Saturday, July 16, 2005

NYT: Rove's latest talking point implodes but the Times doesn't notice

Grab the tiger by the tail. That's what the daily reporting on Rove is these days.

As Sidney Blumenthal noted on Democracy Now! yesterday, the grand jury leaks are springing in an awfully convenient manner for Karl Rove:

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.

So today's talking points come via a team of reporters in this morning's New York Times. It's entitled "State Dept. Memo Gets Scrutiny in Leak Inquiry on C.I.A. Officer" and it's written by Richard Stevenson. (No "W." in his byline for a change.) But wait, that's not all.

Before we can move on we need to scroll credits: " "By RICHARD STEVENSON . . . This article was reported by Douglas Jehl, David Johnston and Richard W. Stevenson and was written by Mr. Stevenson."

Munch on that popcorn a little longer, we're still not done with the credits. "David E. Sanger and Scott Shane contributed reporting for this article." "With special guest-star Heather Locklear."
Okay, I'm kidding on the Locklear part. (I think.)

But that's six reporters [CORRECTION, five. Always check my math. Thanks to Shirley for catching this.] from the paper working on this story. And yet I honestly don't think they grasp what they're reporting.

Let's nutshell the article. There's a memo. From June 11, 2003. State Department memo. It refers to Valerie Plame as Valerie Wilson so it's obvious that Novak didn't see it, right?

Right? Why right? Why wouldn't he use her previous name? The same way that the right uses "Rodham" to clobber Hillary Clinton with to this day. Novak's not a talented journalist, but as a hack, he knows how to appeal to his base. "She's Wilson's wife! And she doesn't use his last name! Bra burner!"

Nothing's proven about whether or not Novak saw the memo by the fact that he used "Plame" and not "Wilson."

Here's the other big talking point: Rove's "warning" to Matt Cooper, it's okay because he immediately E-MAILED* Stephen J. Hadley (deputy national security advisor at the time). So see, Rove didn't do anything wrong.

Far from clearing Rove, that actually adds to the problems.

Why is that?

Rove e-mails (allegedly) Hadley that he "didn't take the bait" when Cooper asked about whether or not Joseph Wilson was damaging the Bully Boy with his statements.

We find out two important things right away. Let's go real slow.

1) Rove put the Bully Boy ahead of national security.

Do we all get that? He "didn't take the bait." No, he didn't. He deflected "the bait" by confirming he'd heard Plame was CIA. (According to the accounts.)

Is this going to be his defense? Is this how it will play out?

When confronted with possible bad polling, Rove confirms that someone's CIA? That's the defense?

Standing by his main man means putting the nation at risk?

That's a defense he wants to stand on?

(Like Blumenthal, I personally believe the leaks are orchestrated by Rove and others interested in saving Rove. Saving Lack of Privacy Rove. I'm just not sure if they're just tossing just about anything out there until they can find the best talking point or if they're tossing anything out there because they're trying to obscure the issues involved. Regardless, this talking point doesn't make things "rosy.")

Let's walk it through real simple. You're a reporter for Premiere. I'm a p.r. flack for Matt Damon. You call me up and ask, "Is it true that Damon's new movie bombed in previews?"
My response is to confirm you to that the woman filling out the card with her husband at the preview is CIA. I then fire off an e-mail to my boss saying, "Great news! I didn't take the bait! I steered the reporter to a CIA agent!"

Do we see the problem here? Supposedly, Cooper wants to know if the Bully Boy is being damaged by Wilson's statements. Rove deflects. He confirms that Wilson is married to a CIA agent.

Put out two hands in front of you and pretend they're scales. See which one tips when you weigh Bully Boy's polling with identifying a CIA agent.

2) I can't believe they did this. Bully Boy's no brain (neither is Rove) but are people going to pay attention to this defense?

If they are, do they get what the leak is saying?

Rove talked to Cooper before Novak's column was published. Rove told Hadley about the conversation. Let's say Rove just confirmed Plame to Cooper. (That's just as bad and it is identifying, but let's move on to a larger point that I don't think they see in this latest talking point). When Rove sent that e-mail (if he did) to Hadley, we have someone in national security that knows a CIA agent is on the verge of being outed.

I'm sure Condi will offer her "bowels of the agency" or "basement" or whatever looney remark she made re: the sixteen words originally.

It wasn't lower level. Her right-hand man knew. That's the talking point today. Her right- hand man knew that a CIA agent was about to be the topic of the press. What did they do at that moment to find out about leaks? Did they alert the CIA?

Or were they all high fiving and saying "Way to go Karl-ster! You didn't take the bait!"

Let's be really clear, Rove supposedly sent an e-mail to the deputy of national security immediately after getting off the phone with Matt Cooper. Let's go the Times' article:

After his conversation with Mr. Cooper, The Associated Press reported Friday, Mr. Rove sent an e-mail message to Stephen J. Hadley, then the deputy national security adviser, saying he "didn't take the bait" when Mr. Cooper suggested that Mr. Wilson's criticisms had been damaging to the administration.
Mr. Rove told the grand jury in the case that the e-mail message was consistent with his assertion that he had not intended to divulge Ms. Wilson's identity but instead intended to rebut Mr. Wilson's criticisms of the administration's use of intelligence about Iraq, The A.P. reported, citing legal professionals familiar with Mr. Rove's testimony. Dozens of White House and administration officials have testified to the grand jury, and several officials have been called back for further questioning.

If people are paying attention to today's talking point, Rove just ratted somebody out (though he probably doesn't realize it). Did he tell who he got the information from?


But the talking point advises us that the deputy of national security knows the press is talking about Valerie Plame being a CIA agent. Did Hadley follow up?

Don't toss out any nonsense that, "They may not have known she was undercover!" Hadley's job should have required him to find out what Plame's position was. Regardless of what her job was, the CIA should have been advised what was about to break. And Plame should have been warned.

Was the CIA advised? I don't know. But from Joseph Wilson's reactions, Plame sure wasn't warned. From his statements, she didn't get a heads up. Novak's column appears on the 14th of July. Rove talks to Cooper on the 11th of July. In those three days, what did Hadley do? What was the administration doing? (Yeah, I know, probably helping the story along, but that's not in their talking points.)

How did Hadley follow up? Did he report it to his superior? (Condi Rice.) What measures did they take to protect Plame? She wasn't assigned body guards at the time. Wilson's made no reference to her getting a call that said, "Hey Val, just a heads up, the press are talking about you, you're probably going to be the topic of a story and be named. Those friends and neighbors that don't know anything about who you really work for -- you might want to break it to them."

Hadley's job was not to protect Bully Boy from fading poll numbers. His job was national security.

If people are paying attention to today's talking point, one question should be, "What was done when Hadley was informed?" What steps got taken?

Was the CIA informed what was coming down the pike?

Or was everyone who is supposed to be working for the nation suddenly under the impression that their job was serving on the election committee for the Bully Boy?

From Thursday's mid-morning entry:

Wally e-mails to note Pirate Smile's post at Democratic Underground ("Plame has worked undercover within the past 5 years according to the WP") where Pirate Smile draws our attention to an October 4, 2003 Washington Post article entitled "Leak of Agent's Name Causes Exposure of CIA Front Firm" (by Walter Pincus and Mike Allen):
After the name of the company was broadcast yesterday, administration officials confirmed that it was a CIA front. They said the obscure and possibly defunct firm was listed as Plame's employer on her W-2 tax forms in 1999 when she was working undercover for the CIA.

