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Monday, July 11, 2005

Stonewall Twins


I am well aware of what was said previously. I remember well what was said previously. And at some point I look forward to talking about it. But until the investigation is complete, I’m just not going to do that.


And unfortunately, as somebody who likes to write, I'd like to say a lot about the case, but because of my attorney's advice I can't. But I will. And there might be some surprising things.


I am a big fan of Garance Franke-Ruta, but I think this is funny:

If there is one thing that reporters hate, it's being played for patsies. McClellan has publicly humiliated some of the most prominent reporters in the country by persistently feeding them information that has now been revealed to be false, and I'm pretty darn sure that they are not going to grant him any favors and extend him the benefit of the doubt in the future.

I'm glad to know that they feel huniliated by being persistently fed information that has been revealed to be false, but it certainly isn't unprecedented. It's not unprecedented by a long shot. In fact, they have been just such patsies for years.

I suspect that the real reason they acted up today is they have been treated like shit by George W Bush's administration and one of their own is sitting in jail. That's not the same thing. But I'll take it.

Feels Good

Rep. Louise Slaughter is pistol. She's got a petition going to demand President Bush fire Karl Rove. If you feel like you want to do something, dammit, go sign it.

On Message

Via Froomkin:


"The media feeding frenzy will, indeed, be massive. But absent a serious claim of a statutory violation or perjury, it's questionable whether anyone apart from liberal bloggers and other pre-existing Bush haters will partake in the media's dog food. This isn't a top presidential aide accepting an expensive gift, or engaging in lewd sexual conduct. It's a top aide providing truthful information to journalists in response to lies told to embarrass the administration and our government."

You might wonder why he did it on double secret backround if it was all on the up and up, but whatever. Highpockets and pals got the memo.

This is, of course, precisely the opposite of the truth, as one would expect from Bush apologists with serious projection problems. While it's true that this isn't about taking expensive gifts (Dukester call your office) or engaging in lewd sexual conduct which I agree is always an appropriate reqason to call in the feds --- this is in fact a case of a top aide providing false information to journalists in response to truths told to expose the administration's lies. This is upside-downism at its finest.

The exceedingly unpleasant Deborah Orin just framed this exactly the same way on Matthews. Poor Karl, he was just trying to correct the record on that liar Joe Wilson, who has been completely discredited --- even saying that his report actually backed up the claims about the yellowcake rather than refuted it. Matthews interjected, wondering why the White House has taken this long to produce that explanation and openly pondering whether it was all connected to the larger Iraq lies, specifically naming Cheney. Unfortunately, Dionne merely tried to deflect the Wilson calumny and said that this was about Rove, not Wilson.

He should have gone for the bigger question. Democrats need to develop some conventional wisdom about this right away and they need to filter it into the punditocrisy. Oddly, Chris Matthews has it right.

Update: Arthur has a stinging set-down of the Powerline boys here. I neglected to add the sickening coup de grace to the the above entry:

Valerie Plame isn’t very convincing as a covert agent of the United States, although she did fairly well as an agent of her husband and the president’s other enemies.

Apparently these pathetic geeks haven't even ever seen a James Bond Movie. I'm sure they turn away at the "lewd sexual" parts and read passages from the Bible.


Just heard the CNN anchor say "are his days numbered in the White House?" referring to our favorite turdblossom.

This is a very good thing, my friends. Once they start asking that, it's hard to turn things around. Bill Clinton did, but Karl Rove is no Bill Clinton.

Still Covering For Dick

Rove did not mention her name to Cooper," Luskin said. "This was not an effort to encourage Time to disclose her identity. What he was doing was discouraging Time from perpetuating some statements that had been made publicly and weren't true."

In particular, Rove was urging caution because then-CIA Director George J. Tenet was about to issue a statement regarding Iraq's alleged interest in African uranium and its inaccurate inclusion in President Bush's 2003 State of the Union address. Tenet took the blame for allowing a misleading paragraph into the speech, but Tenet also said that the president, vice president and other senior officials were never briefed on Wilson's report.

Right. Rove was "protecting" Cooper from making a mistake and believing Wilson when he said Cheney knew the yellowcake story was bogus; it was really all "Slam Dunk" Tenet's fault, remember? All they really meant to say was that it was "the CIA" that requested the Wilson trip. Making it sound like Wilson was some kind of emasculated wimp whose macho spy wife had to get him work was just for fun.

(Using the wife is one of their oldest tricks, from the canuck letter (a Don Segretti special --- one of Karl Rove's mentors) to Cindy McCain's drug problems. They try to get their marks to overreact to attacks on their wives. The mafia does this too.)

I expect the white house to continue to say that they were only trying to knock down an incorrect story that Cheney knew about the Niger Report and in the course of that they accidentally let the cat out of the bag. Remember, they told us that nobody in the white house had any idea that this Niger stuff was bogus because Condi forgot to check her in-box, Steven Hadley developed amnesia and medal-of-freedom-whore George Tenet forgot to read his draft of the SOTU speech. The whole staff was just a bunch of wacky butterfingers who made the same mistake over and over again. That's what we were all supposed to believe.

Remember this?

I can tell you, I either didn't see the memo, I don't remember seeing the memo, the fact is it was a set of clearance comments, it was three and a half months before the State of the Union.

Q: Should you have seen the memo?

A: Well, the memo came over. It was a clearance memo. It had a set of comments about the [Oct. 7 Cincinnati] speech. [The yellowcake reference] had already been taken out of the speech, from my point of view and from the point of view of Steve Hadley. Steve Hadley runs the clearance process. And when Director Tenet says something takes something out of a speech, we take it out. We don't really even ask for an explanation. If the DCI, the director of Central Intelligence, is not going to stand by something, if he doesn't think that he has confidence in it, we're not going to put that into a presidential speech. We have no desire to have the president use information that is anything but the information in which we have the best confidence, the greatest confidence.

And so when Director Tenet said take it out of the speech, I think people simply took it out of the speech and didn't think any more about why we had taken it out of the speech.

Convincing, no? That was the national Security Advisor, Condi Rice. Good thing she's been promoted. Tim Noah at Slate dealt with this nonsense two years ago:

Both Rice and Hadley state that they had already removed the offending line from the Cincinnati speech when Tenet sent them a memo urging them to remove it. Tenet had already told Hadley by phone to take it out, and Hadley had complied. If, as Rice says, it's axiomatic that when the CIA director wants something out of a presidential speech, it comes out, Tenet would have known there was no danger that his complaint - the way Rice makes it sound, it was more like a command - would go unheeded. So why did Tenet - a man who is so busy fighting the war on terrorism that three months later he didn't have time to read an advance draft of the State of the Union, an oversight that made him Yellowcakegate's Fall Guy No. 1 - write a superfluous memo?

Because, Chatterbox believes, it wasn't superfluous. Tenet knew that his complaint was not a command and that somebody at the White House still needed convincing. But who would have the standing to tell the CIA director to go jump in the lake? Surely not Fall Guy No. 2, the National Security Council's nonproliferation expert, Robert Joseph. Surely not Fall Guy No. 3, the NSC's deputy, Steve Hadley. And surely not even Fall Person No. 4, Condi Rice, who'd have to be insane to lie, on national television, about dissing Tenet. (Tenet, she surely knows, is superb at exacting revenge.)

Chatterbox therefore posits the existence of a Fall Guy No. 5, Vice President Dick Cheney. The one person in the White House who has no patience for addressing the Yellowcakegate mystery at all and who questions the patriotism of anybody who does.

This is really where the rubber meets the road on this story. Cheney had become engaged in a virtual fantasy about Saddam's nuclear capability before and even after the war when it became clear that there was none. He is almost certainly the guy who put the yellowcake back in the speech. And his personal assassin, Scooter Libby, is knee deep in the Plame outing.

The Niger episode was one of the first windows into the Iraq lies and Wilson directly implicated Cheney. That's why they were panicking and that's why they mishandled this smear job so badly.

The reality is that it doesn't matter if Cheney received a full briefing on Wilson's findings because it's patently obvious that he and Tenet and Rice and a whole bunch of other people (likely including the president if he wasn't too busy tending to his scrapes and bruises) all knew it was bullshit and put it in the SOTU anyway. They doctored it up with "the British have learned" or whatever it was and that's turned out to be crap too. Rove and his pals can try to pretend that they were knocking down an erroneous story by impugning Wilson's allegedly partisan motives, (and, oopsie, "accidentally" outing a CIA agent) but it doesn't make sense in light of what we already know.

They were knocking down a true story, which is an entirely different thing.

The WaPo article ends with this, which is really laughable:

After the investigation into the leak began, Luskin said, Rove signed a waiver in December 2003 or January 2004 authorizing prosecutors to speak to any reporters Rove had previously engaged in discussion, which included Cooper.

"His written waiver included the world," Luskin said. "It was intended to be a global waiver. . . . He wants to make sure that the special prosecutor has everyone's evidence. That reflects someone who has nothing to hide."

