Friday, February 23, 2007

Obama, Nov. 2002

Talking Points Memo

Obama on the Iraq War resolution from November 2002, a month after the vote ...

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Rove Said to Have Received 2003 Iranian Proposal

Washington - Karl Rove, then White House senior political advisor for President George W. Bush, received a copy of the secret Iranian proposal for negotiations with the United States from former Republican Congressman Bob Ney in early May 2003, according to an Iranian-American scholar who was then on his Congressional staff.

Karl Rove, then White House senior political advisor for President George W. Bush, received a copy of the secret Iranian proposal for negotiations with the United States from former Republican Congressman Bob Ney in early May 2003, according to an Iranian-American scholar who was then on his Congressional staff.

Ney, who pleaded guilty last year and was sentenced to prison in January for his role in the Jack Abramov lobbying scandal, was named by former aide Trita Parsi as an intermediary who took a copy of the Iranian proposal to the White House.

Parsi is now a specialist on Iranian national security policy and president of the National Iranian-American Council (NIAC), a non-partisan organisation that supports a negotiated settlement of the conflict between Iran and the United States.

Parsi revealed that the document was delivered specifically to Rove, in an exclusive interview with IPS. Within two hours of the delivery of the document, according to Parsi, Ney received a phone call from Rove confirming his receipt of the document. Parsi said the proposal was delivered to Rove the same week that the State Department received it by fax, which was on or about May 4, 2003, according to the cover letter accompanying it.

Ney was chosen by Swiss Ambassador in Tehran Tim Guldimann to carry the Iranian proposal to the White House, according to Parsi, because he knew the Ohio Congressman to be the only Farsi-speaking member of Congress and particularly interested in Iran.

Guldimann helped the Iranians draft the proposal and passed it on the United States.

The White House press office had not responded to a request for a comment on the account naming Rove as the recipient of the Iranian proposal by midday Friday.

The Iranian proposal for negotiations, which suggested that Iran was willing to consider far-reaching compromises on its nuclear programme, relations with Hezbollah and Hamas and support for a Palestinian peace agreement with Israel as part of a larger peace agreement with the United States, has become a contentious issue between the Bush administration and its critics in and out of Congress.

The identification of Rove as a recipient of the secret Iranian proposal throws new light on the question of who in the Bush administration was aware of the Iranian proposal at the time. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice denied in Congressional testimony last week that she had seen the Iranian offer in 2003 and even chastised former State Department, National Security Council and Central Intelligence Agency official Flynt Leverett for having failed to bring it to her attention at the time.

At a Capital Hill conference on U.S.-Iran relations Wednesday, sponsored by the New America Foundation and NIAC, Leverett responded to Rice's criticism by saying it was "unthinkable that it would not have been brought to her attention" and demanding an apology from her.

In May 2003, both Rove and Rice were considered to be part of Bush's inner circle on foreign policy matters, along with Vice President Dick Cheney. When Bush met with South Korea President Roh Moo-hyun on May 13, for example, the only advisers accompanying him were Rove and Rice.

The revelation that Rove received a copy of the Iranian negotiating proposal within days of the receipt of the State Department makes it appear very unlikely that Rice was not immediately made aware of the document.

The new account of the transmission of a second copy of the Iranian proposal to the White House coincided with the release Wednesday of both the actual text of the proposal as received in Washington and of the cover memo by Ambassador Guldimann which accompanied it. The two documents contradict the suggestion by Rice and by other State Department officials that Guldimann was acting on his own in forwarding the proposal, and that it did not reflect the intentions of the Iranian government.

