Sunday, August 28, 2005

Rich reading

Best (and scariest) excerpt from Frank Rich's column this weekend, Vietnamization of Bush's Vacation:
The Democrats are hoping that if they do nothing, they might inherit the earth as the Bush administration goes down the tubes. Whatever the dubious merits of this Kerryesque course as a political strategy, as a moral strategy it's unpatriotic. The earth may not be worth inheriting if Iraq continues to sabotage America's ability to take on Iran and North Korea, let alone Al Qaeda.
Will a Democrat please stand up and take on George W.'s failed Iraq strategy? Is it you Russell Feingold?

Saturday, August 27, 2005

I'm back

Back from a brief week in Chicago...

To find this interesting piece, Memo to U.S.: Pay Attention to Canada in the New York Times on many of the big issues between the U.S. and Canada these days. Want our ? Abide by the softwood lumber rulings. Anger is brewing in the Great White North my American may say who cares, but read how our oil reserves are referred to as the "jewel" of North America and you may start to think otherwise.

Monday, August 22, 2005

Saturday, August 20, 2005

This says it all

Watch this brief clip from Hardball where Michael Scheuer, the former CIA terrorism analyst bluntly states the war in Iraq was a disastrous choice and why.


Cindy Sheehan's alleged favorability ratings.

Karl's candidates

We all know that picks the major candidates for U.S. elections, Governorships, Senate races, etc. But Karl calling Bill Weld, the former Massachusetts Governor in to run in N.Y. is just plain weird and pesky.

See what's going on here? The Republicans are not letting the major Democratic candidates with White House potential get free rides in what could have been "cakewalk" type races. Instead of letting Hillary Clinton and Eliot Spitzer run low cost "cruises" to electoral victory, the Republicans are putting up challengers that have little chance of winning yet will do whatever damage they can to reputations and bank accounts.

I'm not suggesting that parties should not be striving to make political races as competitive as possible. What I am in awe about is the power this White House has to get high profile candidates to take on such challenges. Wonder what's in it for them, as promised by Karl Rove?

Friday, August 19, 2005

Latest Karl Rove questions

In this interview transcript, Michael Wolff quite comically defends himself from Murray Waas regarding his latest Vanity Fair article: Media Culpa: Should The New York Times and Time Magazine Have Exposed Karl Rove's Role in the Outing of Valerie Plame? | Very interesting reading, the title of the link suggests the focus of the discussion.

Krugman says where is the outrage?

I've seen a few links to this story today and I'll throw it out there as well.
In his recent book "Steal This Vote" - a very judicious work, despite its title - Andrew Gumbel, a U.S. correspondent for the British newspaper The Independent, provides the best overview I've seen of the 2000 Florida vote. And he documents the simple truth: "Al Gore won the 2000 presidential election."

Two different news media consortiums reviewed Florida's ballots; both found that a full manual recount would have given the election to Mr. Gore. This was true despite a host of efforts by state and local officials to suppress likely Gore votes, most notably Ms. Harris's "felon purge," which disenfranchised large numbers of valid voters.

But few Americans have heard these facts. Perhaps journalists have felt that it would be divisive to cast doubt on the Bush administration's legitimacy. If so, their tender concern for the nation's feelings has gone for naught: Cindy Sheehan's supporters are camped in Crawford, and America is more bitterly divided than ever.
I don't know how Americans feel when they read this. There's nothing one can do about the past now. And there's little effort by Republicans (of course not) or Democrats to fix the broken electoral machinery that is controlled by the party in power in a given state. Ken Blackwell, the Ohio Secretary of State, controlled that state's electoral apparatus in 2004 while also serving as the Bush-Cheney campaign co-chair in Ohio. Such blatant conflict of interest should not be permitted. Period. What kind of situations end up happening?
And then there are the election night stories. Warren County locked down its administration building and barred public observers from the vote-counting, citing an F.B.I. warning of a terrorist threat. But the F.B.I. later denied issuing any such warning. Miami County reported that voter turnout was an improbable 98.55 percent of registered voters. And so on.
The American democracy is broken...the notion that America is a legitimate standard bearer of democratic ideals is simple hypocrisy. Would that it were not so.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Snapshot of Republican hypocrisy

Read this series of quotations at Daily Kos for a good laugh at how blatant the Republican hypocrisy is on American Iraq policy.