Plame's name was first published July 14 in a newspaper column by Robert D. Novak that quoted two senior administration officials. They were critical of her husband, former ambassador Joseph C. Wilson IV, for his handling of a CIA mission that undercut President Bush's claim that Iraq had sought uranium from the African nation of Niger for possible use in developing nuclear weapons. -snip-
A former diplomat who spoke on condition of anonymity said yesterday that every foreign intelligence service would run Plame's name through its databases within hours of its publication to determine if she had visited their country and to reconstruct her activities. "That's why the agency is so sensitive about just publishing her name," the former diplomat said.

Shouldn't Hadley have been able to find out what the Washington Post did? Did he attempt to?
What did he do when he received Rove's e-mail?

His job wasn't to prop up the Bully Boy, his job was to protect the country. Serving the country, his job, would have entailed passing the knowledge on. Possibly up to Rice, possibly to the CIA.
But there should have been a follow up to determine a) what Plame's position was, b) what risks there were for the CIA and c) ensuring that a warning was conveyed to Valerie Plame and any agents or assets that worked with her.

Was that done?

Let's drop back even further. The Times article tells us that Rove spoke to Novak before he spoke to Cooper. Two days prior which puts that conversation on July 9th. Did Rove also e-mail about that one?

What was our National Security Agency doing when at least one participant knew that Plame was about to be outed?

Can't blame this one on outmoded computers at the FBI. If there's a breakdown in the sharing of intellegence, it appears to be a human breakdown. It appears to be someone or someones not doing his or their job. Maybe Hadley passed it on up the chain and, if so, maybe his hands are clean.

But all this posturing after the fact by the Bully Boy that he was committed to finding out who leaked Plame's identity -- it's false. He should have known it was coming before Novak's column was published. Rove sure should have told him. Hadley or Rice should have told him. He should have known what was coming down and efforts at questioning the staff should have begun prior to the outing being published.

If I'm not being clear here, Bully Boy wasn't watching someone snag change from a candy machine. This was a national security issue. And the claim that Valerie Plame wasn't undercover (1999 puts her in the five year provision, other reporting carries it further) doesn't negate the fact that the leader of the country should have ensured that action was taken to warn Plame of what the press was asking.

Now maybe that 'triple decker, chocolate mocha joe, double secret background' meant that along with Cooper not talking, Rove was also supposed to be silent? That doesn't wash and not just because of the fact that that Rove allegedly e-mailed Hadley after speaking to Cooper. It doesn't wash because Plame's working for the government. The administration (at least Rove) and our National Security Agency (at least Hadley) know a government employee is about to be a topic in the press. If she were a secretary at the CIA (which she wasn't but some dismissive pundits have portrayed her as such), she still rated a heads up. Her bosses rated a heads up.

What did Rove and Hadley do with the information?

What it looks like, accepting today's talking point, is that they both put Bully Boy ahead of serving the country and ahead of doing their jobs.

Novak's column did not take the administration by surprise. Rove's latest talking point demonstrates that the administration knew people were asking about Plame (at least knew of Cooper, possibly Rove's not claiming he also passed on the news that Novak was snooping around also). There should have required no pressure (via the public urged on by David Corn and BuzzFlash) to get the Bully Boy moving on finding out what happened. In fact, the administration should have already been on it.

And instead of offering what appears to be the subtext of the article today (Scoots Libby going down!), the crack team of reporters for the New York Times (look at the list: Douglas Jehl, David Johnston, Richard W. Stevenson, David E. Sanger and Scott Shane ) should have included one individual who grasped what we've walked through -- one reporter who picked up the phone and asked Hadley for a statement. The article should have included it even if it were only, "Hadley stated he could not commment . . ."

I honestly don't think the Times realizes what they are reporting today. Or maybe they see it as a talking point and didn't feel it needed looking into.

But what they're reporting is that by July 11th, the deputy national security advisor knew that the press was asking about a CIA agent and apparently nothing was done to warn her agency or to warn her. The only phrase that comes to my mind is "Dereliction of duty."

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[Note: "E-MAILED*" Originally, for reasons of my own apparent idiocy, the word "phoned" was used in the sentence. Throughout the rest of this entry "e-mailed" is used. E-mailed is correct. Thanks to Zach for catching that.]

Friday, July 15, 2005

Victor Navasky on CSPAN's After Words Sunday July 17th

For those with time Sunday and looking for an actual discussion (as opposed soundbyes and backslapping, self-congratulations), consider this:

Watch Nation publisher Victor Navasky this Sunday night,
July 17,
on CSPAN's new show
"After Words"
discussing the importance of opinion journalism and his new book.

CSPAN's After Words:
July 17, 2005
Featuring Victor Navasky interviewed by David Frum
6:00pm EST and then again at 8:55pm

Get a taste of Navasky's book, A MATTER OF OPINION, from a recent Nation magazine excerpt.

Listen to Navasky talking with Marc Cooper on a recent episode of the RadioNation AudioBlog.

See the A MATTER OF OPINION website for info and to order copies online.

And check our "After Words" each Sunday night for the finest in televised book commentary.

Finally, check out The Nation to post comments to our blogs, to view news-wire links updated twice each day, to see daily weblog postings, for info on nationwide activist campaigns, and to read exclusive online reports, Nation History offerings and special weekly selections from The Nation magazine!

The above is from an e-mail sent out by Peter Rothberg to people who sign up for alerts at The Nation.

Ted e-mailed about a comment I'd made on A Matter of Opinion in The Third Estate Sunday Review "Five Books, Five Minutes." I'd stated that Navasky's Naming Names was a once in lifetime book. I do feel that. I feel that Backlash is Susan Faludi's once in a lifetime book, for instance, as well. That's not to say that they don't write other wonderful books (or that my judgement can't be wrong). Any good author (and Navasky and Faludi are two) should have several strong books worth reading. But there's one that will stand out for each reader. For me, Naming Names is just not something that can ever be topped. It's a masterpiece, put in the canon because it's interlocking, interwoven and brilliant. That's not saying that you stop reading strong readers. (Or that Navasky -- or Faludi -- couldn't top their own works.) If you think of Tapestry, the Carole King album, think of Kat's review where she spoke of the begrudging praise that usually followed Tapesty from some of, "Carole King never topped it" and Kat's response of who did?

People can complete their masterwork and still continue to be worth reading. Or think of the praise/critical opinion of Joni Mitchell's Blue -- how she poured everything she had into that album. That's how Naming Names is for me when I read it. (And I've read it many times.) That's not meant to suggest that A Matter Of Opinion is "just okay." If you read the discussion, you'll see that people start mentioning incidents and concepts in the book. There's a lot in the book. It's worth reading. It's a strong book.

Ted's impression was that I was saying Naming Names was Star Wars and A Matter of Opinion was The Empire Strikes Back. I've never seen the Star Wars films so that analogy doesn't work for me. But if you haven't read A Matter of Opinion, read it. You might like it better than Naming Names. Different people respond to different things. I felt Navasky not only told history in Naming Names, not only made it come alive but brought you something you didn't see in the other books on that period (McCarthyism).

If it helps any, I think Nabakov's masterpie is Ada and I'm sure not many would pick that book as Nabakov's finest. For different reasons, a book will speak to someone. Which is a point made here all the time. If Katrina vanden Heuvel doesn't speak to you, try Bob Somerby, if Somerby doesn't speak to you, try Jude, if Jude doesn't try Rebecca, or Mike, or Bill Scher, or Betty . . .