The two documents were made available on the website of the Washington Post online edition in connection with a story by Post reporter Glenn Kessler. Kessler wrote that they had been provided by "a source who felt its contents were mischaracterised by State Department officials."

read more

Friday, February 16, 2007

Crooks and Liars » Tim Ryan on Republican incompetence

Crooks and Liars » Tim Ryan on Republican incompetence

Mr. Speaker, it is entirely possible and welcomed under the constitution of the United States to have disagreements about how we need to handle troop deployments, how we need to handle our situation in different wars and it is not to be said that because one party or one group of people have a different philosophy and a different strategy that somehow they are not supporting the troops.
Now, your party and your President, the Republican party, Mr. Speaker, and the Republican President are the ones who sent our kids to battle without armor, without body armor. It took Jack Murtha months to uncover it and then to finally get it paid for and distributed. It was the Republican party, Mr. Speaker, who sent kids into battle without up armored humvees. Nobody questioned the Republican party's patriotism. Nobody asked them if they supported the troops. We called you incompetent. We said you were incapable and derelict of your duty, you should have provided oversight. Enough of the unpatriotic business. I yield back the balance of my time.
(watch the video)

Tim Johnson (R-IL) Follows District to Oppose Escalation

Melinda Henneberger
The Huffington Post

WASHINGTON - Republican Congressman Tim Johnson's district in central and southern Illinois is farm country, and even its Democrats tend to be conservative. The 15th, where I grew up, does not swing, period; President Bush took 59 percent of the vote there in '04. And though Champaign, where Johnson was born and raised, is a college town, the University of Illinois has never been confused with Berkeley.

So Johnson, a lawyer who until recently owned a little farm on the side, surprised no one with his steady support of the president, from the time they both arrived in Washington in January of '01. He voted for the Bush tax cuts, for the bill that restricted liability for gun makers, for a ban on partial-birth abortion and on same-sex marriage, too. He was never particularly close to the former Speaker, Denny Hastert, it's true, and did buck the leadership on opening the Alaska National Wildlife Refuge for oil drilling.

But when he broke with his party today -- as one of only 17 Republicans to side with Democrats on a resolution opposing the president's decision to send more troops into Iraq -- he made clear that he was only following the lead of his constituents. He should know; until today, Johnson's claim to fame was the 200 phone calls he makes back home every day, calls that have convinced him the voters there are thoroughly fed up with the war, too.

"He considers himself a conservative, but it isn't only the liberals" who no longer support the president's leadership on Iraq, said Johnson's spokesman, Phil Bloomer. "It's a matter of his own observation about the way the war has been conducted. But he's obsessed with calling everybody in the district all the time, and he hears the same thing everywhere, from Mattoon to Mount Carmel."

Other Republicans who voted with the Democrats today included Tom Davis, an Army vet whose district in Northern Virginia is becoming more Democratic. "Knowing what we know today," Davis said on the House floor, "after almost four years of attempted nation building on the shifting sands of Iraq, the plan to put 21,000 more Americans in harm's way there has to be viewed with a cold-eyed skepticism born of that hard experience. Putting American troops between feuding Sunni and Shia in the middle of Baghdad is a mistake."

The only two Democrats who broke with their party today were Gene Taylor, of Mississippi, and Jim Marshall, of Georgia. Marshall's spokesman explained, "Jim isn't necessarily in favor of the surge; in fact, he's on record as being against it." But?

"Jim is a Vietnam vet, from a military family and a military culture," said the spokesman, Doug Moore, "so he will never do anything that might undermine morale. This is one of the harder votes he's taken; Jim would rather this vote hadn't come up."

When I asked Taylor's communications director, Courtney Littig, why her boss had voted as he had, she said, "That's an excellent question; we'd like to know, too. We thought we knew which way he was going," but guessed wrong. Since the vote, she said, she hadn't heard from him: "I know he's not going to hide from it. But the phones are all lit up."

TakinITGlobal

from Wikinomics

TakingITGlobal or (TIG) is a global non-governmental organization (NGO) that runs a large online community and social network for youth who are interested in social, political and global issues. TakingITGlobal also runs a number of offline engagement projects and partnerships that are strongly linked or supported by its online initiatives.