Then why in the hell didn't he just openly admit that he'd spoken to Cooper instead of having TIME litigate this mess for months on end, have the government spend god knows how many millions and leave poor Matt Cooper thinking until the very last minute that he was going to have to do jail time to protect him?

If Rove didn't expect Cooper to keep his confidence all he ever had to do was explicitly tell Cooper that he had no problem with him testifying to what he'd said. Cooper kept the confidence because he was sure that his journalistic reputation would be smeared (by Rove presumably) if he accepted the "global waiver" --- I suspect because he knew that what he had to say was revealing. Perhaps others, like Walter PIncus, either didn't have that information or weren't worried about Rove's retaliation. We don't know for sure. But in Cooper's case we know absolutely that when Rove personally released him he agreed to cooperate with the prosecutor. Rove could have done that at any time in the last two years. He didn't.

I seem to remember a lot of bloviating a while back that said that the president should have admitted to extra-marital blowjobs in order to spare the country the expense of pursuing the case. I think most people can understand why it's not any of the government's (or the country's) business what consenting adults do alone together and that it's worth fighting for the principle that investigating such people's sex lives is off limits.

This, however, is something very different. The principle at stake for Rove, if not the reporters, is the right to use the press for his own purposes and be protected by the reporters privilege. Rove could have saved the country a bunch of money and bunch of time by simply admitting publicly that he'd talked to Cooper. If he isn't guilty of committing this crime it wouldn't have mattered a year ago any more than it mattered last week.

He should resign for smearing Wilson and outing his wife (whether inadvertantly or not) merely because Wilson exposed the fact that the government knew the yellowcake story was bullshit. Wilson was right.

And he should also resign for having the chutzpah to release Matt Cooper from his obligation at the very last minute, after sitting back and allowing the government to spend its resources for years getting him to do it.

I'm glad to see that Harry Reid has weighed in:

“I agree with the President when he said he expects the people who work for him to adhere to the highest standards of conduct. The White House promised if anyone was involved in the Valerie Plame affair, they would no longer be in this administration. I trust they will follow through on this pledge. If these allegations are true this rises above politics and is about our national security.”

And MoveOn is launching a campaign demanding Rove's resignation but they are taking the next step as well and asking "what did the president know and when did he know it?" This is what partisan groups should do. They should make the pivot to the president first. It re-positions the Rove question further to the center.

The liklihood that Rove will actually resign is still quite small although it's growing. But the liklihood that this will become a major distraction for him and the administration is getting bigger by the day. Let's see how well these guys can compartmentalize, shall we?

Update: Tim Noah says "Turdblossom Must Go"

Update II: Just caught the gaggle over on Crooks and Liars. Scotty had a rough day. One gets the feeling that the White House press corps may have been waiting for this opening for some time. I especially emjoyed it when someone asked him if he'd gotten his own lawyer. Ouch.

Update III: Missed the NY Times piece on Cooper this morning. Looks like Karl was more than willing to see Cooper go to jail rather than talk. It was his lawyer who shot his mouth off and gave Cooper the opportunity to claim he'd been released. Nice.
Nonetheless, the point remains. Rove could have "cleaned this up" as Gergen just put it on Lou Dobbs' show, very simply a long time ago if he wanted to. He didn't and there's a reason for that. If it turns out it was about blow-jobs I'll back his right to keep his mouth shut. Otherwise, he's got some splainin' to do. After he resigns.


Sunday, July 10, 2005

He Should Resign

John is absolutely right about this. It makes no difference for our purposes whether Rove is legally culpable because he did or did not know that Plame was undercover. He was a very, very, very high level official in the White House and he shouldn't have been telling anyone anything about CIA agents for political reasons, particularly ones he knew worked in the field of weapons of mass destruction, period. He may have broken the law; the investigation will proceed apace whether we think he did or not. But regardless, the fact is that Rove conducted a smear operation in which a CIA agent was outed.

Aravosis says:

Bush said he wanted to get to the bottom of this over a year ago. Why then did we have to waste all this money on a special prosecutor and a grand jury if Rove knew from day one that he was the guy who leaked Plame's identity? If Rove was so innocent, why didn't he just come forward immediately and say "yeah, it was me, but I didn't realize she was undercover"? Did he tell the president it was him? And if so, why didn't the president go public and put this investigation to an end? Or did Rove refuse the president's request and NOT come forward a year ago? And if so, what is he still doing working in the white House?

Perhaps it's legally relevant if Rove "knew" Plame was undercover or not, but it's not relevant in terms of him keeping his job. Rove intentionally outed a CIA agent working on WMD, it is irrelevant whether he did or didn't know if she was an undercover agent. First off, he knew she wasn't THAT public about her identity or there'd have been no need to "out" here - everyone would have known her already.

All of us and all of the Democrats should be screaming bloody murder for what we know he did --- and we should be demanding his resignation.

I realize that Bush is not going to fall over weeping when we do this, and the press will probably somnambulently tip-toe until roused, but it begins the drumbeat and it puts pressure on the White House. We are about to enter a huge fight over two Seats on the Supreme Court. Anything to put them off their game is a good thing.

And there is no reason that Rove should not be forced to resign over this. If it were any other White House we would naturally assume it would happen. But I think that for some reason everyone, wingnuts and moonbats alike are invested in the idea that Rove is omnipotent. He's not. He's a cheap thug. And while it may be true that if he is forced to resign he will still be able to advise the president, it's also true that the president would not have his single most necessary and loyal lieutenant by his side every day. Rove is the most malevolent force in the Republican party. He's building a criminal Republican machine --- that's his legacy. It's vitally important that we stop him if he can. Wringing our hands and saying nothing will ever happen because he's Superman is a self-fulfilling prophecy.

The dirtiest most devious president in history was brought down by his own paranoia and sloppiness. Karl Rove is no more omnipotent than he was.

Push Back

I suppose we shouldn't be surprised that since the Republicans have cancelled all congressional oversight of the executive branch that they are turning their attention to the judiciary. After all, what else do they have to do? K Street writes legislation, the leadership tells them how to vote --- they have to flex their egos somewhere.

I thought that the judicial "activism" the wingnuts were so exercised about regarded judges who refuse to change the law to accomodate religious nuts as they try to enforce their sharia on the public. But, apparently not.

Congressman Sensenbrenner of Illinois Wisconsin is involving himself in an obscure drug case by outright telling the federal appeals court to change their opinion:

In an extraordinary move, the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee privately demanded last month that the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago change its decision in a narcotics case because he didn't believe a drug courier got a harsh enough prison term.

Rep. James Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.), in a five-page letter dated June 23 to Chief Judge Joel Flaum, asserted that a June 16 decision by a three-judge appeals court panel was wrong.

He demanded "a prompt response" as to what steps Flaum would take "to rectify the panel's actions" in a case where a drug courier in a Chicago police corruption case received a 97-month prison sentence instead of the at least 120 months required by a drug-conspiracy statute.

"Despite the panel's unambiguous determination that the 97-month sentence was illegal, it appears to ... justify the sanctioning of both the illegal sentence and its own failure to [increase the sentence] by stating `[that the panel's decision] not to take a cross-appeal [ensures] that the [courier's] sentence cannot be increased.' The panel cites no authority for this bizarre proposition and I am aware of none," wrote Sensenbrenner, who cited a 1992 ruling as precedent for his argument that the longer prison term should have been imposed.


Apperson, who is chief counsel of a House Judiciary subcommittee, argues that Sensenbrenner is simply exercising his judicial oversight responsibilities. But some legal experts believe the action by the Judiciary Committee chairman, who is an attorney, is a violation of House ethics rules, which prohibit communicating privately with judges on legal matters, as well as court rules that bar such contact with judges without contacting all parties.

Further, the letter may be an intrusion on the Constitution's separation-of-powers doctrine, or, at least, the latest encroachment by Congress upon the judiciary, analysts said.

David Zlotnick, a law professor at Roger Williams University in Rhode Island and an expert on federal sentencing law, said, "I think it's completely inappropriate for a congressman to send a letter to a court telling them to change a ruling."

Contrary to court rules, Sensenbrenner's letter was not sent to Rivera's appellate attorney, Steve Shobat, who received a copy only after the letter was placed in the official court file.

"To try to influence a pending case is totally inappropriate," Shobat said. "My client had a very small role in this case, and to think that she is the focus of the head of the House Judiciary Committee? It is intimidating."

Intimidating to whom? Aside from general right wing dickishness, why do you suppose Sensenbrenner would use a rather low level drug case like this one to challenge the separation of powers?

Naturally, the nut graf comes at the very end of the article. Hold on to your hats:

At sentencing, U.S. District Judge Blanche Manning imposed the 97-month term, citing a 1993 court ruling that allowed that the drug quantity that relates to an individual be taken into account in imposing a sentence less than the minimum required.

At the time, federal prosecutor Brian Netols told Manning, "I think that would be the appropriate sentence."