Different voices will speak to different people for different reasons. (Can I use "different" one more time in the preceding sentence?)

I think A Matter of Opinion is a strong book, worth reading, worth thinking about and discussing with people you know. If you haven't checked the book out yet, watch the program. If you're not around a TV Sunday evening, it will be archived and you can watch it online. (I'm not crazy about the interviewer, either.) It's a strong book. I've read it and will read it again. If Ted's asking someone else might be wondering so I hope that helps. (And remember, I can be -- and often am -- wrong. You might feel A Matter of Opinion tops Naming Names.)

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Sunday Chat & Chews (Bernstein MTP; Wilson Face the Nation)

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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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BuzzFlash: "Ambassador Joe Wilson's Letter to the Senate Select Intelligence"

From BuzzFlash, "Ambassador Joe Wilson's Letter to the Senate Select Intelligence Committee:"

First conclusion: "The plan to send the former ambassador to Niger was suggested by the former ambassador's wife, a CIA employee." That is not true. The conclusion is apparently based on one anodyne quote from a memo Valerie Plame, my wife sent to her superiors that says "my husband has good relations with the PM (prime minister) and the former Minister of Mines, (not to mention lots of French contacts) both of whom could possibly shed light on this sort of activity." There is no suggestion or recommendation in that statement that I be sent on the trip. Indeed it is little more than a recitation of my contacts and bona fides. The conclusion is reinforced by comments in the body of the report that a CPD reports officer stated the "the former ambassador's wife offered up his name'" (page 39) and a State Department Intelligence and Research officer that the "meeting was apparently convened by [the former ambassador's wife] who had the idea to dispatch him to use his contacts to sort out the Iraq-Niger uranium issue." In fact, Valerie was not in the meeting at which the subject of my trip was raised. Neither was the CPD Reports officer. After having escorted me into the room, she departed the meeting to avoid even the appearance of conflict of interest. It was at that meeting where the question of my traveling to Niger was broached with me for the first time and came only after a thorough discussion of what the participants did and did not know about the subject. My bona fides justifying the invitation to the meeting were the trip I had previously taken to Niger to look at other uranium related questions as well as 20 years living and working in Africa, and personal contacts throughout the Niger government. Neither the CPD reports officer nor the State analyst were in the chain of command to know who, or how, the decision was made. The interpretations attributed to them are not the full story. In fact, it is my understanding that the Reports Officer has a different conclusion about Valerie's role than the one offered in the "additional comments". I urge the committee to reinterview the officer and publicly publish his statement. It is unfortunate that the report failed to include the CIA's position on this matter. If the staff had done so it would undoubtedly have been given the same evidence as provided to Newsday reporters Tim Phelps and Knut Royce in July, 2003. They reported on July 22 that: "A senior intelligence officer confirmed that Plame was a Directorate of Operations undercover officer who worked 'alongside' the operations officers who asked her husband to travel to Niger. "But he said she did not recommend her husband to undertake the Niger assignment. 'They (the officers who did ask Wilson to check the uranium story) were aware of who she was married to, which is not surprising,'" he said. 'There are people elsewhere in government who are trying to make her look like she was the one who was cooking this up, for some reason,' he said. 'I can't figure out what it could be.'
"We paid his (Wilson's) airfare. But to go to Niger is not exactly a benefit. Most people you'd have to pay big bucks to go there,' the senior intelligence official said. Wilson said he was reimbursed only for expenses." (Newsday article Columnist blows CIA Agent's cover, dated July 22, 2003). In fact, on July 13 of this year, David Ensor, the CNN correspondent, did call the CIA for a statement of its position and reported that a senior CIA official confirmed my account that Valerie did not propose me for the trip: "'She did not propose me," he [Wilson] said--others at the CIA did so. A senior CIA official said that is his understanding too."

There is more and please read it. We've noted what I'm remembering as an abridged version of this previously posted by BuzzFlash. Pages 477 -418 of Wilson's The Politics of Truth contains the Times' op-ed for those e-mailing to request a way to read it other than paying to view it at the Times.

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NYT: "Head of Hospital at Guantanamo Faces Complaint" (Neil A. Lewis)

Lawyers for detainees at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, have filed an ethics complaint with the medical licensing board of California asking that the commander of the Guantánamo detainee hospital be disciplined on the ground of providing improper care.
[. . .]
It maintains that Captain Edmondson has supervised a system in which doctors sometimes withhold medicine from prisoners if they are deemed not cooperative enough with their interrogators. The complaint does not assert that Captain Edmondson has been a direct participant in that effort, but says he is responsible for its occurrence.

Amidst the Focus on the Fool coverage and the "I've always been honorable and doing it for the team so I'm stepping down . . . because I'm being investigated" it's hard not to notice the issue of "balance" in the Times today. It appears to be right wing, right wing, right wing, oh here's a Democrat. It's a funny kind of duck-duck-goose reporting. Anybody else noticing that or is it just me? Maybe I'm seeing things?

Instead of noting that, we note the above. A tiny article, truly it's five paragraphs, by Neil A. Lewis entitled "Head of Hospital at Guantanamo Faces Complaint." It's a small article, but it's an important one. It's one about accountability. And it's no shock to anyone who's aware of Jane Mayer's recent article ("The Experiment") in The New Yorker. (Again, click here for a summary of Mayer's article as well as links to Mayer's interviews discussing the article -- two on Democracy Now! and one in The New Yorker.)

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NYT: "Rove Reportedly Held Phone Talk on C.I.A. Officer" (David Johnston & Richard W. Stevenson)

On Oct. 1, 2003, Mr. Novak wrote another column in which he described calling two officials who were his sources for the earlier column. The first source, whose identity has not been revealed, provided the outlines of the story and was described by Mr. Novak as "no partisan gunslinger." Mr. Novak wrote that when he called a second official for confirmation, the source said, "Oh, you know about it."
That second source was Mr. Rove, the person briefed on the matter said. Mr. Rove's account to investigators about what he told Mr. Novak was similar in its message although the White House adviser's recollection of the exact words was slightly different. Asked by investigators how he knew enough to leave Mr. Novak with the impression that his information was accurate, Mr. Rove said he had heard parts of the story from other journalists but had not heard Ms. Wilson's name.

The above is from "Rove Reportedly Held Phone Talk on C.I.A. Officer" by David Johnston and Richard W. Stevenson.

From the article:

The disclosure of Mr. Rove's conversation with Mr. Novak raises a question the White House has never addressed: whether Mr. Rove ever discussed that conversation, or his exchange with Mr. Cooper, with the president. Mr. Bush has said several times that he wants all members of the White House staff to cooperate fully with Mr. Fitzgerald's investigation.
In June 2004, at Sea Island, Ga., soon after Mr. Cheney met with investigators in the case, Mr. Bush was asked at a news conference whether "you stand by your pledge to fire anyone found" to have leaked the agent's name.
"Yes," Mr. Bush said. "And that's up to the U.S. attorney to find the facts."

I'm tired and exhausted (and the day's just beginning) so take this that I'm in bad mood. At another time, this might look like a well reported article.

It doesn't to me right now. First of all, while they do a tiny paragraph on the law, they fail to say to readers, "Unlike what Victoria Toejam told us earlier in the week, the law says . . ." Readers who read every day are unaware that they've been misled.

They have been misled. That's why we've screamed and hollered here for people to tell us what the law says. (And we've been very fortunate here to have Attorney X to walk us through.)