As I believe I have said before, the emperor has no clothes....

Maureen Dowd's column today

Yeah, I always link to this column. But her ability to capture the mood of the moment in such an entertaining yet laser sharp manner makes her column a must for me.

Her target, as usual, the shameless and arrogant President who has little sense of what to do now with Iraq, let alone how he should behave.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

More on Rove

Read this article detailing Patrick Fitzgerald's impatience for false testimony,Standing on the Shoulders of Perjury Law - Los Angeles Times, then read Murray Waas' latest on his blog where he writes:
Why were investigators so skeptical of Rove's claims at even such an early stage of the investigation? As I have previously reported, and others such as the Los Angeles Times and Newsweek have since confirmed, Rove never told investigators of his conversations with Time's Matthew Cooper during his initial FBI interview.

But perhaps even more importantly, Rove also claimed that he first learned about Plame's employment with the CIA-- not from a classified source-- but rather from a journalist.

What has not been previously reported until now (a blog breaks news!?), is that not only could Rove not remember the name of the journalist who purportedly might have told him of Plame's CIA employment, but he also claimed to remember virtually nothing about the circumstances of the purported conversation. He could not even recall whether the conversation took place on the phone or in person.

Bob Dole on Rovegate

Bob Dole does his best to go to bat for in his opinion piece today in the New York Times.

He argues, as one of the Intelligence Identities Protection Act's sponsors, that the law was purposely framed very narrowly:
I am also greatly concerned about Judith Miller's situation because she has been incarcerated as a result of an investigation into possible violations of the Intelligence Identities Protection Act of 1982, of which I was a sponsor. The law was intended to protect covert intelligence operatives whose lives would be endangered if their identities were publicly disclosed. We were particularly concerned about people like the notorious Philip Agee, a former C.I.A. officer who systematically exposed the agency's covert operatives.

Thus the act was drafted in very narrow terms: our goal was to criminalize only those disclosures that clearly represented a conscious and pernicious effort to identify and expose agents with the intent to impair America's foreign intelligence activities.
Not surprisingly, there has been only one prosecution under the act since it was passed.

That may have been the goal of the drafters, but this does not reflect the requirement in the statute. First though, let's look at Bob Dole's argument.

To analyze the issue using Bob Dole's words, don't Karl Rove's actions in confirming Valerie Wilson's identity as a CIA operative (to Novak and Matthew Cooper) have the same effect as actions taken by "...people like the notorious Philip Agee, a former C.I.A. officer who systematically exposed the agency's covert operatives"? What is the difference?

Aren't Rove's actions capable of fitting within Bob Dole's characterization of "disclosures that clearly represented a conscious and pernicious effort to identify and expose agents with the intent to impair America's foreign intelligence activities"? The political smearing of an opponent by disclosing the identity of his CIA wife is a conscious and pernicious effort to identify and expose an agent. That surely is true.

What Bob Dole gets wrong is the latter part of his statement of what constitutes an offence here, on the issue of intention. A disclosure will only be an offence if it has "...the intent to impair America's foreign intelligence activities" according to Dole. A former federal prosecutor of 20 years experience, however, wrote this on the issue of intent under that statute this past weekend - and this is worth reading:
This is what the Intelligence Identities Protection Act of 1982 says:

"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 U.S. is taking affirmative measures to conceal such covert agent's intelligence relationship to the U.S." shall be guilty of a crime.

So what, exactly, does the prosecutor have to prove about the defendant's state of mind under this law? Simply break down the run-on sentence. The defendant must "intentionally disclose" the information. To determine what "intentionally disclose" means, you must follow some basic rules of statutory construction. First, you look to see if the word is specifically defined within the statute itself. For example, the term "disclosed" is defined in the act to mean "communicate, provide, impart, transmit, transfer, convey, publish or otherwise make available."