Shobat appealed, contending the sentence still was too high. The U.S. attorney's office did not appeal the sentence as a violation of the 120-month minimum.

The three-judge panel on the case, Frank Easterbrook, Ilana Diamond Rovner and Diane Wood, issued its opinion, written by Easterbrook, stating that the sentence should have been 120 months.

"By deciding not to [challenge the 97-month sentence], the United States has ensured that Rivera's sentence cannot be increased," the opinion states.

Apperson said the committee learned of the decision after being contacted the day of the ruling by "a citizen who I assume had seen it on the court's Web site."

After Sensenbrenner's letter was placed in the court file, the three-judge panel issued a revised final paragraph of its decision that added a citation explaining why it was not legal to change Rivera's sentence and why the precedent cited by Sensenbrenner was wrong.

Sensenbrenner also wrote a letter to Atty. Gen. Alberto Gonzales, demanding that the decision be appealed further and that he investigate why the U.S. attorney's office in Chicago did not appeal Rivera's sentence.

Bryan Sierra, a spokesman for the Justice Department, said Sensenbrenner's letter was being reviewed. Randall Samborn, a spokesman for U.S. Atty. Patrick Fitzgerald, declined to comment.

This is about Patrick Fitzgerald. If he's got the full force of the GOP machine on his back, let's hope he believes in the Chicago Way.

Hat tip to sharp commenter Samela

Update: Fitzgerald is an interesting guy. If you haven't read this WaPo bio, check it out. He sounds like a pretty straight shooter. And a pretty scary prosecutor. I wonder if there is a plan afoot to pull an Archibald Cox. They've learned their lesson, though; this time they'd fire him for "cause."


It is vitally important that you click this link.


Saturday, July 09, 2005


From David Corn:

...tonight I received this as-solid-as-it-gets tip: on Sunday Newsweek is posting a story that nails Rove. The newsmagazine has obtained documentary evidence that Rove was indeed a key source for Time magazine's Matt Cooper and that Rove--prior to the publication of the Bob Novak column that first publicly disclosed Valerie Wilson/Plame as a CIA official--told Cooper that former Ambassador Joseph Wilson's wife apparently worked at the CIA and was involved in Joseph Wilson's now-controversial trip to Niger.

To be clear, this new evidence does not necessarily mean slammer-time for Rove. Under the relevant law, it's only a crime for a government official to identify a covert intelligence official if the government official knows the intelligence officer is under cover, and this documentary evidence, I'm told, does not address this particular point. But this new evidence does show that Rove--despite his lawyers claim that Rove "did not tell any reporter that Valerie Plame worked for the CIA"--did reveal to Cooper in a deep-background conversation that Wilson's wife was in the CIA. No wonder special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald pursued Cooper so fiercely. And Fitzgerald must have been delighted when Time magazine--over Cooper's objection--surrendered Cooper's emails and notes, which, according to a previous Newsweek posting by Michael Isikoff, named Rove as Cooper's source. In court on Wednesday, Fitzgerald said that following his receipt of Cooper's emails and notes "it is clear to us we need [Cooper's] testimony perhaps more so than in the past." This was a clue that Fitzgerald had scored big when he obtained the Cooper material.

This new evidence could place Rove in serious political, if not legal, jeopardy (or, at least it should).

I think we may be getting close to a time where Karl Rove is going to decide to spend more time with his family. Bush is too politically weak to finesse this and the story comes awfully close to the Iraq lies to try to brazen it out.

I want to know the truth,' president tells reporters

Wednesday, February 11, 2004 Posted: 1:46 AM EST

WASHINGTON (CNN) --President Bush said Tuesday he welcomes a Justice Department investigation into who revealed the classified identity of a CIA operative.

"If there's a leak out of my administration, I want to know who it is," Bush told reporters at an impromptu news conference during a fund-raising stop in Chicago, Illinois. "If the person has violated law, that person will be taken care of.

"I welcome the investigation. I am absolutely confident the Justice Department will do a good job.

"I want to know the truth," the president continued. "Leaks of classified information are bad things."

He added that he did not know of "anybody in my administration who leaked classified information."

Bush said he has told his administration to cooperate fully with the investigation and asked anyone with knowledge of the case to come forward.

In the summer of 2003 Karl Rove thought he could get away with anything.

hubris \HYOO-bruhs\, noun:
Overbearing pride or presumption.


Here's the story.

... NEWSWEEK obtained a copy of the e-mail that Cooper sent his bureau chief after speaking to Rove. (The e-mail was authenticated by a source intimately familiar with Time's editorial handling of the Wilson story, but who has asked not to be identified because of the magazine's corporate decision not to disclose its contents.) Cooper wrote that Rove offered him a "big warning" not to "get too far out on Wilson." Rove told Cooper that Wilson's trip had not been authorized by "DCIA"—CIA Director George Tenet—or Vice President Dick Cheney. Rather, "it was, KR said, wilson's wife, who apparently works at the agency on wmd [weapons of mass destruction] issues who authorized the trip." Wilson's wife is Plame, then an undercover agent working as an analyst in the CIA's Directorate of Operations counterproliferation division. (Cooper later included the essence of what Rove told him in an online story.) The e-mail characterizing the conversation continues: "not only the genesis of the trip is flawed an[d] suspect but so is the report. he [Rove] implied strongly there's still plenty to implicate iraqi interest in acquiring uranium fro[m] Niger... "


A source close to Rove, who declined to be identified because he did not wish to run afoul of the prosecutor or government investigators, added that there was "absolutely no inconsistency" between Cooper's e-mail and what Rove has testified to during his three grand-jury appearances in the case. "A fair reading of the e-mail makes clear that the information conveyed was not part of an organized effort to disclose Plame's identity, but was an effort to discourage Time from publishing things that turned out to be false," the source said, referring to claims in circulation at the time that Cheney and high-level CIA officials arranged for Wilson's trip to Africa.

Uh. Bullshit. It was an effort to keep TIME from publishing things that turned out to be true. The big question that was swirling wasn't who sent Wilson on the trip, for gawds sake. It was whether they knew the Niger documents were forgeries and spread it around anyway. Karl's little phone call was an effort to cover-up the fact that the administration had lied its ass off making the case for war --- Valerie Plame was a pawn they used to try to taint Wilson as some kind of hen-pecked househusband when he exposed an element of their bogus evidence. Regardless of whether Rove knew she was an NOC, and this doesn't prove it one way or the other, it proves he was a scumbag who was engineering a cover-up. One thing we know for sure is that Wilson was right.

Karl Rove and others in the White House exposed an undercover CIA agent in order to cover up their lies about Iraq.

The Answer

My wing-nut e-mailer weighs in with a solution:

We could keep playing the capitalist odds hoping it is our neighbors who get killed next or, very simply, we could demand that the enemy surrender. We would simply announce to the Muslim world that their support for OBL ( 52% of Muslims in London were not willing to condemn the 9/11 bombings in NYC) and his ideology has earned them the following ultimatum: change your ways and turn over OBL in one month or there will be a crater one mile wide round outside of Medina, with Gumbad-e-Khizra being precisely at ground zero. If at that point you still feel smart about following OBL toward some 5th Century mad dog Caliphate we will eliminate Mecca one terrorizing month or so later, at which point you can pray 5 times a day in the direction of the Pakistan/Afganistan border where your great savior OBL is living like a scared slimy rat in a hole.

It is so odd isn't it, they know they can pick us off a few at a time and we will be too civilized to crush them in an instant, or is it that they know they can pick a few of us off at a time and we will be too selfish, calculating, and materialistic to risk boldly crushing them? Regardless of what they know about us though this war may eventually make us decide what we know about ourselves.

The old "nuke 'em into the stone age" never fails to give them a woody.

I wonder if he realizes that there are a lot of fetuses in Mecca and Medina?

Update: Via Kevin at Catch, I see we have a wingnut blogger on the scene who goes by the name of "Atlas" (for Atlas Shrugged, natch.) She posts on Jackson's Junction. She's much more thoughtful than the e-mailer above, plus she posts a glamor shot of herself with each entry (that you can click for higher res!) Here's a taste:

War Must be Declared on those Against us

Pamela aka Atlas says BASTA! Enough hand holding, appeasing, talking "their"talk..........

THE BUSH DOCTRINE................either you're with us or against us

I say, first Declare War on Syria with our Coalition (Brits, Japanese, Baltic Nations, Israel, Australia) with a tactical approach to moving into Iran. The young people Of Iran (75% of the population) will rise and fight with us.


After returning from the summit on Friday, Bush visited the British Embassy in Washington and signed a book of condolence and laid a wreath in front of the ambassador's residence.

Bush said the London attacks were a reminder of the "evil" of the Sept. 11 attacks and underscored that the United States and its allies were fighting a "global war on terror."

"We will stay on the offense, fighting the terrorists abroad so we do not have to face them at home," Bush said.

