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October 22, 2005

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» Judiciary Panel Wants More Answers from Miers from Unpartisan.com Political News and Blog Aggregator
The Senate Judiciary Committee has returned its questionnaire to Supreme Court nominee Harriet Miers [Read More]

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Co. Pat Lang - Green Beret, intel guy, mideast expert, etc. etc. (to whom, lest we forget, Douglas 'TSFPOTFOTE' Feith said in an interview for a job in Iraq, looking at Lang's impressive resume: 'I see you speak Arabic. Too bad.' And dismissed him) is obliquely rightous about Treasongate:

In listening to the "Beltway/K St." crowd discuss the ever widening Abuse of Power scandal surrounding the Bush Administration I am struck by the profound immorality of many of the statements being made by people who have served for decades at the right hand of presidents and members of Congress.

"That's just how the Game is Played," or "Let's not Criminalize Politics" would be samples of the kind of rhetoric floating around these days in the world of the "talking heads." What is meant by that?

The idea implicit in statements of this kind by people like Christopher Matthews, David Gergen and Pat Buchanan is that there is nothing wrong with using the power of the executive branch of government to manipulate the press to destroy the reputations and livelihoods of political opponents. The belief seems to be that pressurizing or seducing media executives to accept false and misleading statements about critics of the policies of the government of the day is just a form of "contact sport" and that, in fact, all is truly fair in love, war, and now politics. It seems that the "wise men" also believe that it is just part of the game to "recruit" reporters for the national print media and then use them as instruments of propaganda to deceive the public and contribute to the destruction of the "loyal opposition."

If it is true that the politics of personal destruction are so widely accepted by the political establishment in the city named for one of the most honest men who ever lived, then perhaps we should change the name of the place. Maybe "Nixon City" would be more realistic or perhaps "Pedernales Flats" for one of my "favorite" presidents.

Patrick Fitzgerald is evidently still deciding what to do about the cruel and selfish "system" that his investigation into the equivalent of the "bungled burglary" has revealed. To my mind, the central question before him and his grand jury is not whether or not some combination if these monkeys "outed" Mrs. Wilson.

No, the main issue is whether or not it is a crime punishable under federal law for federal officers and employees to use the power of the state to combine in the covert destruction of a man's reputation and livelihood.

It seems possible [gee Pat, you think?] that the putative conspirators have violated the civil rights of Joe Wilson by so combining against him. If Fitzgerald thinks so, and a conviction occurred on this charge....

There might be some change in the "rules of the game."

Pat Lang

I'm not crazy about the conclusion. I know that the idea of a civil suit to be brought by the Wilsons is in the air, but I don't see what that has to do with the trial at hand, substantively. And I think Lang downplays the outing too much. Larry Johnson, Lang's buddy and one of my other favorite Republican bloggers, certainly doesn't downplay it. Lang is dancing around the real issue: yes, it's very bad to ruin reputations and livelihoods (a Rovie speciality), but the real point is that 'abuse of power' - lying as a matter of course to the press, the country, the world - is really another name for 'treason'. Not in a legal sense, but in a 'real' sense.

BTW, Lang's blog is called Sic Semper Tyrannis 2005 Nice! 'A daily journal of thoughts and messages from the "muffled zone" that media management has made of our country.' Testify, Pat! Man, these dudes love them some blogging.

Re: Wilson's civil suit. I've been wondering of late whether the phone call Fitz made two weeks ago was his courtesy call to tell Wilson to start the filings.

It seems to me the biggest reason to have a civil suit--particularly just as Fitz issues indictments--is as a threat hanging over the heads of the indictees. Bush can bypass the criminal phase of this trial, but he has little way to stop the civil phase. But if he pardons people, they'll have less legal ground to avoid testifying in the civil phase.

In other words, the civil trial is a way of showing Bush that not even pre-emptive pardons, a la Cap, will work this time. Because the truth will come out via civil trial if it doesn't in the criminal trial.

see Kurtz in addition to Rosen and ReddHedd.

A Split Between The Times & Miller?
Editor Says Reporter May Have Misled The Newspaper in Plame Leak Case

Ya think?

I'm thinking this isn't going to help Miers with her conservative critics.

Her tenure at the bar association also could provide new fodder for conservatives opposed to her nomination, as President Bush seeks to quell a rebellion on the right over his selection of Miers.

To some conservatives, the types of policies pursued by the Texas bar association amount to reverse discrimination. One of the chief complaints on the right against Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales was that he clashed with conservatives who wanted to take a harder line against affirmative action.

re media, see this from huffpost by Jeff Cohen.

But there's a special reason this scandal is so personally satisfying to me as a media critic. It's because elite journalism is on trial. Powerful journalists are playing the role usually played in these scandals by besieged White House operatives. They're the ones in the witness dock. It's a New York Times reporter who is failing to recall key facts...mysteriously locating misplaced documents...being leaned on to synchronize alibis.

Elite journalism is at the center of Weaponsgate, and it can't extricate itself from the scandal. Because, at its core, Weaponsgate (or, if you're in a hurry, "Wargate") is about how the White House and media institutions jointly sold a war based on deception -- and how the White House turned to these media institutions to neutralize a war critic who challenged the deception.

Wonder what Richard Cohen thinks of that?

and finally on the diplomats-blast-Bush front:

WASHINGTON — A top U.S. official for aid to Iraq has accused the Bush administration of rushing unprepared into the 2003 invasion because of pressures from President Bush's approaching reelection campaign.

Robin Raphel, the State Department's coordinator for Iraq assistance, said that the invasion's timing was driven by "clear political pressure," as well as by the need to quickly deploy the U.S. troops that had been amassed by the Iraq border.