The word "intentionally" is not defined in the statute, so you have to turn to the second rule of statutory construction, which is to see if it is defined or interpreted in applicable case law.

There is little case law on the statute itself. But there's a wealth of case law interpreting the term "intentionally" because it is a term of art found in nearly every criminal statute. Its meaning is well-established and straightforward. It simply means "on purpose, not by mistake or accident." So if someone runs off the bus and accidentally leaves behind papers that expose an undercover CIA agent's identity, no crime has been committed because Element 2 can't be proved.

Nowhere does this statute require proof that the defendant "wished to harm" an undercover agent or jeopardize national security. The reason why someone disclosed the information — whether for revenge, to prevent the publication of a story or to harm the U.S. — is an issue of motive, not intent.

Thus, there is no requirement that the offender have "...the intent to impair America's foreign intelligence activities."

Dole also perpetuates one of the Republican talking points on the statute, the requirement that the government be taking "affirmative measures" to protect the agent and that the leaker must be aware of this:
With the facts known publicly today regarding the Plame case, it is difficult to see how a violation of the Intelligence Identities Protection Act could have occurred. For example, one of the requirements is that the federal government must be taking "affirmative measures" to conceal the agent's intelligence relationship with the United States. Yet we now know that Ms. Wilson held a desk job at C.I.A. headquarters and could be seen traveling to and from work. The journalist Robert D. Novak, whose July 14, 2003, column mentioned Ms. Wilson, using her maiden name, and set off the investigation, has written that C.I.A. officials confirmed to him over the telephone that she was an employee before he wrote his column.

So once again, in the eyes of the Republican faithful, the CIA referred this to the Justice Department for no reason, apparently. I will expend no more time on this point except to say that if Rove was exposed to the classified State Department memo, then he will likely meet the requirement on this aspect.

What I would add to all of this is that if there are grounds to believe that Rove falls anywhere near meeting the statute's standard, the case should be brought. Let it be a test case for pernicious political smearing that outs a CIA agent and harms national security. It is equally repugnant to the systematic exposure referred to by Bob Dole.

Sunday, August 14, 2005

Elvis was robbed

Lucille Ball tops favourite dead celeb list. Not even in the top 10? These people are out of their minds.

Who's the real New Yorker in this race?

New York, a Steppingstone, Usually Does Not Mind - New York Times. Early affirmation in this article by many opinion leaders that attacking Clinton for her possible Presidential bid is not a winning theme in New York. Seems that New Yorkers actually like that kind of thing - as suggested here this past week.

Does this suggest a tin ear on the part of ? I mean, she is a real New Yorker right, as opposed to Hillary? Shouldn't she know that doing things "big" is a New Yorker kind of thing? Ambition is practically a theme of New York's anthem, you know, if I can make it there, I'll make it anywhere? No? So who's really the New Yorker here?

Sunday recommended reading

Some of my Sunday must read includes Frank Rich:Someone Tell the President the War Is Over. Choice lines:
Mr. Bush has lost not only the country but also his army.
And the concluding paragraph:
Thus the president's claim on Thursday that "no decision has been made yet" about withdrawing troops from Iraq can be taken exactly as seriously as the vice president's preceding fantasy that the insurgency is in its "last throes." The country has already made the decision for Mr. Bush. We're outta there. Now comes the hard task of identifying the leaders who can pick up the pieces of the fiasco that has made us more vulnerable, not less, to the terrorists who struck us four years ago next month.

Captures quite effectively the transition that has taken place in public opinion and that Cindy Sheehan is now galvanizing.

Saturday, August 13, 2005

Worthwhile opinion on Rovegate

Retired federal prosecutor with 20 years experience challenges the conventional wisdom spewed by pundits that might not be prosecuted under the Intelligence Identities Protection Act, in the LA Times today.

Just wondering, is this Jeanine Pirro hypocrisy?

In this article, makes the charge once again against Hillary:
"The problem is you cannot serve two masters," she said. "If she wants to be president, she should just say so. I promise you I will be a full-time senator."