Victoria Toejam, a friend of Novak's, a pundit, a Republican, is hardly the person to be conveying what the law means. Think I'm just too skeptical?

Let's go to David Corn ("De-Spinning the Save-Rove Spin"):

* Today's Washington Post reported this: "Victoria Toensing, who helped write the [Intelligence Identities Protection Act], has said that there is likely no such evidence [that could convict the leaker] in this case, because the statute was designed to have a high standard and requires proof of intent to harm national security." Well, I would respectfully suggest that Toensing--a good Republican lawyer and commentator, which is not how she is identified in the Post, who is always willing to talk to me--should go back and review the law she helped write. It reads:
Whoever, having or having had authorized access to classified information that identifies a covert agent, intentionally discloses any information identifying such covert agent to any individual not authorized to receive classified information, knowing that the information disclosed so identifies such covert agent and that the United States is taking affirmative measures to conceal such covert agent's intelligence relationship to the United States, shall be fined under title 18, United States Code, or imprisoned not more than ten years, or both.
Where's the part that says the leaker has to leak purposefully to harm national security? There is no such standard. Perhaps the Post reporters should also read the law.

Someone else went over that yesterday as well. (Maybe Bob Somerby, maybe Jude, maybe Bill Scher. I'm not trying to avoid crediting, I'm just really, really tired.) But why is it that people outside newspapers are going over the law and reporters for newspapers (Corn writes for The Nation -- a weekly magazine, he occassionally does pieces for LA Weekly) aren't?

We said here earlier this week that people needed to be informed of the law. We stated that if it was confusing to anyone at the Times, all it would take would be one phone call to Floyd Abrams. We're still not getting the impression that the Times understands the law. Maybe they do.

If that's the case, they need to revisit what Toejam told them. Like the Washington Post, they ran with it. It's not apparently accurate. Readers need to know that. This is an ongoing story, it needs to be in the text of the next article. Which may be Saturday, in which case, it needs to be repeated on Sunday. This is nonsense. The Times didn't identify her as a friend of Novak's. They made it appear that she's just a disinterested party. It's time for them to say, "According to a legal opinion commissioned by the Times, this is what the law says . . . Earlier this week, we reported the opinion of Vicky ToeJam. Contrary to that opinion, the law in fact says . . ."

I could ridicule this article from here to tomorrow for a variety of reasons. Realizing I'm tired and in a bad mood, I'll be kind. I'll point out that it's not all Stevenson and Johnston's fault. The reporting on this has been sorry from the start. To lay the blame solely at their feet misses the point of how the paper works. When, for instance, Vicky ToeJam popped up this week, the editor should have asked, "Who's Vicky ToeJam?" The reporter should have replied, "She claims she co-wrote the act." The editor should have then asked, "Is there anything else we need to know about her?"

At that point, her close friendship to Robert Novak should have been noted. If it was, the editor should have made sure it went in the article. If it wasn't noted by the reporter, the editor now needs to figure out why it wasn't noted. It's an important detail. Media Matters pointed it out in January. (Though that didn't prevent the Washington Post from again making the same mistake. But we focus on the Times.) Someone messed up. The Times needs to figure out if it was the reporter or the editor.

And I'll even give the benefit of the doubt (I'm that tired) to the reporter if it was his error. He may have been under a tight deadline. Fine. But you correct the mistake. You do it promptly. That hasn't happened. And since it was put out in an article and the topic continues to be covered, it needs to be noted in an article.

There are other problems with the article but we'll make that the focus for now.

I'll also note that BuzzFlash has a letter by Joseph Wilson. We'll do an excerpt in another entry.

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Thursday, July 14, 2005

Indymedia Roundup: Russ Feingold interviewed (Chris Lugo & Sharon Cobb), Robert McChesney interviewed (Joseph McCombs)

Russ Feingold was the only Senator to vote against the Patriot Act. He was the first Senator to introduce legislation into the US Senate demanding a timetable for ending the war in Iraq and he is a leading proponent of national health care. Feingold was in Nashville on Saturday, July 9th to address the statewide conference of Democracy for Tennessee, an organization dedicated to running progressive Democrats candidates in Tennessee.

Chris Lugo, Tennessee Indymedia: Could you address the resolutions introduced in the House and Senate to bring the Troops home?

Senator Russ Feingold:

I am pleased to see that one of the most conservative members of the House and one of the biggest leaders of the pro-Iraq war movement introduced a bill that put a timetable on the withdrawal of troops from Iraq. What I did in the Senate, and I was the first one to do this is to introduce a resolution that would cause the President within thirty days to give us his mission statement of what we are doing there, what the timetable is for accomplishing the steps that have to be accomplished and a timetable for withdrawing the troops. So there are different approaches but it is a sign when you see a bipartisan group like we did in the House come together and when I do a resolution like mine some Republicans came up to me and said, "you know I am not sure about your language but maybe we can work together." There is a very fundamental anxiety about this Iraq intervention that the President is trying to repress and deny but it is real and it is growing and it is growing in places like South Carolina not just places like Massachussets.

How did your colleagues respond to that?

Some concern. Many of my colleagues are afraid of being associated with the idea of withdrawing the troops because whenever it is mentioned the President says we can't just cut and run but of course that is a false choice. There aren't just two choices, to stay forever or cut and run -what we need is a rational approach that tells not only the American people but the Iraqi people that we have a plan to leave someday, that we are not just trying to occupy it, this is the way to take the wind out of the sails of the insurgents and the terrorists. In fact, one of the retired generals told me off the record, I said "wouldn't we be better off if we had some vision of when we are going to leave" and he said "nothing would be better to take the wind out of the sails of the terrorists." I think the President doesn't understand the dynamic there. This has become a recruiting ground for terrorists all over the world. We don't know who perpetrated the London bombings but we may find out that these are people who were trained in Iraq because Porter Goss, the head of the CIA, says that that is what is happening. The people are being trained in urban warfare and are being exported around the world so I think that we have been playing into the hands of the terrorist by getting into a situation that we were not prepared for.

Can you comment on Rumsfeld's statement that we will be in Iraq for twelve more years?

Well, that is more honest than some of the things I have heard. I certainly oppse being there that long but I think that when you get yourself caught in an insurgency that has the ability to recruit people from all over the world because they want to do target practice on our kids then you are asking yourself for a very long duration. I mean ask the French what happened in Algeria, ask the Soviets what happened to them in Afghanistan, this is the kind of thing we have gotten ourselves into and it is not the best way to counter Al Queda and I really wish we could get back to the approach we were taking after 9/11 but before we got into Iraq, that is what I am urging the President and the Congress to do.

So what would your exit strategy be?

Well, I think the President should identify the steps that have to be taken, I mean he has roughly referred to things such as how many police need to be trained, how many military need to be trained, when the constitution should be done, but what we need to do is sort of set forth those pieces of it, do everything we can to get other countries to assist in training people and also to provide troops to replace our troops so that there could be more of an international force and basically say "look we are going to be here about this long" and "we believe this can be done within this time frame" and it has to be somewhat flexible, you don't want to be too rigid about it. You know, this idea of a timetable worked with the transfer of sovereignty, it worked with the elections. We said we are going to do it on this date, people weren't sure it was going to happen, what happened was positive. So it is sort of illogical, in fact the President said in his recent speech, which was frankly one of the worst foreign policy speeches I have ever heard, he said "we can't put more troops in because people will think that we will stay there forever." That is exactly why we need some kind of vision for when we are going to leave, otherwise people are going to think we are going to stay there forever and so the very logic that the President uses requires us to realize it is going to help the Iraqi democracy if the central issue in Iraqi politics doesn't become how do we get Americans out of here because you can be sure that is going to be the central issue if we don't have any vision of when we are going to leave.
Have you spoken with Senator Frist about the health care crisis in Tennessee?