The mandate of TakingITGlobal is to help young people express themselves; take positive action; and understand global issues. TakingITGlobal is based in Toronto, Ontario with offices and staff in New York City, Argentina and Moscow. In the fall of 2005, the online community at TakingITGlobal.org registered its 100,000th member. More than 5 million young people have used TakingITGlobal.org since it launched in 2000. In 2006, TakingITGlobal was granted Charitable status by the Government of Canada.
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TakingITGlobal's next task: reforming education.

Ask Furdyk why educational systems around the Western world are failing and, not suprisingly, you won't get a conventional answer. It's not all down to undisciplined students, underperforming teachers, or toothless standards. According to Furdyk, the real problem is a lack of engaging content.
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TakingITGlobal's answer is a set of tools and curricular activities that will get students collaborating with other students in other countries to complete projects, and learning through active projects that make a difference in their communities. "It's real participatory, active learning," says Furdyk. "A teacher in Canada and a teacher in Nigeria sign up, create a virtual classroom, and assign students to group research projects, while the students can blog, post artwork, and collaborate on a class wiki." With the assistance of Microsoft, the project will be in classrooms across North America by 2008.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Pelosi Blog

Crooks and Liars

Speaker Pelosi has launched a new blog, dubbed "The Gavel."

It's actually pretty informative, giving videos of speeches given on the floor of the House, press releases and information on the latest hearings. I've been told that it will continue to evolve based on the feedback it gets, but even now in its infancy, I have to give Speaker Pelosi props for showing Republicans how responsiveness to your constituency looks.

Show'em how it's done, Madame Speaker.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

More from 'Frontline' Interviews: Carl Bernstein on Nixon vs. Bush

via Huffington Post

More from 'Frontline' Interviews: Carl Bernstein on Nixon vs. Bush

Q. Finally, I just want to get your reflections on the [famously contentious] relationship of Richard Nixon and the press. ... How does that compare to George W. Bush and the press?
BERNSTEIN: First, Nixon's relationship to the press was consistent with his relationship to many institutions and people. He saw himself as a victim. We now understand the psyche of Richard Nixon, that his was a self-destructive act and presidency.
I think what we're talking about with the Bush administration is a far different matter in which disinformation, misinformation and unwillingness to tell the truth -- a willingness to lie both in the Oval Office, in the Office of the Secretary of Defense, in the office of the vice president, the vice president himself -- is something that I have never witnessed before on this scale.
The lying in the Nixon White House had most often to do with covering up Watergate, with the Nixon administration's illegal activities. Here, in this presidency, there is an unwillingness to be truthful, both contextually and in terms of basic facts that ought to be of great concern to people of all ideologies. ...
This president has a record of dishonesty and obfuscation that is Nixonian in character in its willingness to manipulate the press, to manipulate the truth. We have gone to war on the basis of misinformation, disinformation and knowing lies from top to bottom.
That is an astonishing fact. That's what this story is about: the willingness of the president and the vice president and the people around them to try to undermine people who have effectively opposed them by telling the truth. It happened with [Sen.] John McCain in South Carolina. It happened with [Sen.] John Kerry. It's happened with [Sen.] Max Cleland in Georgia. It's happened with many other people. That's the real story, and that's the story that [the press] should have been writing. ...
It's very difficult, as a reporter, to get across that when you say, "This is a presidency of great dishonesty," that this is not a matter of opinion. This is demonstrable fact. If you go back and look at the president's statements, you look at the statements of the vice president, you look at the statements of Condoleezza Rice, you go through the record, you look at what [counterterrorism expert] Richard Clarke has written, you look at what we know -- it's demonstrable.

entire PBS Bernstein Interview

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Cenk Uygur: I Call Bullshit on the Evidence Against Iran

The Huffington Post
h/t the eye

This weekend three US defense officials put on a demonstration meant to prove that Iran is supplying weapons to people fighting our forces in Iraq. The presentation wasn't just shoddy, it was pathetic.

