear that while they would spare Fitzgerald from a public-relations counter-offensive, they would continue their long-running campaign to disparage Wilson.
Because of his criticism of Bush's use of WMD intelligence, Wilson -- who is now just a private citizen -- has become a bete noire for Republicans, on par with their hatred for the French, the United Nations or filmmaker Michael Moore.
Three months ago, the Republican National Committee even posted an article entitled "Joe Wilson's Top Ten Worst Inaccuracies and Misstatements," which itself used glaring inaccuracies and misstatements to discredit Wilson. [For details, see's "
Novak Recycles Gannon on 'Plame-gate.'"]
However, what upsets some Americans most about Fitzgerald's narrow indictment of Libby is that it seems to have let other participants in the Plame leak off the hook.
The larger conspiracy -- to punish an Iraq War critic for telling the truth about false intelligence used to take the United States to war -- will go unpunished and unexplained, at least for now.
In street terms, it looks a lot like the White House got a walk.

[Note, members know who Mike's mother is. She's shared links and excerpts here many times. But Mike's sister doesn't want to be "named" at his site and so until I get express persmission to note ___ as Mike's mother, I'm noting her this morning as "Mike's mother." She signed the e-mail "____, Mike's mother" with the blank filled in.]

Lloyd e-mails to note Matthew Rothschild's "The Cabal's First Casualty: Scooter Libby Indicted, Resigns; Cheney in Trouble" (This Just In, The Progressive):

When Lynne Cheney asked Libby how he felt, he gave, according to Woodward, a one-word answer: "Wonderful."
Then everyone started to gloat at the expense of Brent Scowcroft, Jim Baker, Lawrence Eagleburger, and especially Colin Powell, writes Woodward.
They are gloating no longer.
Cheney himself makes a cameo in the Libby indictment: "On or about June 12, 2003, Libby was advised by the Vice President of the United States that Wilson's wife worked at the Central Intelligence Agency in the Counterproliferation Division. Libby understood that the Vice President had learned this information from the CIA."
Mysterious accounts of unnamed people in the Vice President's office also crop up: "On or about June 9, 2003, a number of classified documents from the CIA were faxed to the Office of the Vice President to the personal attention of Libby and another person in the Office of the Vice President. . . . Libby and one or more other persons in the Office of the Vice President handwrote the names 'Wilson' and 'Joe Wilson' on the documents."
This indictment is burning the hair off of Cheney’s skin.
But he tried to stay cool, saluting Libby as "one of the most capable and talented individuals I have ever known."
And well might he praise Libby, for it seems Libby was doing his boss's dirty work in outing Valerie Plame, and then covering for his boss before the grand jury and federal investigators.
Libby testified he heard about Plame from reporters first, when the indictment says he heard it first from Cheney.
Libby didn't want to rat on his boss, and so his boss is grateful for that--and for his years of service to the cabal.

Ruth & Tracey e-mail to note John Nichol's "Patrick Fitzgerald: It's Not Over" (The Online Beat, The Nation):

The most intriguing news with regard to special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald's investigation of the apparent effort by the Bush-Cheney administration to punish former Ambassador Joe Wilson for revealing how the White House deceived the American people about the threat posed by Iraq is not the indictment of Vice President Dick Cheney's chief of staff.
Make no mistake, it is exceptionally significant that Cheney's closest aide and political confidante over the past two decades, I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, has been charged with two counts of making false statements to federal agents, two counts of perjury and one count of obstruction of justice for misleading and deceiving the grand jury about how he learned that Wilson's wife, Valerie Plame, was a Central Intelligence Agency operative.
Of course, it matters that Fitzgerald's office says Libby lied "about how and when in 2003 he learned and subsequently disclosed to reporters then-classified information concerning the employment of Valerie (Plame) by the Central Intelligence Agency." Of course it matters that, in response to these indictments, one of the most powerful players in Washington -- the right-hand man of the vice president, a pioneering champion of the neo-conservative worldview and a principal architect of the war with Iraq -- has resigned from his positions with the administration.
But what matters most are the questions that the Libby indictment has raised with regard to Cheney's actions?

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