I have not, but I look forward to it now that I have been here and heard a lot of the different things going on. It is a very important, very difficult story, the history of Tenncare and one of the things I have done here is heard some of the concerns that have occured, some of the positive visions that Tenncare had in the first place but there are lessons to be learned for any efforts that we have on national health care from this experience.
Sharon Cobb:
Where do we go from here with the Patriot Act and how do we reform it?

Well, we have reached across the isle on the Patriot Act and I didn't have to do it. The pressure on a lot of conservative Republicans back in their home states became very intense after people realized the points I had made when I voted against the Patriot act. People realized that their library records are vulnerable. I was the only Senator who voted against the Patriot act, there were about sixty House members who voted against it. People realized their houses could be searched without any warning, and that their houses were being searched even if they had nothing to do with terrorism, in fact even if they had done nothing wrong. So our goal here is not to repeal the Patriot Act but to fix those provisions so that it focuses on terrorists, not on law abiding citizens. There is a bipartisan bill called the 'Safe Act' which a bill would fix many of the provisions that caused me to be the sole vote against the Patriot act.
Chris Lugo is an editor with the Tennessee Independent Media Center
Sharon Cobb is an independent journalist based in Nashville and editor of

The above, sent in by Brent, is from Chris Lugo's "Interview with Senator Russ Feingold on Iraq, the Patriot Act and Tenncare" from Tennessee Independent Media Center.

Erika e-mails to note Joseph McCombs "No News, Good News: Talking with media agitator Robert McChesney about propaganda, PBS, and punditry" (The Village Voice):

McCombs: I read a New York Times article from March regarding government-produced "news segments," with their own video footage, that have been termed "good news reporting."
McChesney: In a more sane society, it would be the sort of thing that would get a government thrown out of office if we took our Constitution seriously. When the Bush administration engaged in the explicit propaganda activities that violate not only the spirit, but the letter of the law, the so-called conservatives, who are supposedly in favor of small government, were absolutely stone cold quiet.
Does that silence suggest that they were complicit with it, or that they were embarrassed by it?
It just suggests that they are unprincipled because they weren't outraged by it.
Is there a role that the government can play insofar as just providing the raw video that they have?
The government shouldn't be doing this stuff. Period. I don't understand what the point of that is.
Just trying to get at where the opposing viewpoint comes from --
The opposing viewpoint, in terms of those who are in favor of the government doing propaganda?
Having a role in the news reporting process.
The government has a huge role in the news gathering process. That's not the question. The issue is whether the government should be aggressively doing PR and trying to shape the news by creating bogus stories. And that is indefensible. There is no "other side" of that one.

The e-mail address for this site is This is one of three indymedia roundups.

Indymedia roundup: kids tried as adults (Kathryn Eastburn) & "Time to Mobolize" (Kellie Shoemaker)

At 16, Dietrick Mitchell was a troubled boy. His aunt Linda says Dietrick was troubled from age 8, when she called his school to report that his mother -- her sister -- was a drug abuser who neglected and abused her children.
As a young teenager, Dietrick got in trouble for theft, alcohol use and some other minor offenses. Then on August 9, 1991, he made a terrible mistake.
After drinking all day with an 18-year-old girl and a 14-year-old boy, Dietrick, who didn't have a driver's license, got behind the wheel of a car and drove across Denver. Trying to evade a policeman who was following him, he turned a corner. He took his eyes off the road momentarily and hit a pedestrian, 16-year-old Danny Goetsch. Dietrick fled the scene. A day later, Danny was dead.
When Dietrick confessed to his aunt what he had done, she took him to the police station, telling him what happened was an accident and that he should face the consequences.
"We didn't get an attorney," Linda Mitchell said. "The next thing I knew, he was on television being tried as an adult for murder."
At 17, after spending a year awaiting trial in the county jail, Dietrick Mitchell was convicted of first degree murder with extreme indifference. He refused a 40-year plea bargain agreement from the District Attorney's Office because he and his aunt did not believe he would be convicted of murder.
Prosecutors painted him as a gang member, a characterization Mitchell and his aunt both denied. An expert on gangs testified at the trial that no colors were involved and that though there were drive-by shootings among gangs at the time, nobody had used a car as a weapon and considered it a gang hit. The coroner testified that based on the injuries sustained by Goetsch, it appeared Dietrick was driving at about 30 miles per hour.
Dietrick Mitchell was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole in an adult penitentiary. That was 13 years ago. Dietrick now is 30. If he lives to be 70, Colorado taxpayers will pay another $2 million, on top of an estimated $650,000 already spent, to jail him until he dies.
"He was in maximum security, behind glass, for six years," said Linda Mitchell. "For our lawmakers to allow these kids' lives to be thrown away is a crime.
"You've already lost one life, then you throw away another one."

The above is a lengthy excerpt (it's a long article worth reading) from Kathryn Eastburn's "Life Without Life: Should kids be punished as adults in Colorado's justice system?" (Colorado Springs Independent) and was sent in by Cedric.

Toni e-mails to note Kellie Shoemaker's "Time to Mobilize" (Eugene Weekly):

Planned Parenthood typically refrains from asserting the sky is falling or the bridge is burning. But as of July 1, the sky is holding precariously above us and the bridge has a match flickering close to its wooden planks.
On the afternoon before Independence Day weekend -- a holiday in which we celebrate and honor freedom -- Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor announced that she would resign from the highest court in the nation effective on the confirmation of her successor. Because Planned Parenthood is the nation's largest voluntary reproductive health organization, we know firsthand that nothing matters more for women's independent freedom, health, lives and safety than the justice appointed to be her replacement.
Justice O'Connor's announcement marked the end of the longest period since the 1820s without a Supreme Court resignation, and the first Supreme Court nominee of President Bush.
This is where the bridge starts to smolder.
Thirty-three years ago, a clear majority (7-2) voted in favor of Roe v. Wade, the landmark case that guaranteed legal access to abortion for women nationwide. Since then, the makeup of the Court has changed dramatically.
When Planned Parenthood v. Casey reached the Court in 1992, only two remaining justices supported Roe in its entirety. In 2000, when the Supreme Court reviewed Stenberg v. Carhart, four of the nine justices made it clear that they support either overturning Roe v. Wade or eliminating the protections guaranteeing that women's health and lives are paramount.
With Justice O'Connor's resignation, there remain only four justices on the court who have ruled to protect women's health and safety.