First, no one would go on the record. Why? There is no conceivable reason why a US defense official can't say who he is and what his expertise is when talking about very serious charges we are making against another country.

As Eason Jordan has pointed out, it is inexcusable.

They don't want to go on the record because what they are doing is literally embarrassing. They don't want to be pointed out for ridicule later when the charges and the so-called evidence turn out to be fabricated. I was having an aluminum tube flashback just reading the story.

But here's where the demonstration goes from piss-poor to downright pathetic:

"The analyst's exact title and full name were not revealed to reporters." [emphasis added]
Not only would these guys not go on the record, but the so-called analyst wouldn't even give his last name. No one from the CIA, the Director of National Intelligence or the State Department would take part in the presentation. And this was all after Stephen Hadley had to water down the presentation because it was already filled with unreliable information.

People are running away from this thing in a full-speed sprint. So, two questions arise. Why are people so desperate not to be associated with this presentation? And why is the government so desperate to put it on despite the fact that they have nearly nothing?

Because the new war against Iran - and the new offensive against the Mahdi Army - must be hyped. And no one wants to take the blame afterward.

So, let's get to the so-called evidence. We were promised that there would be proof that linked these weapons to the upper echelons of the Iranian government. What did we get on that front? Bupkis!

"The officials offered no evidence to substantiate allegations that the 'highest levels' of the Iranian government had sanctioned support for attacks against U.S. troops." [emphasis added]Not a little evidence. Not even Colin Powell at the UN kind of evidence. No evidence.

Then the officials made the highly dubious claim that 170 US troops have been killed by these so-called Iranian weapons. Really? They CSI'ed the scene of all the troop deaths and found forensic evidence linking these weapons to exactly 170 deaths. I call bullshit.

During the demonstration they talked at length about these cylindrical pipes that shoot molten hot balls of copper through the armor of US vehicles. In all of the gruesome stories of our men and women dying in Iraq, I have never heard of this weapon before or any deaths being attributed to it.

In the real news, I hear a lot about IEDs. They were nowhere to been seen in this presentation because we all know that Sunnis plant the IEDs and the Iranians would never arm the Sunnis in Iraq. So, all of a sudden, we have another new weapon we never heard of before - EFP. Voila!
Guess who's supposed be bringing in the EFPs? Why Iran, of course. Really? Can these brilliant, anonymous defense analysts tell us who fire these EFPs and for what purpose?

They gave a lot of generic blame to the Mahdi Army because that is who we are going to attack next in Iraq. But are they saying the Mahdi Army is now engaging in combat against US troops? Because that would be news to everybody. Right now, it is believed that they are fighting - and often times brutally killing - Sunnis. But I haven't read anything about the Mahdi Army attacking coalition forces. Can this explosive new charge be proven in anyway? Have there been any of their fighters captured in the battlefield?

So many charges, so little evidence.

Now, there was some convincing evidence that the Badr Brigade has been armed by the Iranians, but that was quickly glossed over because their backers are the main political party in the Iraqi government - and our allies. But in the whole presentation, that was the only case where someone actually admitted they got weapons from Iran. But their leader is Abdul Aziz al-Hakim, who just visited the White House in December. That's politically embarrassing. So, on to the next slide.

Speaking of embarrassing, here's one of my favorite parts. No one was allowed to take pictures of any of the so-called evidence, videotape anything or in any way record and confirm any of the evidence that was shown to them in that room.

Come on, how is that not comical? It sounds like a bad magician's act. The kind where it starts to get awkward because you feel so bad for the man up on stage. You just wish it was over.
Even Iraq's deputy foreign minister was left unconvinced. He added, "It is difficult for us here in the diplomatic circles just to accept whatever the American forces say is evidence ... If they have anything really conclusive, then they should come out and say it openly." Ouch.

Look, are some of the weapons inside Iraq made in Iran? Probably. Is it a significant amount? There's no way of knowing and no real evidence was presented on this. Has it actually harmed any of our troops? There was very shoddy and unconvincing evidence on this.