Rights Of Passage

Wolcott writes:

Atrios asks: "Anyone else notice just how excited it seems to make certain members of our mediocracy?"

"It" being terrorism--the attacks in London and the prospect of similar attacks here.

I've noticed, big time. In fact, it seems like way more than "certain members"--with the sane exceptions of Michael Scheuer and Larry Johnson, nearly every guest and pundit on cable is trying to find their spot in the banshee chorus. When all of these "terror experts"--many of them affiliated with rightwing think tanks--pontificate and speculate (based on no real information) about who the perpetrators were and the nature of the long struggle we're in, they look and sound keyed-up, keen with anticipation, eager to entertain the worst.

No kidding. They're like a bunch of coke addicts trying desperately to re-capture that first great high that made them feel omnipotent. ("May the Lion come roaring back!")

9/11 was a very dramatic act of terrorism, a made for TV spectacle that horrifed and riveted the world for days. Many of these people threw themselves into the fantasy that this "war on terrorism" was the gravest threat the world has ever known (MAD be damned) and that they were somehow at the center of this conflict, destined to be heroes of the age. There were even those who said overtly that the greatest generation were a bunch of free-loading socialists compared to the freedom fighting liberators of today. It was obvious from the get that there were deeper psychological issues at play.

I suspect that among those who have not had to fight a war there are always a few who regret not being able to prove themselves on the battlefield. War does seem hardwired into the human experience; the battle cry is a pretty primal thing. So, I can understand the excitement of the twenty somethings like Pat Tilman who joined up after 9/11, driven by a strong desire to test his mettle and physical courage. (Hell, that was the reason Oliver Stone joined up in Vietnam, Kerry too --- it has little to do with politics.)Young men being excited about war is nothing new --- and having their illusions shattered by the reality of it is nothing new either. The literature of the ages can attest to this.

That is not what we are dealing with here, however. We are dealing with a group of right wing glory seekers who chose long ago to eschew putting themselves on the line in favor of tough talk and empty posturing --- the Vietnam chickenhawks and their recently hatched offspring of the new Global War On Terrorism. These are men (mostly) driven by the desire to prove their manhood but who refuse to actually test their physical courage. Neither are they able to prove their virility as they are held hostage by prudish theocrats and their own shortcomings. So they adopt the pose of warrior but never actually place themselves under fire. This is a psychologically difficult position to uphold. Bullshitting yourself is never without a cost.

And I think there is an even deeper layer to this as well and one which is vital to understanding why the right wing baby boomers and their political offspring are so pathologically irrational about dealing with terrorism. Vietnam, as we were all just mercilessly reminded in the presidential election, was the crucible of the baby boom generation, perhaps the crucible of America as a mature world power.

The war provided two very distinct tribal pathways to manhood. One was to join "the revolution" which included the perk of having equally revolutionary women at their sides, freely joining in sexual as well as political adventure as part of the broader cultural revolution. (The 60's leftist got laid. A lot.) And he was also deeply engaged in the major issue of his age, the war in Vietnam, in a way that was not, at the time, seen as cowardly, but rather quite threatening. His masculine image encompassed both sides of the male archetypal coin --- he was both virile and heroic.

The other pathway to prove your manhood was to test your physical courage in battle. There was an actual bloody fight going on in Vietnam, after all. Plenty of young men volunteered and plenty more were drafted. And despite the fact that it may be illogical on some level to say that if you support a war you must fight it, certainly if your self-image is that of a warrior, tradition requires that you put yourself in the line of fire to prove your courage if the opportunity presents itself. You simply cannot be a warrior if you are not willing to fight. This, I think, is deeply understood by people at a primitive level and all cultures have some version of it deeply embedded in the DNA. It's not just the willingness to die it also involves the willingness to kill. Men who went to Vietnam and faced their fears of killing and dying, whether voluntarily or involuntarily, put themselves to this test.

And then there were the chickenhawks. They were neither part of the revolution nor did they take the obvious step of volunteering to fight the war they supported. In fact, due to the draft, they allowed others to fight and die in their place despite the fact that they believed heartily that the best response to communism was to aggressively fight it "over there" so we wouldn't have to fight it here. These were empty boys, unwilling to put themselves on the line at the moment of truth, yet they held the masculine virtues as the highest form of human experience and have portrayed themselves ever since as tough, uncompromising manly men while portraying liberals as weak and effeminate. (Bill Clinton was able to thwart this image because of his reputation as a womanizer. You simply couldn't say he was effeminate.)

Now it must be pointed out that there were many men, and many more women, who didn't buy into any of this "manhood" stuff and felt no need to join in tribal rituals or bloody wars to prove anything. Most of those men, however, didn't aspire to political leadership. Among the revolutionaries, the warriors and the chickenhawks, there were many who did. Indeed, these manhood rituals are more often than not a requirement for leadership. (Perhaps having more women in power will finally change that.)

The only political aspirants among those three groups who failed to meet the test of their generation were the chickenhawks. And our problem today is that they are the ones in charge of the government as we face a national security threat. These unfulfilled men still have something to prove.

And, I suspect because their leadership of the "conservative" movement has infected the new generation, we are seeing much of the same pathology among younger warhawks as well. This is why we hear the shrill war cries of inchoate bloodlust from these quarters every time the terrorists strike. It's a primal scream of inner confusion and self-loathing. These are people whose highest aspirations and deepest longings are wrapped up in their masculinity, and yet they are flaccid failures. They are in a state of arrested development, never having faced their fears, never becoming men, remaining boys standing in the corner of the darkened hallway watching Bill Clinton emerge from a co-ed's dorm room to lead a rousing all night strategy session --- and sitting in the bus station on the way home for Christmas vacation as Chuck Hagel and John Kerry in uniform, looking stalwart and strong, clap each other on the back in brotherly solidarity and prepare to see what they are really made of. They have never been part of anything but an effete political movement in which the stakes go no higher than repeal of the death tax.

So, now we are facing a new crucible, one which the fighting keyboarders insist is an existential fight for everything we believe in. And you once again have campus Republicans sputtering about how their bake sales support the troops, trotting out their manly beer drinking as a stand-in for meeting the test of manhood their own belief system requires. Indeed, in a typical twist of reality, they claim that they are the new campus revolutionaries --- as they support the power structure in every way and insist that traditional values be enforced. I have no idea if they are getting laid, but their hyper-reliance on frat boy hyperbole to prove their masculinity to one another makes me doubt it. And so the weakness of one generation is passed on to the next.

Wolcott concludes his piece wondering how the warhawks can reconcile their alleged admiration for the British "stiff upper lip," with their own hysterical overreaction to the threat of terrorism:

The curious thing is that so many of the rightward bloggers and Fox Newswers who are hailing the Brits for their quiet stoicism and pluck don't seem to realize they're issuing an implicit rebuke to themselves and their fellow Americans. They're saying, in effect, "You've got to admire the Brits for showing calm and quiet perserverence after these explosions--they don't get all hysterical, overdramatic, and overreactive the way we Americans do." They don't seem to realize the example shown by Londoners might be a lesson to them, a model they might follow instead of playing laptop Pattons at full volume every time they feel a rousing post coming on.

Playing laptop Pattons at full volume, supporting the president and the entire power structure of the government is their only way of proving to themselves that they are warriors. They are damaged by their own contradictory past and as a result they cannot see their way through the haze of emotional turmoil to seek out and find real solutions to the problem of terrorism. They lash out with trash talk and threats and constant references to their own resolve because they are afraid. They've always been afraid.


Friday, July 08, 2005

Put A Bork In It

The Carpetbagger Report asks Since when did Bork become a martyr? --- and links to Jonathan Chait's column in the LA Times that explains why Bork actually was a completely unacceptable wingnut. Nowadays, of course, he's seen as the Joan of Arc if the right wing freakshow, but the truth is that he makes even Scalia look halfway reasonable. I recall him saying on Larry King one night during the Clinton panty raid that the president could be impeached for committing a depraved act --- oral sex. He's nutty as a fruitcake.

When I was researching something else recently I came across this little known fact (at least to me) and I wonder if anyone out ther can verify it. Maybe it's common knowledge and I missed it --- wouldn't be the first time.

According to Wikipedia:

In the years after the Saturday Night Massacre, a well-known joke said that "borking" was "firing a man for doing exactly what he was hired to do" (i.e. Judge Bork had "borked" Archibald Cox, whose job had been to investigate criminal activities in the Nixon White House). After Bork's confirmation hearings, however, a new meaning was given to Bork's name: to be borked is to have one's presidential appointment defeated by the U.S. Senate.

I knew, of course, that Bork fired Cox and I knew he was reviled for it by all but the most rabid Nixon defenders. But I never heard that called Borking. If it's true, and the Republicans have managed to completely change the meaning of that term, then you really have to hand it to them. And Borkie owes them his immortal soul.

Thinking Ahead

"We know that after September the 11th, our country must think differently. We must take threats seriously, before they fully materialize."