This is one of three indymedia roundups. The e-mail address for this site is

Indymedia roundup: Focus on Rove

BuzzFlash: Let's put the legal investigation aside, because no one can read Patrick Fitzgerald's mind or know whether he has the goods and the courage to indict Rove at this time. But, let's suppose an outcome where Rove is indicted and Bush has no choice but to ask him to step aside. How could Bush function without Rove? Rove just got a promotion and is basically the President of the United State for domestic affairs.
Moore: Bush cannot function without Rove. And the GOP is equally invested in his skills. I expect that, if the pressure gets too great, the president will move Rove out of the White House so he can continue to use his brain on congressional matters like Social Security and tort reform while not having to suffer quite as much politically with Rove still sitting in the West Wing. But I don’t think Bush will make such a move, if he can avoid it. His Achilles heel is his loyalty to his friends and it always has been. Bush will stick with Rove long past the point that he ought to have cut his losses and he will endure significant political harm.
BuzzFlash: You are an expert on Rove, having covered him in Texas for years and co-authored the thorough and insightful book, "Bush's Brain." Given that Rove is now confirmed as one of at least two leakers in what we call PlameGate, how does his action -- which was an action of vengeance and a warning signal to other whistleblowers that everyone was fair game in Rove's world of counter attack -- fit in with prior dirty tricks and character assault that he launched since his young Republican college days?
Moore: He has done this kind of thing in the past. As a for instance, Rove worked with an FBI agent to launch an investigation into every Democratic officeholder in the state of Texas. None of them did anything wrong but they were all harmed by the news coverage of the probe. During the course of the investigations, reporters were constantly getting calls from Rove telling them about subpoenas that were being issued well before they had even been sent out by the FBI. There is a pattern of scurrilous behavior behind all of his political moves where he uses surrogates, cutouts, and other types of third party operatives to implement his plans and he keeps several layers of plausible deniability between himself and what he is doing. The ugly whisper campaign in South Carolina against John McCain, which questioned his mental health and suggested that he had a mixed race child out of wedlock, was classic Rove. He had done the same thing against Ann Richards, starting rumors about her sexual orientation based upon appointments she was making to state boards and commissions.

It's Thursday, Indymedia round up. And the above is from BuzzFlash, "BuzzFlash Talks with Our Favorite Specialist on Karl Rove, Texas Journalist James Moore on 'What's Next with Rove, America's Benedict Arnold of the New Millennium." Cedric e-mailed this earlier today to highlight it and asked if it could be a lead item in one of the indymedia round up post? Absolutely. BuzzFlash is independent. It's not a part of Time Warner AOL CNN ESPN Disney ABC et al. And you can support BuzzFlash by purchasing a premium (or just donating money). (This is true of all independent media and supporting any that you can is encouraged. I stress BuzzFlash because it's one of the last sites left that I started out on. There's Bob Somerby's The Daily Howler, Bartcop and BuzzFlash. Others, like Media Whores Online, have ceased to be -- and are missed.)

On the same topic, Cedric e-mails to note Cara DeGette's "Mouthpiece at work" (Colorado Springs Independent):

Q: Does the White House have a credibility problem? A: We cannot comment on that until the investigation is complete.
Here now, is an excerpt from the official transcript of the July 11 White House press briefing between Scott McClellan and a roomful of reporters who were trying to square the White House spokesman's previous statements about presidential advisor Karl Rove with the recent developments about Rove's culpability in the CIA agent name leak. (Reporters continued to hammer at McClellan on July 12. Both press briefings can be read in full online at
QUESTION: Does the President stand by his pledge to fire anyone involved in the leak of a name of a CIA operative?
MR. McCLELLAN: Terry, I appreciate your question ... The criminal investigation that you reference is something that continues at this point. And as I've previously stated, while that investigation is ongoing, the White House is not going to comment on it. The President directed the White House to cooperate fully with the investigation, and as part of cooperating fully with the investigation, we made a decision that we weren't going to comment on it while it is ongoing.

Jonah e-mails to note Chris Lehmann's "The Great D.C. Plame-Out, Or: Novak, Lord of the Journo-Flies" (The New York Observer):

After much heaving and grunting, special prosecutor Patrick J. Fitzgerald has lifted one corner of the rock under which White House deputy chief of staff Karl Rove has wriggled lo these past two years. Mr. Rove was revealed, in a Newsweek story by Michael Isikoff, to have served as one of Time reporter Matt Cooper's sources in a piece on the outing of Valerie Plame as a C.I.A. agent. Now the press corps and the Democrats in Congress are starting to clamor for Mr. Rove's head.
But to expect any such swift comeuppance--straight out of All the President's Men--is to gravely misread how the state and the press do business in the new media age. Rather than lumbering into free-fire zones of public exposure, White House officials are now practiced hands in message discipline and Clinton-style semanticizing. That's why the press corps sniping at White House press secretary Scott McClellan on Monday--putting no fewer than 35 aggressive (and unanswered) questions to the doughy apparatchik--signified very nearly nothing. Mr. McClellan is the public point man for such questions precisely because he can offer no informed opinion. Indeed, in past exchanges on Mr. Rove's role in the Plame affair, he was reduced to lying as mind-reading-by-other-means: "I've known Karl for a long time, and I don't even need to go and ask Karl, because I know the kind of person he is."
Hounding a suit as empty as Mr. McClellan's into submission is far from a ringing vindication of the press' power. Indeed, like virtually everything else in the ghastly, backwards-spooling Plame saga, it exposes the press' sallow, retiring weakness in affairs of state. Just consider the other damning revelations in the e-mail from Mr. Cooper to his editor: the routine deference that a correspondent for one of the nation's largest-circulation weeklies shows in toeing the administration's line as it sets about its routine course of casual character assassination--even to the point of inadvertently compromising national security by exposing the identity of a C.I.A. operative.
Eliciting comment from President Bush's senior advisor "on double super secret background for about two mins [sic] before he went on vacation," Mr. Cooper sounds, in corresponding with his bureau chief, more like a teenager armed with an Encyclopedia Brown novel and a decoder ring than a reporter determined to uncover the dirt on a brewing White House scandal.

Erika e-mails to note Ward Harkavy's "Bush Speaks Up for Jailed Reporter!" (Village Voice):

Striking a blow for press freedom, George W. Bush's handlers released a statement Tuesday condemning Iran's jailing of Akbar Ganji.
Meanwhile, Judith Miller of the New York Times
rots in jail, unable to contact Ahmed Chalabi for more details on Saddam Hussein's massive WMD stockpiles.
Support for Ganji (left) just proves that there's no place the Bush regime won't
rove in the pursuit of capital—political and otherwise. And Bush himself apparently doesn't flinch when confronted with prisoners stripped of their rights. Or even if they're forced to wear underwear on their heads.
Ganji's is a worthy cause, even if cockroaches are streaming out of the right-hand side of the kitchen to creep onto his bandwagon. He's been at it for years,
pestering the mullahs about their involvement in political assassinations. But the heightened pressure on journalists these days—they're getting killed overseas, sometimes by U.S. troops—simply reflects the growing brutality toward human beings in many parts of the world. (Reporters Without Borders keeps good tabs on journos' dilemmas.)