Yet later in the article, it reads:
Earlier this summer, she announced that she would seek another term as district attorney.

So is Jeanine Pirro doing the same thing she is accusing Hillary of potentially doing? Or has she withdrawn her campaign for district attorney?

Dion lobbies to prevent Arctic drilling

God bless Stephane Dion, I am a big fan, but good luck with this.

Friday, August 12, 2005

Taking on Novak, finally

Good account,here of recent editorials and various editorialists finally challenging Robert Novak's selective silence regarding the CIA leak case.

Latest on Karl Rove watch

AP story raising angle that has previously been out there: Probe Poses Issue of What Rove Told Bush. One point made here is that it is an offense under a federal false statement statute for an aide to lie to the President.

Now Karl wouldn't do that, would he?

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Blogs and the MSM

Interesting graph showing the relative influence of major media websites vs. blog sites. The graph shows how many people are linking to a given web site, one indicator of its influence. So here, the New York Times and Washington Post are the most influential web sites by this measurement because they are linked to most by bloggers and web users. But look at the number of blogs on the list, interesting to note.

Pirro's rocky start

The New York State Democratic Committee is already running an online ad showing Pirro's 30 second gap during her Senate announcement.

This could be an effective tactic against Pirro...I'm sure New Yorkers of all people have no patience for scripted politicians with no depth in the tradition of George W. Bush. Look at her response to a question on Iraq:
When asked about Iraq and the question of troop withdrawals -- a decided majority of New Yorkers oppose the U.S. involvement there -- she demurred.

"I certainly would leave that up to the experts who understand the military and what we need to do," she said. "The most important thing we can do is finish the job that we went over there to start."

This could be quite a letdown of a race for all those who have viewed Pirro as a heavyweight challenger. As they say in baseball, you can look pretty good on paper, but you still have to play the game.

I guess the Pirro people can look at it this way, they can only go up from here on out.

More "All Rove all the time" watch

"Setting the record straight" type of article in the Washington Post today about the outing of CIA employee Valerie Wilson.

Walter Pincus seems to be suggesting, by laying out all of the facts, that the White House operatives and Lewis Libby could only have put out the story that Joe Wilson's wife sent him on a "boondoggle" to Niger to check out the uranium claims as a result of them having seen the State Department classified memo on the matter. The CIA has maintained that Valerie Wilson did not choose her husband for the mission. Larry Johnson, a former CIA agent, has pointed out that she didn't have the requisite managerial role or power to actually do it. Thanks to Needlenose for analysis on this point.

So it appears to stretch credibility that they heard of Valerie Wilson's role from reporters. And if they were passing on classified info from the State Department, then they're in big trouble.

But two other points came to mind as I read Pincus' article.

First, the idea that a man can be discredited because his wife suggested him for a job. Never mind that he does the job with apparent integrity and propriety and appears to have gotten the facts correct. So never mind that he actually did the job for his country and the information that he turned up was correct.

What is more important is that his wife put him up to it. This means his work is inherently suspect. There is this aspect to their story that should be noted for its naked ugliness.

Secondly, in putting the word out that his wife put him up to the Niger mission, they are essentially admitting publicly that they didn't agree with her intelligence advice as a CIA employee. Because why would his being chosen be suspect if her work itself wasn't suspect? So in effect they were discrediting Wilson by saying his work, whatever it was, could not be relied upon because his wife chose him, and her work was also unreliable. Nice message to be sending out to her contacts around the world.

So it's either that they're incredibly sexist or incredibly willing to display their public engagement in an intelligence war of their own with a CIA analyst with whom they disagreed.

This may be restating the obvious to many out there closely following the story, but for what it's worth, I'll throw it out there again.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

The sins of the husbands

So , the Westchester County district attorney has officially launched her campaign for the U.S. Senate. Pirro is seeking the Republican nomination to challenge for her Senate seat. Her announcement Wednesday was covered in the New York Times.

There seems to be a bit of conventional wisdom creeping into the media coverage of this race...