Soon after the invasion, Raphel said, it became clear that U.S. officials "could not run a country we did not understand…. It was very much amateur hour."

Ha! You've got to love the "detail oriented" Miers "forgetting" to pay her dues in TWO jurisdictions and getting her license suspended.

I don't know exactly what the process is in Texas or DC, but in Virginia, I would think you'd have to be pretty damned delinquent. As far as I know, you can renew your license without suspension by paying a late fee, at least within some reasonable amount of time. I'm sure that after that grace period, your license can be suspended, but surely not without notice.

You'd have to ignore your dues statements, then ignore your late fee notices, then ignore your suspension warnings. Twice.

I don't think Harriet is up to the job myself, but I think the dues thing is overblown. Frankly, Harriet lacks the one thing that gets matters like that from happening - a wife.

Maybe no wife, but didn't Miers have a secretary? Her prospects don't look so good at tradesports just now.

The appearance of lengthy critiques by Larry Wilkerson and now apparently Brent Scowcroft (mentor and patron of Condoleeza Rice) is welcome. Too bad they are a year too late. I really wonder if these folks thought it was too disloyal to do it before the election, thought it could never get as bad as it has this year and felt something had to be done to stem the slide or just finally got the courage to do it when they sensed George was weak and Rove too preoccupied with pinning the whole mess on Libby and Cheney to fight back.

It is also a really sad commentary on how many sensible people feel so nervous about the Dems in the security area that they would wait so long to make their feelings known. This is partly a function of the Dems' reluctance to stand up to the GOP's dogs, and partly a function of the Dems' inability to find a way to articulate a tough defense of the use of non-military power as well as military power.

In any event, the turning of the "reasonable" Republicans is a necessary step. If this can support Fitz's efforts to take down Cheney's office, all to the better, as that paves the way to get rid of Bush a la his mentor Nixon. I wonder if some of this is also to squelch the early talk that Rice would be George's pick if Cheney had to step down. Wilkerson's picture of her as a weak sycophant who opted for intimacy with Goerge over doing her job to bring about policy coherence is not flattering.

The confluence of the Franklin and Wargate investigations over the Niger forgeries is interesting to say the least. And what are we to make of Paul McNulty's appointment to the number 2 DOJ job Tim Flannigan had to withdraw from when his ties to Abramoff became known? Was it just because his conviction of Moussaoui would sound good? Didn't they realize he had indicted Franklin too? And that he is talking to Fitz?

I can see the whole edifice becoming really shaky really soon. Too many people in too much jeopardy to be able to swift boat their opponents. The Dems are supposed to reveal their new, improved plan for 2006 as soon as there is a breather. May not come too soon.

Here's a bit. New all-time low (42-57) for W in Rasmussen tracking, second day running.

Gotta disagree with you, MimiKatz, that Scowcroft is a year too late, though Wilkerson is.

On Iraq, Scowcroft has actually been a voice of moderate sanity in the Republican wilderness. His critiques didn't start yesterday either. There is, after all, the book he wrote with George H.W. Bush in 1998, A World Transformed. I didn't much like a lot of that book, but in it, they said:

"While we hoped that popular revolt or coup would topple Saddam, neither the U.S. nor the countries of the region wished to see the breakup of the Iraqi state.

We were concerned about the long-term balance of power at the head of the Gulf.

We would have been forced to occupy Baghdad and, in effect, rule Iraq. The coalition would instantly have collapsed, the Arabs deserting it in anger and other allies pulling out as well.

Under those circumstances, furthermore, we had been self-consciously trying to set a pattern for handling aggression in the post-cold war world. Going in and occupying Iraq, thus unilaterally exceeding the U.N.'s mandate, would have destroyed the precedent of international response to aggression we hoped to establish.

Had we gone the invasion route, the U.S. could conceivably still be an occupying power in a bitterly hostile land. It would have been a dramatically different--and perhaps barren--outcome."

And four years later, in the ramp-up to the Iraq war after 9/11, Scowcroft wrote: "Don't attack Saddam." An attack on Iraq at this time would seriously jeopardize, if not destroy, the global counter terrorist campaign we have undertaken."

So, he's got some cred on the issue, even with me.

However ...

Before the NeoImps took over American foreign policy, there were the likes of James Baker III and Scowcroft, foreign policy classical "realists," as it were. Their "realism" had some good points if you didn't happen to be a Central American peasant. But while Scowcroft may get "tons of" reverence in many corners of Washington, it should never be forgotten that he remains a great fan of the foreign policy of Ronald Reagan and of his writing buddy, George H.W. Bush, both of whom he served as NSA advisor. Those policies are given far too much credit for the dissolution of the USSR, among other things.

Here is a most telling quotation from Scowcroft in 1983:

I think [the Soviets] have a role of military power which is much more integral to their overall thinking than is that of the United States. Political and military power are just different sides of the same coin, and I think that they use military power to advance their political goals.

That kind of thinking is just so utterly beyond ridiculous that I take every word from his mouth with my saltshaker close at hand and my BS antennae fully extended.

While it is really excellent news that someone of Scowcroft's credentials is speaking against the war and the national security team of bush, I still believe this is one of the signs of the "Bush cleanup crew" at work. Remove all signs of bush from the Iraq quagmire (not the intial decision, but the execution thereof AND the lying to achieve same).

They are attempting to build a brick wall around bush and make people believe that these idiots did Bush wrong by their foulups.

this is a rescue attempt of Bush, not a takedown of Bush.

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