Melanie e-mails to note Eli Sanders' "Rove Rage" (The Seattle Stranger):

The story that was burning up the blogs last week finally made it into the mainstream media: Karl Rove was involved in blowing a CIA agent's cover as an act of political vengeance. What a difference a scoop makes. As soon as Newsweek made the definitive link between Rove and CIA-leak-gate on Sunday, the mainstream media kicked into scandal overdrive, throwing in the administration's face a pattern of contradictory quotes from high officials that had been circulating on blogs for some time.
This was the media's own version of revenge for being mislead on the leak story for two years. On Tuesday, July 12, the New York Times trotted out a list of old statements by Bush and his spokesman Scott McClellan (statements that bloggers like Daily Kos had dug up and posted in the run-up to the news), and let the dissonance speak for itself: At a briefing on September 16, 2003, a reporter asked McClellan how President Bush knew that Rove wasn't involved. McClellan responded, "Well, I've made it very clear that it was a ridiculous suggestion in the first place... If anyone in this administration was involved in it, they would no longer be in this administration."

e-mails to note Marc Cooper's "Bring Me the Head of Karl Rove" (LA Weekly):

Until this week Karl Rove has had both a political and legal defense strategy. The former has now definitively crashed. Only the legal details remain an open question, and they are being zealously probed by special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald.
We now know for sure what we have long suspected. Two years ago exactly, Rove got on the White House phones and, speaking to at least one if not many more national reporters, he broke the cover of a CIA agent in a calculated move to discredit former ambassador Joe Wilson. Wilson's crime was to publicly question the manipulation of intelligence on Iraq by the same White House.
Shortly after Wilson wrote a piece in The New York Times debunking administration claims that Iraq was purchasing enriched uranium from Niger, Rove revealed to Time magazine's Matt Cooper that Wilson's wife was a CIA agent and that she was behind her husband's trip to Africa.
It seems like Clintonian déjà vu all over again. Rove's defense this week is that he didn't break a 1982 law protecting covert agents because he didn't actually use the name of Wilson's wife. Guess it all depends on what you mean by "name" -- Valerie Plame or Mrs. Wilson?
It will be up to prosecutor Fitzgerald to sort out this nuance -- a little wrinkle that may or may not have some jail time attached to it (we can certainly hope it does). But Rove's political crime is self-evident. None of us should be the least surprised that a political pro would spread political dirt about his opponents. This is what skilled consultants are hired to do. Rove, however, was acting as White House deputy chief of staff and was on the public pad. For someone in that post of authority to burn a CIA agent to stifle a war critic should outrage everybody.

Please note that the AP is currently reporting that Rove asserted the grand jury that he got the name from a journalist but couldn't remember whom. Actually, from more than one journalist. Reportedly, he named Robert Novak as one of the reporters who told him. (See John Solomon's "Rove Got CIA Agent ID From Media.")

Go to David Corn's site for more on this tomorrow. We'll also be noting something that Wally sent in from Corn's site tomorrow morning. (I don't want it buried here and it goes to reporting.)

This is one of three Indymedia roundups. I'm going with the things sent in that members pull quoted. I don't have time to go to links tonight, my apologies.

The e-mail address for this site is


Okay, this is a housecleaning post.

Let me note up front that I got home a half hour ago and grab the phone. It's Rebecca. I've got a headache. I have had a salad today and that's it, so I'm hungry too. I'd hoped to be in bed in an hour but that's not going to happen because we need to do housecleaning before we can get started on the Indymedia roundup.

First off, "West." I haven't read your e-mail. Rebecca read it to me. Consider yourself a member. You don't go through the crap you went through and take "visitor" status. We're happy to have you on board and as soon as I can, I will write you a personal e-mail. That won't be tonight. It may not be tomorrow.

But I am disgusted by what was done to you. (Readers who've missed this can go to Rebecca's entry on it as well as check the gina & krista round-robin tomorrow morning.) I am offended.

We did link to that site. Note "did." They're gone. I don't pull sites. (The panel once pulled a site that they had voted on.) I've never pulled a site and despite complaints in e-mails and the comments in the round-robin, I've maintained, "If it doesn't speak to you, don't go there."

I added that site at the request of members. That's not putting blame on them. They hate the site now. They feel that whatever happens in the world, the site somehow manages to miss it.
This has been an ongoing complaint from them as well as other members. I'm sure Gina and Krista are as tired of hearing me give them the quote "If it doesn't speak to you, don't go there" as I am of saying it.

I knew better. I shouldn't have linked to it. That was my mistake. I resisted requests to link to the site proper because of their treatment of someone I know. (Going back years. To when the CED was around.) The way he was treated offended me. It offended me for him and for the message he was trying to get out (one that we support 100% as a community).

But to people outside the US, it appeared that this sub-site was addressing issues. I don't know, I never went there. But we're a member site. It's a sub-site of an org/online publication. That made it my call. It was a huge mistake on my part. It would have stayed up because we don't unlink.

But we make an exception when the person behind it trashes someone. That's not right.

I'm sorry I wasn't there for Rebecca for most of the day. I'm sorry to you, West, that I'm unable to write you an e-mail tonight. You were treated hideously. There's no excuse for that behavior.

Rebecca told me about the phone conversation you have and you seem like a really interesting person. We're glad to have you in the community. Think of somethings you want highlighted in posts and send them on in. Take part in the community and help us be the best that we can. Don't count on me. I've only been able to go to BuzzFlash once this week. I was at The Daily Howler today and yesterday waiting when Dallas e-mailed that it wasn't up yet. That's it for me online. What you see highlighted here comes from members.

If we have a good day it's not because of me, it's inspite of me. Members shape and make this community.

Rebecca said you only recently discovered us. If you'd been around longer, you would know that I have asked members (here and in the gina & krista round-robin) not to ask for links. I don't know why the person got so nasty with you. But that's their problem. That has nothing to do with you.

Rebecca told me some of the things you wrote. If you were visiting for awhile, you'd know that my attitude is "Don't knock the mock." Humor is a powerful tool. I don't know the jokes you attempted but if they were attempted in humor, then someone's too damn thin skinned and needs to take a hard look at themselves. The problem's not you.

It's great that you wanted to get attention to this community. But we're not a blog. There's no reason for us to ever be mentioned in a blog report. I don't know the first thing about blogging and I've been upfront about that from day one. The UK Computer Gurus and Ron and others were very helpful and very patient. But I still don't know the first thing about blogging and I don't pretend to.

So it's okay if he doesn't like this site. (Though is problem with three other sites which are blogs, one was Rebecca's, the other two we link to but I'm not going into it partly because I'm rushing and partly because we highlight those blogs so members should know we stand behind them or with them or whatever.) He can write about whatever he wants. (Members think he writes about nothing -- repeatedly.)

When Ava and I have written The Manny (Brian Montopoli) we've stressed this isn't a blog, please don't mention it in the CJR blog report. We're a resource/review. We're here to say "This is a voice you should know about" or "This is an issue you should know about."

There are blogs on our permalinks. Those people know what they're doing. If someone doesn't speak to you, know it's there and find something else. Obviously, if they make our permalinks, we think they had something to say. So in the case of the two other sites, great judgement on your part, West, they're strong sites..

But some people don't want to discuss issues. They want to be silly and funny and, in this case, judging by members reactions, he can't cut it. That's his problem. It has nothing to do with you.

The fact that he had a meltdown and threw a temper tantrum today has nothing to do with you.
I'm going by Rebecca's rundown on the phone (I haven't even read her entry, she summarized it and I stand with the community), but don't ever apologize for a joke on my account. Don't ever feel that someone can position you in such a way that it's "Apologize to me or I won't link to your four sites ever again." As Ava and I told Brian about the sort of people who make those sort of comments, you either need to be sporting Joan Crawford shoulder pads or tying someone to a railroad to carry that off.

Maybe the guy was just having a bad day? That doesn't excuse the way you were treated. Your apology to me isn't accepted because you have nothing to say you're sorry for. I wish you could take back your apology to the jerk who forced it out of you.

That can't happen. But know in the future that we're not worried about links here. And please don't put yourself in that position again. Members were getting frustrated which is why I asked them to stop. I had no idea that someone would attack a person the way you were attacked. Speaking for me, I'm very sorry that you were attacked. I'm sorry that you were bullied and belittled. Again, that says a lot about the person.