The first story line I see developing is the idea that the "sins of the husbands" will cancel each other out and the two women can have a real campaign on the issues. Let's just leave the husbands right out of it. Dick Morris suggested this on Monday night's O'Reilly and it is bound to be an easy story line for the media to pick up.

But this story line clearly only works in Pirro's favour.

Albert Pirro, Jeanine Pirro's husband, is clearly considered to be a negative for his wife's campaign and he did not appear with her at her announcement:

Conspicuous in his absence was her husband, Albert, whose personal and legal problems have proved a liability in Ms. Pirro's career, and whose role in this campaign was left unclear by Ms. Pirro today.

I think Bill will actually be there when Hillary re-announces or has an official re-announcement. Don't you?

And here are some of the details of Albert Pirro's negatives:

There was nary a word from Ms. Pirro, at least voluntarily, about her husband, who looms like a specter over the campaign, and she sidestepped some questions about his role in her political future.

Mr. Pirro fathered a child with another woman in the 1990's, and in 2000 he was convicted of income tax fraud and spent 11 months in prison. Ms. Pirro had signed some of the tax returns in questions, but she never faced any charges in his case. This year, a reputed mobster said he had been given confidential information about one of Ms. Pirro's cases from Mr. Pirro, who has denied the allegation.

Now Morris suggested that Clinton losing his law licence in Arkansas as a result of his statements in the Paula Jones case could be equated as being a negative on par with Albert Pirro's, and let's call it even. I hardly think that's the case. I'll take Bill Clinton's so called "sins," "negatives," and shenanigans any day over tax fraud and the like. The greatest Democratic political campaigner and strategist of his generation is a negative? OK, nice try.

The second story line she's trying to create is to attack Hillary's presidential ambitions and try to pin her down on serving the entire 6 year term as Senator. How exactly does this help Pirro? I know there was a poll taken where @60% of people surveyed said that they agreed that if Hillary ran for re-election, she should say she'll serve the whole 6 years, or something to that effect. Who wouldn't agree to that proposition?

Furthermore, why is it a bad thing for New Yorkers that she might run for President in her second term? Why is the conventional wisdom that this is a trap Hillary might fall into - a debate about her ambitions? Doesn't New York, hit by 9/11 and constantly at the forefront of terror plots, deserve to have a national candidate and possible President looking out for them? Wouldn't that be a good thing for New York? Isn't New York the state of Bobby Kennedy who ran his legendary campaign for President from his own Senate seat in New York? If I were a New Yorker, I would support such an ambitious candidate who could catapult New York's interests to the top of the nation's agenda.

And why should she be precluded from running for President when many other Senators might be and are lining up bids? Why should New York be disadvantaged? Some of the Senators currently lining up bids are John McCain (R-AZ), Sam Brownback (R-KS), Bill Frist (R-TN), Joe Biden (D-DE), possibly Kerry (D-MA) again...etc., etc., etc. So why would Hillary agree to limit her freedom to consider a bid when others aren't so constrained?

And why make an irresponsible pledge when circumstances can change? Remember "Read my lips, no new taxes?" Bush the Father made that pledge and certainly lived to regret it. The lesson was, as Bill Clinton quite successfully pointed out in his campaign in 1992, not to make such bold pledges when the facts can change and flexibility is required to take appropriate steps rather than be hardened to one position.

So that's my take on some burgeoning conventional wisdom in the potential Clinton-Pirro matchup.

Welcome back

Maureen Dowd is back from her break with a vengeance. I'm sure there will be lots of linking to her column, "Why No Tea and Sympathy?"today. My favorite line, on Cindy Sheehan, the "Mom" who lost her son in Iraq, who is now camped outside Bush's ranch:

The Bush team tried to discredit "Mom" by pointing reporters to an old article in which she sounded kinder to W. If only her husband were an undercover C.I.A. operative, the Bushies could out him. But even if they send out a squad of Swift Boat Moms for Truth, there will be a countering Falluja Moms for Truth.