Are the weapons sent and authorized by the Iranian government? There is absolutely no evidence of this. Finally, who really has the weapons and what do they use it for? Likely our allies in the Badr Brigade, and maybe the Mahdi Army (but they are far more nationalist and less likely to cooperate with Iran). And they largely use it against the Sunnis, not us.

The administration is trying to build a case against Iran based on this crap? Please. It's getting awkward watching them squirm on stage. It's a good thing they're doing this dog and pony show with bags over their head. I don't even want to know who they are.

The Young Turks

Sunday, February 11, 2007

General Odom

TPM

OK, class. Today's homework assignment is reading Gen. William Odom's op-ed in the Washington Post. I've highlighted Odom's analysis in the past, and he remains possibly the most cogent observer of the Iraq disaster.

-- David Kurtz

Saturday, February 10, 2007

more on feith lies and adminsitration deception

from Andrew Sullivan

Representative Walter Jones (R- NC)

Colonel Lawrence Wilkerson (Chief of staff to former Secretary of State Colin Powell 2001-2005)

Wayne White (former State Department Principal Iraq Analyst 2003-2005)

Paul Pillar (former CIA Iraq Intelligence 2000-2005)


Friday, February 09, 2007

Crooks and Liars » O’Reilly cancelled from speaking at Missing Kids

Crooks and Liars » O’Reilly cancelled from speaking at Missing Kids:



I guess our perseverance paid off. I wrote*:

I challenge the National Center for Missing Kids to make O'Reilly apologize to Shawn before he speaks at an event for them being held in Naples, Fl. I've called their branch and I'm waiting for a comment, but I doubt they even know about O'Reilly's behavior.

Olbermann also talked about this…..I was looking for an apology on O'Reilly's part, but the NCMEC took it upon themselves to cancel him from appearing:

In response to the numerous e-mails and inquiries we have received, we are providing the following update regarding the Collier County, Florida branch fundraising dinner scheduled for March 9, 2007 in Naples, Florida. Bill O’Reilly, host of The O’Reilly Factor, will not be a speaker at the dinner. The dinner will be held as scheduled. John Walsh, host of America’s Most Wanted, will be the keynote speaker.

We would like to thank everyone for their comments and e-mails.

I have a call in to verify this web posting, (it's verified) but it looks like C&Lers helped to make them aware of Bill's outrageous behavior….(h/t Doren)

*[I posted this outrageous video of O'Reilly blaming Shawn Hornbeck for not escaping Michael Devlin (He liked Devlin.) when he had the chance. (fun and games…rough transcript)

O"Reilly: I'm not buying this….If you have a strong bond with your family…even if the guy threatens you–this and that. You're riding your bike around, you got friends. The kid didn't go to school. There's all kinds of stuff. If you can get away, you get away Alright, if you're eleven."

I challenge the National Center for Missing Kids to make O'Reilly apologize to Shawn before he speaks at an event for them being held in Naples, Fl. I've called their branch and I'm waiting for a comment, but I doubt they even know about O'Reilly's behavior. ]

not something we don't already know, but...

Washington Post article via HuffPo

[Update: see Wolf Blitzer grilling Feith, linked from C&L]

Intelligence provided by former undersecretary of defense Douglas J. Feith to buttress the White House case for invading Iraq included "reporting of dubious quality or reliability" that supported the political views of senior administration officials rather than the conclusions of the intelligence community, according to a report by the Pentagon's inspector general.

Feith's office "was predisposed to finding a significant relationship between Iraq and al Qaeda," according to portions of the report, released yesterday by Sen. Carl M. Levin (D-Mich.). The inspector general described Feith's activities as "an alternative intelligence assessment process."