If he didn't realize they were jokes, I'm sure he could have e-mailed you. He apparently had no problem e-mailing you after the fact, after he pulled your posts and blocked your posting rights.

That's how some people are. But it's not how everyone is. There isn't one blogger on our permalinks that I believe would ban you from posts because you made a joke that went to the fact that sites on the left need to work the left. Not be pushing the fright wing repeatedly. Twice in one day is what Rebecca reports. That's twice too many.

Apparently, you weren't supposed to apologize to the four of us. Guess someone bullied a little too hard? That happens. I can only speak for me and I'm saying you don't owe me an apology.
I applaud your enthusiasm, I support your right to joke.

That someone wants to have a fit about you urging them, after they've done candy & valentines to the fright wing twice that day, to step out of the Republican closet (that's a paraphrase -- I'm not sure of the exact wording, I had a huge headache when I was on the phone with Rebecca), is really too bad for them. Or him.

And that's actually what confuses me the most and what Rebecca couldn't answer. I'm not sure whether he was speaking for himself or speaking for the site. I don't know, I don't care.

There's no excuse for the way you were treated. I'm glad that you found something here that spoke to you. And that it spoke to you enough that you wanted to share it.

To existing members, this is good reason not to push links. We don't need them. And when you're dealing with some people they're going to be rude. They're going to act like children.

If I'm repeating myself (and I'm always repeating myself) it's because I'm tired, hungry and have a killer headache. I'd go in and pull up West's e-mail address but as members who've gotten late night e-mails from me can attest, if you think I go round and round here, try making it through an e-mail I write at a late hour.

The points are this.

1) You did nothing wrong, West. You have nothing to apologize to me for.
2) The link was a mistake on my part.
3) The people who asked for it now slam it constantly.
4) Even so, it would have stayed up were it not for the way you were treated.
5) I don't tolerate that.
6) If he was confused about your remarks, he should have taken it to you first.
7) The "you better apologize to me" (as told to by Rebecca) was nonsense. Who is he? The f**king Who? "You better, you better, you bet!"
8) An apology demanded isn't a genuine one. Anyone who demands one, who bullies for one, isn't wanting an apology, they're wanting their ego stroked.
9) People can get passionate about issues. I've noted that before here and at The Third Estate Sunday Review and I stand behind that. But bigger people apologize. This wasn't a blogger who's doing 800 things and still trying to put out a blog. This was someone who's paid to do a job. And professionalism was not exhibited in the way you were treated (as conveyed to me by Rebecca). That says a great deal.
10) If tomorrow Eli wrote that Bob Somerby tore into him, my attitude would be, "He's under stress because if he doesn't say exactly what we want to hear, he gets attacked." [And if the guy who attacked West wants to attempt to use that justification, Somerby's addressing big issues. He's not debating penis size or whatever else members have complained about. He's taking difficult stands. From all reports, the guy that attacked West makes Elisabeth Bumiller look like a fine journalist.] I'd also point out that The Daily Howler is not his living. He's making a living and he's dedicating a huge amount of time to The Daily Howler. He was recently doing weekend posts on Saturday and that's way more than even a fan of The Howler like myself (and I'd readily cop to being a student of Somerby's -- I've learned a lot from his work). There's a tendency to not only expect excellent work for him, but to also expect him to validate every feeling or view we have or hold.
The reason the site matters is because he speaks in his voice. I've noted before that I don't always agree with him. I've also noted that he's an important voice. If he's off on something you don't care about, blow it off. But I think people should hang in there even during those times because he's too smart and too important to write off because one day (or two or three or whatever) he offers a critique that you don't agree with. I didn't agree with the Lawrence Summy view. That didn't make me stop checking out The Howler. I've read every entry he's got up there so obviously I think he's doing excellent work. And he's not getting paid for it. He's put his own time into it because it matters to him, the points he's making matter to him. Jude's the same way. Anyone who's on the links that now makes money at it, didn't start off that way.
It was done because they wanted to say, "Hey, here's something that I've noticed and I think you should take a look at it." So if someone lost their temper in an e-mail, I would reply to you, "Give them time to cool down." This was repeated e-mails to West. And from someone who's paid to do a job and presumably represents the site he works for. There's no excuse for that.
If they had a complaint department, the person would probably be facing a write up. If the person were someone who could take a good look at his actions, his last e-mail to you would not have been griping that you apologized to the four of us. He shamed you into both apologies. He hasn't conducted himself very well.
12) We have real issues to talk about. That doesn't include praising the fright wing bloggers. We're a community for the left and by the left. He's over, he's done, we're moving on.
13) Rebecca said that she wrote you deserved an apology from him. I hope you get that. You do deserve it. But he's not going back up here and he's not a concern to me.
He's not a member.
He's not a voice that's spoken to the community as a whole (he spoke to four or five members originally but they washed their hands off him long ago).
I don't tremble at the thought that I might not get linked. I'm perfectly fine with that. We can't take the positions we do and worry about links.
And he may not have wanted to link to us because we link to Tom Hayden. That is a sore spot with that organization. But as I told Wanda when she had her flame out (did we allow posting then?), there's always a place at the table for Tom Hayden.
This other guy, he snuck into the dining room. He's been escorted out. We won't set a place for him.
I don't delink. I didn't want the panel to remove the link that they did. If someone's not speaking to you, ignore them. Go somewhere else. But when someone does something so sleazy and does it behind your back, as happened to West, they don't belong at this table.
With the one delinking done by the panel, I was opposed to it. And remain opposed to it. But the panel has final say and argued their case very well.
The guy we're delinking from now, I don't care about him. It is a rejection, we are rejecting him.
If you hadn't e-mailed the four of us plus him with your apology to the four of us, he'd probably be feeling pretty smug now about forcing an apology from you. He's probably not feeling so smug now. (Nor should he.)
Take comfort in that.

I'm providing a link to Rebecca's entry (she says it's a long one). That's it in this entry. I'm tired and need to do the Indymedia round up. (Which won't be much and don't expect much in five hours when it's time to cover the Times.) I also need to cross post at the backup site which I haven't had time to do at all today. They have nothing over there. I just realized I'm sitting here staring off into space. So don't expect much tonight or tomorrow. In the words of Kat, it is what it is.

And on the Democracy Now! post tomorrow, don't be surprised if it's just that and The Daily Howler. Tomorrow's going to be crazy at work. If it doesn't go up until the evening, it will go up. The person's gone, he's no longer linked to. There are no plans to ever mention him again. (Unless he starts more bullying on West.)

Rebecca said that she wrote about her fear that I wouldn't have a comment on this. West was a visitor who never even e-mailed before his apology today. For him to be trashed and treated the way he was is offensive to me. I'm not going to pretend like it didn't happen. (I understand why Rebecca worried that I would.) If I'd known about this earlier, I would have posted on it earlier. (Which would have taken time that I honestly didn't have.)

But there are real issues. He's a nonissue. Let him tell the world about the glories of the fright wing all he wants. Let him snuggle up to the Repubes if that's his desire. He doesn't have a place in this community. West does. West is a member and at the request of members, we're more membership driven now. We'll continue to be that. Visitors are welcome to drop a line but members will take priority. West is now one so make him feel welcome. And show him your support. The other guy, he's gone. He can walk on, (My friend who coined that jokes she may start charging me if I keep using it.)

The e-mail address for this site is Flamers and drive bys will be ignored.