Three weeks before London's bus and subway bombings, a Senate committee voted to slash spending on mass transit security in the United States, a decision sure to be reversed when Congress returns next week.


In a stroke of bad timing, the Senate Appropriations Committee voted last month to slash money for rail and transit security grants to state and local government by a third from the $150 million devoted to them this year. As of May, none of the money had been distributed by the Homeland Security Department.

I don't know, money's pretty tight. We've got a useless war costing us a billion a week and we have to take the threat of having to pay taxes on your multi-million dollar estate seriously, before it materializes. There's not a lot of extra scratch around for protecting the most obvious terrorist targets. Maybe we could station some prayer teams around the subways and bus lines.

Send Him To The Naughty Chair

I'm tired of these Democrats acting like they won the election. Somebody needs to stand up and say, "When you win the election, you pick the nominees. Until then, shut up! Just shut up! Just go away! Bury yourselves in your rat holes and don't come out until you win an election. When you win an election, you can put all these socialist wackos, like Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Stephen Breyer, all over the court, but until then, SHUT UP! You are really irritating me."

I'm guessing Rush is under some stress these days and I don't blame him. As much as I hate him, I am very much against prosecutors having the right to fish around in your medical records. I believe strongly in a right to privacy. Just like the socialists Ginsburg and Breyer. And unlike the Real Americans Scalia and Thomas.

I have a sneaking suspicion that Rush thinks he should have a right to privacy, too. I wonder if he wants the One And Only True Party to ask prospective nominees about their views on that subject or if he just believes that Dear Leader knows what's best? He should probably get on the Dick-phone and say something because I don't think the right to privacy is a big item on the GOP agenda. In fact, it's highly likely that the new and improved wingnut supreme court is going to make it much more possible to put Rush in jail. There's a silver lining to everything, I suppose.

I'm hearing this "shut up until you win an election" theme a lot and not just on the issue of confirming judges. Evidently, there is some belief on the right that if you gain a majority it means that you are not to be opposed. Which makes me wonder why we have a legislature at all. The last I heard all citizens have a right to representation to speak and oppose and do what they believe is in the interests of their constituents. For the more that 60 years that the Republicans were completely out of power or had to share it, they spoke up quite eloquently in opposition. I don't recall the cries for them to "crawl back into their ratholes" until they won an election.

It's an interesting insight into the fundamentally anti-democratic nature of the modern Republican party. Evidently a majority means that you shouldn't even have to hear the opposition, much less take their input into consideration. It's quite obvious that Rush is frustrated that even when he wins he doesn't get to rule with total dominance. In fact, he seems more angry now than when The One True party was sharing power. It's a remarkably immature and privileged worldview that says you should not only get your own way in all things but that you should get it without any effort at all.

And it's creepy how preternaturally sure they seem that they will never lose another election. Either that or Rush is just a gasbag who has some neurotic need to articulate every half baked misfired synapse that passes through his cerebral cortex. And that's pretty creepy, too.


The PM was sipping tea at 10.30am when it was confirmed by his chief of staff Jonathan Powell that terrorists had hit London with force.

Mr Blair was given a chilling telephone briefing by Home Secretary Charles Clarke, who had just chaired a security meeting in a bomb-proof bunker under Downing Street.

Visibly-shaken, the PM went back to finish a session with G8 leaders but left early to make a live TV statement, vowing never to surrender to terrorists.

The contrast with President Bush's reaction to the news about the September 11 attacks could not have been more stark.

After planes slammed into the twin towers the world saw an aide whisper the news to Mr Bush who reacted with wide-eyed panic.

The President was bundled on to his jet and kept away from Washington and New York while Vice-President Dick Cheney took shelter in a secret bunker.

But yesterday Mr Blair was strong and defiant and flew back to London to take charge of the crisis.

I especially like the "bundled on his jet" part. Where he showed resolve, of course.


Thursday, July 07, 2005


A new story focusing on Rove in the WaPo:

Questions Remain on the Leaker and the Law

There's a lot of interesting info, most of which we who have been following the story know, but which has not been put all together in a mainstream story. It's quite provocative.

But here's one little tid-bit I'm not actually sure about:

Fitzgerald long has made a distinction in his investigation between conversations held before Novak's column was publicly available (it was moved to his newspaper clients on July 11, 2003) and after, on the assumption that once Plame's name was in the public domain, there was no criminal liability for administration officials to discuss it. Which may be one reason it could be difficult to obtain indictments.

We don't actually know if this is true. There has been speculation that the law may not actually say that. From Josh Marshall 3/24/04:

A couple weeks back a legal memo fell into my hands from the sky. And it suggests that even the facts Rove has apparently admitted to put him in clear legal jeopardy.


The essential argument is that the law, the Intelligence Identities Protection Act, does more than simply prohibit a governmental official with access to classified information from divulging the identities of covert operatives. The interpretation of the law contained in the memo holds that a government insider, with access to classified information, such as Rove is also prohibited from confirming or further disseminating the identity of a covert agent even after someone else has leaked it.

I won't try to explain it anymore than that. The memo is only a few pages long and I've marked the key passages.

There is one point the author of the memo doesn't raise. My layman's reading of the memo suggests to me that it would be critical to ascertain whether Rove learned of Plame's identity before the Novak article appeared or whether he learned of it for the first time when he read Novak's column.

If the latter, then I'm not sure the argument contained in the memo holds up.

Here's the memo(pdf). Read it for yourself.

If its true that Rove could be held liable for making Plame "fair game" after Novak's column, if he learned of her status before the column, then Arianna's reported speculation among the cognescenti last night about a "meeting between Rove and Libby" makes sense, regardless of whether Rove was the original leaker..

In any case, I don't think it's actually been determined that Rove could not be prosecuted for spreading the tale after Novak's column. Everybody is just assuming that because it's "out there" that government officials continuing to spread classified information is not a crime. That may not actually be so.

It's possible that Rove's arrogance may get him in big trouble:

Rove insisted, he had only circulated information about Plame after it had appeared in Novak's column. He also told the FBI, the same sources said, that circulating the information was a legitimate means to counter what he claimed was politically motivated criticism of the Bush administration by Plame's husband, former Ambassador Joseph Wilson.

Rove and other White House officials described to the FBI what sources characterized as an aggressive campaign to discredit Wilson through the leaking and disseminating of derogatory information regarding him and his wife to the press, utilizing proxies such as conservative interest groups and the Republican National Committee to achieve those ends, and distributing talking points to allies of the administration on Capitol Hill and elsewhere. Rove is said to have named at least six other administration officials who were involved in the effort to discredit Wilson.

I discovered the Marshall post via this very helpful timeline put out by American Progress Action Report
Faith Based Law Enforcement

The crippling reach of methamphetamine abuse has become the nation's leading drug problem affecting local law enforcement agencies, according to a survey of 500 sheriff's departments in 45 states.

More than half of the sheriffs interviewed for a National Association of Counties survey released Tuesday said they considered meth the most serious problem facing their departments.

"We're finding out that this is a bigger problem than we thought," said Larry Naake, executive director of the association. "Folks at the state and federal level need to know about this."

About 90 percent of those interviewed reported increases in meth-related arrests in their counties over the past three years, packing jails in the Midwest and elsewhere.

The arrests also have swamped other county-level agencies that assist with caring for children whose parents have become addicted and with cleaning up toxic chemicals left behind by meth cookers.

The report comes soon after the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy restated its stance that marijuana remains the nation's most substantial drug problem. Federal estimates show there are 15 million marijuana users compared with the 1 million that may use meth.

Dave Murray, a policy analyst for the White House, said he understands that the meth problem moving through the nation is serious and substantial. But he disagrees that it has become an epidemic.

"This thing is burning, and because it's burning, we're going to put it out," he said. "But we can't turn our back on other threats."

That is a very, very stupid choice of words for a drug policy analyst to use:

At a conference on the scourge of methamphetamine, one item on the agenda was a tour of a seemingly unlikely place: a burn unit.

Legislators, doctors, social workers and law officials — including the federal government’s second highest-ranking drug czar — walked the halls of Vanderbilt University Medical Center regional burn center, where seven of the 20 patients were injured by fires and explosions in clandestine meth labs.

Vanderbilt doctors told Joseph Keefe, deputy director of the Office on National Drug Control Policy, and the other participants that meth cases are increasingly common and are driving up state medical expenditures. The costs of treating critically injured burn victims typically exceed $10,000 a day each — and most meth patients don’t have health insurance.

“As bad as this may sound, as a burn doctor I almost wish another drug, one less volatile that doesn’t regularly explode during the manufacturing process, would come down the pike to overtake the popularity of meth,” said the center’s director, Dr. Jeff Guy.

Standing in the doorway of one patient’s room Tuesday, Guy told Keefe that the man had spent 45 days in a hospital from an October meth blast and “has gone out and blown himself up again.”

Meanwhile the scourge of marijuana addiction has created a national shortage of Ben and Jerry's Chunky Monkey ice cream.