An unclassified summary of the full document is scheduled for release today in a hearing of the Senate Armed Services Committee, which Levin chairs. In that summary, a copy of which was obtained from another source by The Washington Post, the inspector general concluded that Feith's assessment in 2002 that Iraq and al-Qaeda had a "mature symbiotic relationship" was not fully supported by available intelligence but was nonetheless used by policymakers.

At the time of Feith's reporting, the CIA had concluded only that there was an "evolving" association, "based on sources of varying reliability."

In a telephone interview yesterday, Feith emphasized the inspector general's conclusion that his actions, described in the report as "inappropriate," were not unlawful. "This was not 'alternative intelligence assessment,' " he said. "It was from the start a criticism of the consensus of the intelligence community, and in presenting it I was not endorsing its substance."

Feith, who was defense policy chief before leaving the government in 2005, was one of the key contributors to the administration's rationale for war. His intelligence activities, authorized by then-Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld and his deputy, Paul D. Wolfowitz, and coordinated with Vice President Cheney's office, stemmed from an administration belief that the CIA was underplaying evidence of then-Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein's ties with al-Qaeda.

In interviews with Pentagon investigators, the summary document said, Feith insisted that his activities did not constitute intelligence and that "even if they were, [they] would be appropriate given that they were responding to direction from the Deputy Secretary of Defense."

The report was requested in fall 2005 by Sen. Pat Roberts (R-Kan.), then chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence. Although the committee and a number of official inquiries had criticized the administration's prewar intelligence, Democratic senators, led by Levin, demanded further investigation of Feith's operation.

"The bottom line is that intelligence relating to the Iraq-al-Qaeda relationship was manipulated by high-ranking officials in the Department of Defense to support the administration's decision to invade Iraq," Levin said yesterday. "The inspector general's report is a devastating condemnation of inappropriate activities in the DOD policy office that helped take this nation to war."

The summary document confirmed a range of accusations that Levin had leveled against Feith's office, alleging inaccurate work.

Feith's office, it said, drew on "both reliable and unreliable" intelligence reports in 2002 to produce a link between al-Qaeda and Iraq "that was much stronger than that assessed by the IC [Intelligence Community] and more in accord with the policy views of senior officials in the Administration."

It stated that the office produced intelligence assessments "inconsistent" with the U.S. intelligence community consensus, calling those actions "inappropriate" because the assessments purported to be "intelligence products" but were far more conclusive than the consensus view.

In particular, the summary cited the defense policy office's preparation of slides describing as a "known contact" an alleged 2001 meeting in Prague between Mohamed Atta, the leader of the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center, and an Iraqi intelligence officer.

That claim figured heavily in statements by Cheney and other senior administration officials alleging a link between al-Qaeda and the Iraqi regime, but it has since been discredited.

Three versions of the briefing prepared by Feith's office were presented in August and September 2002 -- months before the U.S. invasion of Iraq -- to I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, then Cheney's chief of staff; Rumsfeld; and then-deputy national security adviser Stephen J. Hadley, the summary states.

But only "some of the information" in those briefings was "supported by available intelligence," the summary said. The version of the briefing presented to senior Bush officials, it said, contained different information than a presentation to the CIA. Left out of the version for the CIA, the inspector general said, was "a slide that said there were 'fundamental problems' " with the way the intelligence community was presenting the evidence.

While Pentagon officials said in responses cited in the summary that no senior policymakers mistook these briefings as "intelligence assessments," the inspector general said that administration officials had indeed cited classified intelligence that allegedly documented a close al-Qaeda-Iraq relationship.

The policy office, the summary stated, "was inappropriately performing Intelligence Activities . . ...that should be performed by the Intelligence Community."

The summary recommended no action within the Defense Department because, it said, the current collaboration under new leadership at the Pentagon and the intelligence community "will significantly reduce the opportunity for the inappropriate conduct of intelligence activities outside intelligence channels."