Love it that the wry humour and wit is back to be unleashed on W.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

The President's worst nightmare is at his doorstep

Rarely do we get any information about how George W. Bush conducts himself in private. Here though is an article in which , the mother who lost her son Casey in Iraq, relates some of the ugly details:

As the mother of an Army specialist who was killed at age 24 in the Sadr City section of Baghdad on April 4, 2004, Ms. Sheehan's story is certainly compelling. She is also articulate, aggressive in delivering her message and has information that most White House reporters have not heard before: how Mr. Bush handles himself when he meets behind closed doors with the families of soldiers killed in Iraq.

The White House has released few details of such sessions, which Mr. Bush holds regularly as he travels the country, but generally portrays them as emotional and an opportunity for the president to share the grief of the families. In Ms. Sheehan's telling, though, Mr. Bush did not know her son's name when she and her family met with him in June 2004 at Fort Lewis. Mr. Bush, she said, acted as if he were at a party and behaved disrespectfully toward her by referring to her as "Mom" throughout the meeting.

By Ms. Sheehan's account, Mr. Bush said to her that he could not imagine losing a loved one like an aunt or uncle or cousin. Ms. Sheehan said she broke in and told Mr. Bush that Casey was her son, and that she thought he could imagine what it would be like since he has two daughters and that he should think about what it would be like sending them off to war.

"I said, 'Trust me, you don't want to go there'," Ms. Sheehan said, recounting her exchange with the president. "He said, 'You're right, I don't.' I said, 'Well, thanks for putting me there.' "

Remember Paul O'Neill's book? In his first meeting with Bush as newly appointed Treasury Secretary, which lasted about an hour, Bush said hardly a word other than greetings and small talk. You'd think a President would want to indicate the issues he was interested in, give the guy some feedback as he related his views, plans, etc. But no, Bush was a blank slate.

The man is an embarrassment. How's that vacation going, George?

Monday, August 08, 2005

"All Rove all the time" watch

Interesting article in NY Times over the weekend, C.I.A. Leak Case Recalls Texas Incident in '92 Race, illustrating the Rove-Novak connection dating back to at least 1992.

was fired from Bush senior's 1992 campaign for alleged leaking. Once a leaker, always a leaker....

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Novak loses his cool

Things appear to be a little too much for these days: CNN Suspends Novak After He Walks Off Set - New York Times. One reason he might have decided to cut his losses and walk out is this suggestion in the article:

After Novak walked off on Thursday, Henry said that Novak had been told before the segment that he was going to be asked on air about the CIA case.

I don't think so.

Novak is a veteran and would undoubtedly have prepared pat answers regarding any new inquiries on the CIA leak and his role. Given that he had written an article this past week taking on a CIA spokesperson's public comment that he had warned Novak not to print Valerie Wilson's identity, it is something for which he would have prepared.

More likely, he was embarrassed that he had used the word, "BS," demonstrating rank unprofessionalism. He was likely a little shocked himself at the depth of his own reaction and quickly took stock. Having descended into such an emotional rejoinder of Carville, he was unable to recover. And so he left.

I'm frankly surprised we don't see more of this in these ridiculous segments where the usual left/right suspects go at it.

CNN continues to utilize these conservative/liberal segments that are frequently useless for getting any new information or ideas. They rarely advance a discussion. I find them much more interesting when you have independent analysts or journalists, unfortunately a dying breed.

CNN should shake things up, in light of Novak's "time off" and break free from these formulaic time-fillers.

The politics that has wrought

This is an incredible article focussing on Ohio Republican - Shaping politics from the pulpits.

A very simple strategy is at play in Ohio (and elsewhere, but on the heels of the Ohio special congressional election, Ohio is a topical case study in Republican strategy at work). Drive up Christian conservative turnout on social issues for victory at all cost. Nothing new here, right, we knew that from 2004:

In 2004, the Bush campaign targeted evangelicals for support, even collecting church directories to identify sympathetic prospects.

But lets look to the future. How about Ken Blackwell's in particular? The African-American and Christian conservative Secretary of State apparently has gubernatorial ambitions. Hmmm, what are the chances that such a candidate would get Karl's blessing and help to achieve higher office...someone who can go after the traditional Democratic base of African-Americans and get conservative Christians at the same time?