Intellectual Compost

is fascinating. Ben Adler asked a bunch of leading conservative intellectuals whether they believed in evolution. As far as I can tell only about half of them have any intellectual integrity whatsoever, and only one is definitively honest in my opinion: Charles Krauthamer, if you can believe that. Richard Brookheiser and William F Buckley get honorable mentions.

Remember, these are highly educated people. The problem is not that they may believe in God or have a religious view of the origins of the universe. That is quite easily explained. It's the weaselly, mushy way they try to divert the question elsewhere or explain what they know is a ridiculous position. It's as if they are all terribly afraid that James Dobson might read TNR and berate them for not having a religiously correct fundamentalist view. William Kristol, as always, is the slickest guy around.

William Kristol, The Weekly Standard

Whether he personally believes in evolution: "I don't discuss personal opinions. ... I'm familiar with what's obviously true about it as well as what's problematic. ... I'm not a scientist. ... It's like me asking you whether you believe in the Big Bang."

How evolution should be taught in public schools: "I managed to have my children go through the Fairfax, Virginia schools without ever looking at one of their science textbooks."

Grover Norquist, Americans for Tax Reform

Whether he personally believes in evolution: "I've never understood how an eye evolves."

What he thinks of intelligent design: "Put me down for the intelligent design people."

How evolution should be taught in public schools: "The real problem here is that you shouldn't have government-run schools. ... Given that we have to spend all our time crushing the capital gains tax I don't have much time for this issue."

David Frum, American Enterprise Institute and National Review

Whether he personally believes in evolution: "I do believe in evolution."

What he thinks of intelligent design: "If intelligent design means that evolution occurs under some divine guidance, I believe that."

How evolution should be taught in public schools: "I don't believe that anything that offends nine-tenths of the American public should be taught in public schools. ... Christianity is the faith of nine-tenths of the American public. ... I don't believe that public schools should embark on teaching anything that offends Christian principle."

Stephen Moore, Free Enterprise Fund

Whether he personally believes in evolution: "I believe in parts of it but I think there are holes in the evolutionary theory."

What he thinks of intelligent design: "I generally agree with said critique."

Whether intelligent design or a similar critique should be taught in public schools: "I think people should be taught ... that there are various theories about how man was created."

Whether schools should leave open the possibility that man was created by God in his present form: "Of course, yes, definitely."

Jonah Goldberg, National Review

Whether he personally believes in evolution: "Sure."

What he thinks of intelligent design: "I think it's interesting. ... I think it's wrong. I think it's God-in-the-gaps theorizing. But I'm not hostile to it the way other people are because I don't, while I think evolution is real, I don't think any specific--there are a lot of unknowns left in evolution theory and criticizing evolution from different areas doesn't really bother me, just as long as you're not going to say the world was created in six days or something."

How evolution should be taught in public schools: "I don't think you should teach religious conclusions as science and I don't think you should teach science as religion. ... I see nothing [wrong] with having teachers pay some attention to the sensitivities of other people in the room. I think if that means you're more careful about some issues than others that's fine. People are careful about race and gender; I don't see why all of a sudden we can't be diplomatic on these issues when it comes to religion."

Charles Krauthammer, The Washington Post

Whether he personally believes in evolution: "Of course."

What he thinks of intelligent design: "At most, interesting."

Whether intelligent design should be taught in public schools: "The idea that [intelligent design] should be taught as a competing theory to evolution is ridiculous. ... The entire structure of modern biology, and every branch of it [is] built around evolution and to teach anything but evolution would be a tremendous disservice to scientific education. If you wanna have one lecture at the end of your year on evolutionary biology, on intelligent design as a way to understand evolution, that's fine. But the idea that there are these two competing scientific schools is ridiculous."

William Buckley, National Review

Whether he personally believes in evolution: "Yes."

What he thinks of intelligent design: "I'd have to write that down. ... I'd have to say something more carefully than I can over the telephone. I'm a Christian."

Whether schools should raise the possibility that the original genetic code was written by an intelligent designer: "Well, surely, yeah, absolutely."

Whether schools should raise the possibility--but not in biology classes--that man was created by God in his present form? : "Yes, sure, absolutely."

Which classes that should be discussed in: "History, etymology."

John Tierney, The New York Times (via email)

Whether he personally believes in evolution: "I believe that the theory of evolution has great explanatory powers."

What he thinks of intelligent design: "I haven't really studied the arguments for intelligent design, so I'm loath to say much about it except that I'm skeptical."

James Taranto, The Wall Street Journal

Whether he personally believes in evolution: "Yes."

What he thinks of intelligent design: "I could not speak fluently on the subject but I know what the basic argument is."

Whether schools should teach intelligent design or similar critiques of evolution in biology classes: "I guess I would say they probably shouldn't be taught in biology classes; they probably should be taught in philosophy classes if there is such a thing. It seems to me, and again I don't speak with any authority on this, that the hypothesis ... that the universe is somehow inherently intelligent is not a scientific hypothesis. Because how do you prove it or disprove it? And really the question is how do you disprove it, because a scientific hypothesis has to be capable of being falsified. So while there may be holes in Darwinian theory, while there's obviously a lot we don't know, and perhaps Darwinian theory could be wrong altogether, I think whether or not the universe is designed is just a question outside the realm of science."

How evolution should be taught in public schools: "It probably should be taught, if it's going to be taught, in a more thoroughgoing way, a more rigorous way that explains what a scientific theory is. ... You know, my general impression is that high school instruction in general is not all that rigorous. ... I think one possible way of solving this problem is by--if you can't teach it in a rigorous way, if the schools aren't up to that, and if it's going to be a political hot potato in the way it is, and we have schools that are politically run, one possible solution might be just take it out of the curriculum altogether. I'm not necessarily advocating that, but I think it's something that policy makers might think about. I'd rather see it taught in a rigorous and serious way, but as a realistic matter that may be expecting too much of our government schools."

Norman Podhoretz, Commentary (via email)

Whether he personally believes in evolution: "It's impossible to answer that question with a simple yes or no."

Richard Brookhiser, National Review

Whether he personally believes in evolution: "Yes."

What he thinks of intelligent design: "It doesn't seem like good science to me."

Whether intelligent design should be taught in public schools: "No."

Pat Buchanan, The American Conservative

Whether he personally believes in evolution: "Do I believe in absolute evolution? No. I don't believe that evolution can explain the creation of matter. ... Do I believe in Darwinian evolution? The answer is no."

What he thinks of intelligent design: "Do I believe in a Darwinian evolutionary process which can be inspired by a creator? Yeah, that's a real possibility. I don't believe evolution can explain the creation of matter. I don't believe it can explain the intelligent design in the universe. I just don't believe it can explain the tremendous complexity of the human being when you get down to DNA and you get down to atomic particles, and molecules, atomic particles, subatomic particles, which we're only beginning to understand right now. I think to say it all happened by accident or by chance or simply evolved, I just don't believe it."

How evolution should be taught in public schools: "Evolution [has] been so powerful a theory in Western history in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries and often a malevolent force--it's been used by non-Christians and anti-Christians to justify polices which have been horrendous. I do believe that every American student should be introduced to the idea and its effects on society. But I don't think it ought to be taught as fact. It ought to be taught as theory. ... How do you answer a kid who says, 'Where did we all come from?' Do you say, 'We all evolved'? I think that's a theory. ... Now the biblical story of creation should be taught to children, not as dogma but every child should know first of all the famous biblical stories because they have had a tremendous influence as well. ... I don't think it should be taught as religion to kids who don't wanna learn it. ... I think in biology that honest teachers gotta say, 'Look the universe exhibits, betrays the idea that there is a first mover, that there is intelligent design.' ... You should leave the teaching of religion to a voluntary classes in my judgment and only those who wish to attend."

Tucker Carlson, MSNBC

Whether he personally believes in evolution: "I think God's responsible for the existence of the universe and everything in it. ... I think God is probably clever enough to think up evolution. ... It's plausible to me that God designed evolution; I don't know why that's outside the realm. It's not in my view."

On the possibility that God created man in his present form: "I don't know if He created man in his present form. ... I don't discount it at all. I don't know the answer. I would put it this way: The one thing I feel confident saying I'm certain of is that God created everything there is."

On the possibility that man evolved from a common ancestor with apes: "I don't know. It wouldn't rock my world if it were true. It doesn't sound proved to me. But, yeah I'm willing to believe it, sure."

How evolution should be taught in public schools: "I don't have a problem with public schools or any schools teaching evolution. I guess I would have a problem if a school or a science teacher asserted that we know how life began, because we don't so far as I know, do we? ... If science teachers are teaching that we know things that in fact we don't know, then I'm against that. That's a lie. But if they are merely describing the state of knowledge in 2005 then I don't have problem with that. If they are saying, 'Most scientists believe this,' and most scientists believe it, then it's an accurate statement. What bothers me is the suggestion that we know things we don't know. That's just another form of religion it seems to me."