A startling characterization of Blackwell, however, and elsewhere in the article should give anyone pause:

Paul Weyrich, a leader of modern conservatism, has paid tribute to Blackwell in commentaries for the Washington-based Free Congress Foundation. Blackwell "believes God wanted him as secretary of State during 2004" because as such he was responsible for voting operations in a critical state during a critical election, Weyrich wrote. He added: "It is difficult to disagree with that proposition."

Johnson sees Blackwell as destined for higher things — even transforming American politics by drawing black voters, now the Democrats' most loyal supporters, to the GOP. If elected, Blackwell would be just the second African-American elected governor in the USA, and the first African-American Republican. Supporters suggest that would make him a natural to be the vice-presidential nominee on the GOP ticket one day.

Doesn't Blackwell sound like the kind of person you want to be a heartbeat away? Someone who believes God wants them there? Ooops, we already have that right?

"Johnson" is a pastor in Ohio, leader of the "Restoration Project," an entity whose goal it is to get 1000 pastors from Christian conservative churces to each register 300 "values voters." The article notes that similar efforts are going on in Texas and Pennsylvania.

I am reminded of a quote attributed to Rove in a New Yorker profile a few years back(well worth the read to see an astonishingly prescient view in 2003 of Rove's successes in targeting of traditional Democratic voters):

"I think we're at a point where the two major parties have sort of exhausted their governing agendas," Rove told me. "We had agendas that were originally formed, for the Democrats, in the New Deal, and, for the Republicans, in opposition to the New Deal-modified by the Cold War and further modified by the changes in the sixties, the Great Society and societal and cultural changes. It's sort of like the exhaustion of two boxers fighting it out in the middle of the ring. This periodically happens. This happened in 1896, where the Civil War party system was in decline and the parties were in rough parity and somebody came along and figured it out and helped create a governing coalition that really lasted for the next some-odd years. Similarly, somebody will come along and figure out a new governing scheme through which people could view things and could, conceivably, enjoy a similar period of dominance."

Guess what the "new governing scheme" is? And a frightening one at that.

Where is the Democratic Karl Rove?

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

All Rove all the time

The latest on the watch, 2 Aides to Rove Testify in C.I.A. Leak Inquiry - New York Times. Seems that someone, possibly Robert Luskin, Rove's attorney, wants people to think it's all a matter of administrative details at this stage:

The aides' grand jury appearances were first reported by ABC News and provided the first sign that the prosecutor in the case was interested in following up on Mr. Cooper's testimony with more questions for the White House about Mr. Rove. A person sympathetic to Mr. Rove said that the questions seemed typical of those posed by a prosecutor wrapping up the loose ends of an inquiry.

That person and the one who has been briefed spoke only on the condition of anonymity because the prosecutor has warned people not to discuss the case.

At one point, the aides were asked why Mr. Cooper's call to Mr. Rove was not entered in Mr. Rove's office telephone logs. There was no record of the call, the person who has been briefed said, because Mr. Cooper did not call Mr. Rove directly, but was transferred to his office from a White House switchboard.

Tell me again he's not a target! Sounds like the prosecutor is fishing around on obstruction of justice given that there was no record of the Cooper call in Rove's office telephone logs. An implication here is that it was removed. Or intentionally not entered. Or, Karl Rove's phone records are incredibly but conveniently incomplete as you must call him directly in order to be entered into the log. Hmmmm....

'We were all running like crazy'

Some incredible stories from Air France Flight 538 which crashed in yesterday. CBC coverage here with passenger and eyewitness audio.

Today's entries into the "Why I'm Glad to be a Canadian" file

Scary Republican leaders further decimate the separation of church and state.

Scary Republican lady still manages to eke out a 4000 vote margin of victory against Democratic Iraq war veteran candidate.

America has become kind of a "bizarro world" for Canadians. We tend to have the opposite experience on any given political or social issue.

Here, it is the Conservatives who can't believe their electoral misfortunes despite a scandal-plagued Liberal government that manages to cling to office.