Ramesh Ponnuru, National Review

Whether he personally believes in evolution: "Yes."

What he thinks of intelligent design: "To the extent that I am familiar with it, and that's not very much, I guess what I think is this: The intelligent designers are correct insofar as they are reacting against a view of evolution which holds that it can't have been guided by God in any way--can't even have sort of been set in motion by God to achieve particular results and that no step in the process is guided by God. But they seem to give too little attention to the possibility that God could have set up an evolutionary process."

Whether intelligent design should be taught in public schools: "I guess my own inclination would be to teach evolution in the public schools. I don't think that you ought to make a federal case out of it though."

David Brooks, The New York Times (via email)

Whether he personally believes in evolution: "I believe in the theory of evolution."

What he thinks of intelligent design: "I've never really studied the issue or learned much about ID, so I'm afraid I couldn't add anything intelligent to the discussion."

And these are the people who railed against campus political correctness.

What do you suppose it's like to be intellectually held hostage by people who you know for a fact are dead wrong on something? It must be excruciating.

Big Man

"I was most impressed by the resolve of all the leaders in the room," Bush said. "Their resolve is as strong as my resolve. And that is we will not yield to these people, will not yield to the terrorists."

I'm sure everyone feels much beter knowing that the leaders of the G8 impressed the president with how much like him they are. Lord knows he's impressed with himself.

Update: Via Kevin at Catch: How can he speak with his mouth so full?

Tony Blair's shellshocked appearance during his initial statement earlier this morning offers the best rebuttal yet to the sleazy Michael Moore-style attack on President Bush's behavior on the morning of September 11. It would have been a disaster for Bush to have spoken as the choked-up Blair was. This is intended as no criticism of Blair, who was clearly under a far different sort of burden at the G-8 than Bush was sitting in a classroom in Sarasota. But Blair is not the leader of the free world, Bush is, and had he seemed unable to collect himself -- as would surely have been the case in that first hour after Andy Card told him about the attack on America -- I can't imagine what the day would have been like. Not that the president's first words on 9.11, an hour after the attacks, were strong and focused. But they were more controlled.

Reading My Pet Goat while the WTC was under attack was a show of "resolve."

Roaring Back

Andrew Sullivan wrote:

"I wonder if this attack will be in some ways a reverse Pearl Harbor, when Britain rouses itself to a fuller commitment to the war that was already underway elsewhere, the way America finally threw its full weight behind Britain in 1941. Britain, of course, has already been deeply involved, in Iraq and Afghanistan. But this war has now struck home - in one of the most diverse and liberal and dynamic cities in the world. May the lion roar back."

I would dearly love to know exactly what this "roaring back" would entail. Britain has already been, as he points out, roaring in Afghanistan. And it has been roaring in Iraq. It has roared in tandem and on command to everything the Bush administration asked of it.

I'm genuinely curious about this. Who should the coalition of the willing attack in retaliation for this? Where should we invade? How do the Brits go about "rousing itself to a fuller committment" ... and to what?

They helped us gin up phony evidence to invade Iraq and were with us all the way. They helped us invade Afghanistan to topple the government that supports al Qaeda. They have turned a blind eye to abduction, rendition, imprisonment and torture of suspected terrorists. They support our decision employ the most coldhearted realpolitik imaginable in propping up friendly dictators in places like Uzbekistan and necessary military dictators in Pakistan.

What exactly is the macho, codpiece wielding "roaring back" plan this time? What, pray tell, is our next military move in the global war on terror?

Update: I see that Matt Yglesias is already on this. He quotes Sub-commandante Rich Lowry of the 101st keyboarders:

There should be retaliation. Find a terror camp somewhere and hit it. Terrorists should, for these purposes, be treated as one nation, and all should be held responsible for any one attack."

I think we are a little bit past that, don't you? We've already held an entire country that had nothing to do with terrorism responsible, invaded it and occupy it today. Simple missile attacks against some unassociated terorist camp sounds positively Clintonian.

No, if our response to terrorism is to continue to try to impress these terrorists with our big swinging machismo we have raised the stakes quite a bit after our little Iraq adventure. It hasn't worked out very well as a showcase for our Imperial dominance. The only way to up the ante now is to invade a strong military country that had nothing to do with the attacks and attempt to kick their asses to show what will happen if anybody fucks with us. Russia maybe? Maybe that would "send the message" that we are too tough for terrorists to mess with. That is assuming we can do it without fucking it up, of course. Unfortunately, our track record in this regard isn't so hot.

We might need to rethink the "retaliation" against uninvolved parties plan. It hasn't exactly been a winner so far.

JohnS in the comments writes:

Here's a quote from one of Sullivan's emailers suggesting a fairly reasonable form that the "roaring" could take:

Londoners (Brits) will fight back. That is obvious. Always have always will. One thing I've got to disagree with you on is that there will be a push for policy change but not for the reason Galloway and others suggest. Brits will demand that we hand over the calm south to Iraqis and move troops (in particular SAS) to Afghanistan. There are some people in the mountains that we need to settle a score with.

I don't think anybody could argue with that. Like most traitorous liberal america-haters I've always thought it was logical to actually go after the perpetrators instead of locking up cab drivers in cuba and invading other countries for no apparent reason. If Britain decides that they havd to go and finish the job we screwed up in Afghanistan --- and pull out of Iraq to do it --- I don't find that unreasonable.

But this whole question reminds me of this interesting little tid-bit from Juan Cole's recent article in Salon:

When British Prime Minister Tony Blair arrived in Washington on Sept. 20, 2001, he was alarmed. If Blair had consulted MI6 about the relative merits of the Afghanistan and Iraq options, we can only imagine what well-informed British intelligence officers in Pakistan were cabling London about the dangers of leaving bin Laden and al-Qaida in place while plunging into a potential quagmire in Iraq. Fears that London was a major al-Qaida target would have underlined the risks to the United Kingdom of an "Iraq first" policy in Washington.

Meyer told Vanity Fair, "Blair came with a very strong message -- don't get distracted; the priorities were al-Qaida, Afghanistan, the Taliban." He must have been terrified that the Bush administration would abandon London to al-Qaida while pursuing the great white whale of Iraq. But he managed to help persuade Bush. Meyer reports, "Bush said, 'I agree with you, Tony. We must deal with this first. But when we have dealt with Afghanistan, we must come back to Iraq.'" Meyer also said, in spring 2004, that it was clear "that when we did come back to Iraq it wouldn't be to discuss smarter sanctions." In short, Meyer strongly implies that Blair persuaded Bush to make war on al-Qaida in Afghanistan first by promising him British support for a later Iraq campaign.

Sadly, we didn't actually finish the job in Afghanistan did we? And Blair got punked.

Of course, it's important to point out that this terrorist attack may have had nothing whatsoever to do with Afghanistan. This genie is out of the bottle and it may very well have been a home grown operation with minimal direction or guidance from the "top brass" of al Qaeda. Which is why we really, really need to shut down the bloodlust right now and start thinking. The fact that this is called a 'war" does not mean that there is an appropriate military solution. Unfortunately, that may lead to other equally ineffective and toxic solutions.

Ironically, Sullivans' quote above was (confusingly)in response to an excerpt from this post by Johann Hari. The piece to which he refers is about the fact that the bombs were exploded in arab neighborhoods. Sullivan fails to quote this last part of Hari's piece and it's the most important point:

But another fight began yesterday: to defend our civil liberties – and especially those of the decent, democratic Muslim majority – in an age of terror. I headed for the East London Mosque – a few minutes’ walk away from the bomb in Aldgate – to watch afternoon prayers. Chairman Mohammed Bari said, “Only yesterday, we celebrated getting the Olympics for our city and our country. But a terrible thing happened in our country this morning… Whoever has done this is a friend of no-one and certainly not a friend of Muslims. The whole world will be watching us now. We must give a message of peace.” Everybody in attendance agreed; many headed off to the Royal London Hospital to give blood. But they were afraid the message would not get out: several people were expecting attacks on the mosque tonight.

Since the "retaliation" against other countries have not quelled the terrorist danger, as we knew it wouldn't, I will not be surprised if we begin to see the fighting keyboarders begin looking closer to home.

Brave People

Londoners are no strangers to terrorism.

London terror attacks of the past 25 years

In the past 25 years London has been rocked by regular attacks, mostly by Irish republican groups but today's bombing is by far the most bloody with at least 33 people killed and hundreds injured.

The last attack was a car bomb in Ealing Broadway on August 3, 2001. The explosion, blamed on the Real IRA splinter group, caused no fatalities but injured seven people on a street full of restaurants and pubs.

Earlier in the same year, there were three separate attacks by the Real IRA. In mid-April and then early May, two small incendiary devices exploded at exactly the same spot outside a postal depot in Hendon, North London. No one was injured in the first attack but one passer-by was hurt in the second.

A month earlier, a bomb exploded outside the BBC Television Centre in Wood Lane, West London. The device, which was planted inside a black cab, detonated as bomb disposal experts attempted to carry out a controlled explosion. One person suffered minor injuries in the attack and the landmark building was badly damaged.