And when the possibility of "Christian activists" hijacking Conservative riding associations gets publicity, it is electoral poison, not panacea.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Why is Bush so confident about Karl Rove?

Bush sounds a little too cocky about and his future in this interview with Texas newspapers, here. What do you think he knows that we don't?

"Karl's got my complete confidence. He's a valuable member of my team," Bush said in his strongest defense yet of Rove, the architect of his presidential campaigns.

He's got that brash confidence that suggests Rove isn't going anywhere. What does this response (that was not included in some of the reports on this interview)suggest:

"Why don't you wait and see what the true facts are?" Bush said on Monday in the roundtable interview.

Sounds to me like someone knows the whole story, the true facts and he's pretty sure of the outcome.

Or is it just me?

Monday, August 01, 2005

Retribution against a CIA agent, you say? Do we detect a pattern developing here?

Spy's Notes on Iraqi Aims Were Shelved, Suit Says - New York Times.

Patrick Fitzgerald's reappointment as U.S. Attorney

Murray Waas at whatever already!has weighed in on a recent topic of interest in the blogosphere. Namely, the idea being floated that Patrick Fitzgerald, the U.S. Attorney from Chicago and more importantly, the Special Prosecutor investigating et al. for the outing of CIA covert operative Valerie Wilson, may not be reappointed by the Bush administration to a further term as U.S. Attorney for Chicago when his term as U.S. Attorney is up in the fall. Waas indicates as follows:

I did speak to the people (at a high up enough level to know these things) at DOJ who say the likelihood of Fitzgerald not being appointed to a second term are between zero and slim.

If any prominent Republican, or Democrat, for that matter, were to lobby the White House that Fitzgerald not be reappointed, the move would appear to be (and might very well be in actuality) a blatantly political maneuver. But there is just no evidence that anything like that has been going on.

It would seem then that it is likely that Fitzgerald will be reapointed as U.S. Attorney. And that position in no way affects his status as Special Prosecutor in the Valerie Wilson affair.

Apparently all of the controversy over this issue stems from alleged "pressures" on House Speaker Dennis Hastert regarding Patrick Fitzgerald's future. Hastert denies these allegations, fanned principally by former U.S. Senator Peter Fitzgerald's comments, referenced here in the Chicago Sun Times, that he "feared for Patrick Fitzgerald's future because of his pursuit of official corruption...".

Perhaps this idea was floated by the former Senator to ensure that Patrick Fitzgerald remains in place as U.S. Attorney. His very public musings of concern for Patrick Fitzgerald's tenure may have the effect of immunizing that very tenure. Raising the possibility that political interference might be underfoot to oust Fitzgerald, by those being investigated, namely the Bush and Daley administrations, has the effect of shining a very bright light on all of these actors and any possible moves in Fitzgerald's direction. A little payback from the former Senator for the bad blood between him and the Republican machinery in Illinois and Washington? Maybe. Could be quite a clever and effective way of going about it too.

As for Bush daring to let Fitzgerald go without reappointment...the conventional wisdom appears to be that the blatant politics of it would dictate that he not do it. Me, I'm not so sure.

Nothing is conventional about Washington (or U.S.) politics anymore. There are legions of red staters who would back Bush on the move, as they would back him in anything he does. Bush's approval rating is reaching all time lows yet let's see how the special election in Ohio turns out on Tuesday. The Republican candidate looks pathetic and the Democrats are running a straight-shooting Iraq war veteran. If the Republicans win and get away with sliming this guy, it's one more brazen act they get away with. And one more reason to think they are capable of anything, including not reappointing a U.S. Attorney.

There is one-party rule in Washington and so it is left mostly to the media to levy accountability. And the noise created by the mega-news age makes it so difficult for a story, even a major one, to take hold & focus a nation for more than a few news cycles.

This is why I wouldn't put it past Bush to let Fitzgerald's reappointment languish. They can still say, "His status as Special Prosecutor remains unaffected, so clearly we're not doing it to affect the investigation..."....

So those are my thoughts on the whole deal. I am likely travelling to Chicago toward the end of August and now the trip just seems to be becoming all the more interesting.