In September 2000 the Real IRA fired an anti-tank rocket at MI6’s headquarters in Vauxhall Cross, South London, causing damage to the intelligence service building but no injuries.

In the summer of 2000, bomb disposal experts performed two controlled explosions on a device planted on the Tube line near Ealing Broadway underground station. The incident was just a month after an unsuccessful attempt to blow up Hammersmith Bridge.

These attacks were the first by Irish republicans since the IRA renewed its ceasefire in July 1997.

London was not free of terrorism in the intervening years because in May and June of 1999 the capital’s ethnic and gay communities were hit by three nail bomb attacks.

Dozens were injured and three people were killed in the space of two weeks when neo-Nazi extremist David Copeland planted the devices in Brick Lane, Brixton and Soho.

Before the nail bomb attacks, London had not suffered a terrorist incident since the IRA attempted to blow up Hammersmith Bridge for the first time in April 1996.

The bomb contained 32lb of Semtex making it the largest high-explosive device ever planted on the British mainland but only the detonator went off saving possibly hundreds of lives.

Two months earlier, in an incident similar to today’s explosion in Russell Square, Edward O’Brien, a member of the IRA, was killed when the bomb he was transporting exploded prematurely on a bus in the Aldwych in central London. The bus driver, another passenger and eight passers by were hurt in the explosion.

The incident came just a week after the IRA spectacularly ended its ceasefire with a massive bomb attack on Canary Wharf in east London’s Docklands area in February 1996.

Two local newsagents were killed in the attack and more than 100 injured. The bomb caused more than £85 million of damage.

Two years earlier the IRA launched a series of mortar rockets at Heathrow airport. The three separate assults, which occurred within the space of a week, caused widespread disruption but nobody was killed.

In the previous three years, between February 1991 and February 1994 the IRA launched 30 separate attacks in and around London. The most high profile was a mortar attack against Number 10, Downing Street when Prime Minister John Major was in residence. One of the rockets exploded in the garden injuring one person.

The most deadly attack was in April 1992 when a car bomb near the Baltic Exchange in the Financial District killed three people and injured 80 others.

In the 1980s, there were nine IRA attacks on London, the most deadly being the bombing of Harrods in December 1983. Three police officers and three civilians were killed and 90 people injured.

The 1980s also saw two other high-profile terrorist attacks on the capital. In 1984 WPC Yvonne Fletcher was killed and ten people injured after shots were fired from the Libyan People's Bureau in central London.

WPC Fletcher had been helping control a small demonstration outside the embassy when she received the fatal stomach wound.

Three years earlier six gunmen held 26 people hostage at the Iranian embassy in London. After a six-day standoff, the SAS stormed the building killing five of the hostage takers and arresting one other. All bar three of the captives were freed unharmed. One died and two were injured in the cross-fire.

We need to remember that terrorism wasn't invented on 9/11. Londoners have been putting up with this sick fear and horror for a long time. They are survivors.


More interesting stuff on Plamegate from TalkLeft and O'Donnell. Both point to one interesting piece of evidence in the court documents that indicates Fitzgerald is actually pursuing a serious crime rather than some sort of "send a message" perjury rap. O'Donnell first gives all the reasons why it's hard to prove that Rove broke the law and then says this:

In February, Circuit Judge David Tatel joined his colleagues' order to Cooper and Miller despite his own, very lonely finding that indeed there is a federal privilege for reporters that can shield them from being compelled to testify to grand juries and give up sources. He based his finding on Rule 501 of the Federal Rules of Evidence, which authorizes federal courts to develop new privileges "in the light of reason and experience." Tatel actually found that reason and experience "support recognition of a privilege for reporters' confidential sources." But Tatel still ordered Cooper and Miller to testify because he found that the privilege had to give way to "the gravity of the suspected crime."

Judge Tatel's opinion has eight blank pages in the middle of it where he discusses the secret information the prosecutor has supplied only to the judges to convince them that the testimony he is demanding is worth sending reporters to jail to get. The gravity of the suspected crime is presumably very well developed in those redacted pages. Later, Tatel refers to "[h]aving carefully scrutinized [the prosecutor's] voluminous classified filings."

Some of us have theorized that the prosecutor may have given up the leak case in favor of a perjury case, but Tatel still refers to it simply as a case "which involves the alleged exposure of a covert agent." Tatel wrote a 41-page opinion in which he seemed eager to make new law -- a federal reporters' shield law -- but in the end, he couldn't bring himself to do it in this particular case. In his final paragraph, he says he "might have" let Cooper and Miller off the hook "[w]ere the leak at issue in this case less harmful to national security."

Tatel's colleagues are at least as impressed with the prosecutor's secret filings as he is. One simply said "Special Counsel's showing decides the case."

All the judges who have seen the prosecutor's secret evidence firmly believe he is pursuing a very serious crime, and they have done everything they can to help him get an indictment.

Talkleft had brought up these documents earlier and pointed to this passage, which I agree is quite telling. Apparently Cooper had at some point used the excuse that he wasn't culpable because he had exposed the fact that the White House was outing Plame in his article. Here is what Judge Tatel wrote in his concurring opinion:

In essence, seeking protection for sources whose nefariousness he himself exposed, Cooper asks us to protect criminal leaks so that he can write about the crime. The greater public interest lies in preventing the leak to begin with. Had Cooper based his report on leaks about the leaks—say, from a whistleblower who revealed the plot against Wilson—the situation would be different. Because in that case the source would not have revealed the name of a covert agent, but instead revealed the fact that others had done so, the balance of news value and harm would shift in favor of protecting the whistleblower. Yet it appears Cooper relied on the Plame leaks themselves, drawing the inference of sinister motive on his own. Accordingly, his story itself makes the case for punishing the leakers. While requiring Cooper to testify may discourage future leaks, discouraging leaks of this kind is precisely what the public interest requires.

It's possible that they are only talking about perjury or lying to the FBI a la Martha Stewart. But O'Donnell is right that it's hard to believe that a judge who is inclined to create a federal shield law would find this case so particularly distasteful that he refuses to use this precedent to do it. That passage above indicates quite clearly that, based upon the evidence he's seen, the leak itself was criminal.


I think that David Corn may have nailed the Robert Novak conundrum.

That brings me to my best guess of what did happen: Novak told Fitzgerald a story that helps his sources. It went something like this:

Yes, Mr. Fitzgerald, Bush Aide X and Bush Aide Y both told me that Valerie Plame worked at the CIA and that they suspected she had sent Joseph Wilson on his now-infamous trip to Niger where he determined it was highly unlikely that Iraq had been shopping there for uranium to be used in a nuclear weapons program. But neither one of these two fine Americans told me that she was an undercover operative at the CIA. If you will again look at what I wrote, I referred to her as an "Agency operative on weapons of mass destruction." I never reported she was in a secret position. In fact, the use of the word "operative"—which I suppose could connote a clandestine position but does not necessarily do so—was mine alone. These sources merely said to me she was employed at the CIA. As a newspaper columnist, I used the most evocative term I could think of at the time. I take full responsibility for that.

And to make everything neat and tidy, Bush Aide X and Bush Aide Y each essentially said the same thing to Fitzgerald:

I heard hallway chatter that Valerie Plame was at the CIA and that she had something to do with Wilson's trip to Niger. I passed this on to Novak and Time magazine. I was never aware that she was working undercover or that by sharing this gossip I would be disclosing confidential information that identified a covert official. After all, as you know, Mr. Fitzgerald, not every CIA employee is a clandestine official.

Voila. No crime. A thuggish act of political retribution that destroyed a CIA officer's career and undermined national security, yes. But no crime.

He goes on to then explain why Fitzgerald, who may have seen phone records or heard other testimony that made him suspicious, wanted to "verify" this little scenario with Cooper and Plame who clearly had contact with someone in the white house during this period..

Robert Novak would lie for his sources in a minute. He's that much of hack. And the thing is, this is exactly what he said on the air shortly after the controversy began. He claimed that it all depends on what the meaning of "operative" is.

What's interesting here is that Fitzgerald obviously doesn't believe him.

The End Of The Rationale

So, we're fighting the terrorists in Iraq --- and London --- so we won't have to fight them here?

I think the flypaper's lost its stick.

Update: Kevin wishes that the blogosphere could not politicise this for just one day, out of respect for the dead, which I understand. I struggled with whether I should write this post for those very reasons.

But I don't think we have the luxury of doing that, sadly, because the Bush administration has made exploiting terrorism their primary mode of governance and because of that we continue to see horrific scenes like today. Bush and his spokesmen are wasting no time is spinning this terrible event to their advantage once again.

I would like to see this as simple tit-for-tat political one upsmanship because it would mean that it wasn't all that important. But Bush's incompetence IS all that important and we can't afford to let him crawl over the backs of any more dead people to boost his political fortunes.