Thursday, February 08, 2007

The Blog | Christy Hardin Smith: Libby Trial: The Trouble With Mary | The Huffington Post

The Blog Christy Hardin Smith: Libby Trial: The Trouble With Mary The Huffington Post

...Here is [Mary] Matalin back on November 21, 2005 -- just after the Libby indictment, in one of her many shill circuit bookings -- again attempting to use the Imus Show to pedal her wares lies:

MATALIN: What's the crime here? Everybody in town knew that, and who outed her was her husband -- "my wife, the CIA wife" and all this stuff. No crime, big gossip, politics, he's attacking us, we're answering him, and somehow people are in jail and a guy's career is ruined. Does that make sense to you?

Yep, there she is with the talking point du jour. Except what she and Victoria Toensing and Joe DiGenova (the Boris and Natasha of GOP legal shills) and all the other Cheney apologists out there didn't count on was that the Libby trial would spill out so many of their magic media manipulation beans...right out into the public's view. Because (and not to toot our own little FDL horn or anything, but this is truly what we've been hoping for with our long-standing coverage on this case), people don't have to get their news only via a media filter any longer.

This trial is being immediately summarized and blogged for all the world to read -- right here.

And, in real time, we've all gotten to learn from former WH and VP press secretaries just what outlets are friendly (read: those media outlets that allowed us to prattle on and didn't ask us anything uncomfortable but merely acted as our own personal steno pool), and what ones were considered hostile (read: those media folks who asked questions and had the nerve to expect answers). We've learned that Vice President Cheney likes to send out his minions with handwritten talking points to use with the press (read: such as those one might find atop a certain op-ed piece). [it's not there, it's here...gb]

And, this week in particular, we've learned that Mary Matalin's friendship with Tim Russert extended about as far as it needed to in order for him to be useful to her.

Ouch.

Eric Boehlert has an extraordinarily well done piece at Media Matters on the long-term effects of the Libby trial on lifting the curtain from the intertwined and incestuous Beltway access game between politicians and the reporters who cover them. From Eric's piece:

...So as the facts of the White House cover-up now tumble out into open court, it's important to remember that if it hadn't been for Fitzgerald's work, there's little doubt the Plame story would have simply faded into oblivion like so many other disturbing suggestions of Bush administration misdeeds. And it would have faded away because lots of high-profile journalists at The New York Times, The Washington Post, Time, and NBC wanted it to.

In a sense, it was Watergate in reverse. Instead of digging for the truth, lots of journalists tried to bury it. The sad fact remains the press was deeply involved in the cover-up, as journalists reported White House denials regarding the Plame leak despite the fact scores of them received the leak and knew the White House was spreading rampant misinformation about an unfolding criminal case.

And that's why the Plame investigation then, and the Libby perjury trial now, so perfectly capture what went wrong with the timorous press corps during the Bush years as it routinely walked away from its responsibility of holding people in power accountable and ferreting out the facts....

Regardless of the outcome from the Libby perjury case, the trial itself will be remembered for pulling back the curtain on the Bush White House as it frantically tried to cover up its intentional effort to mislead the nation to war. Sadly, the trial will also serve as a touchstone for how the Beltway press corps completely lost its way during the Bush years and became afraid of the facts -- and the consequences of reporting them.

In so many ways, Mary Matalin stands as a cautionary tale to the very media folks that she has, for so long, sought to manipulate into printing her bidding. Arianna summed up Matalin's credibility gap months ago, during Matalin's disastrous appearance on Meet the Press just after Vice President Cheney shot his hunting companion in the face, with this concise description:
But the segment began with Tim basically giving Mary the first third to lay out her side of the story. It was bad enough to just have an administration mouthpiece on to regurgitate talking points, but why not allow -- in old Meet the Press fashion -- the journalists to question her? Maybe Mary demanded some solo time, but, if so, it didn't serve her boss well.

The impact of her appearance was to make the whole story seem even less under control than having a beer and shooting your friend in the face. As for what she said, there were so many intelligence-insulting lies and half-truths it's hard to know where to start.

And there it is in a nutshell -- not just about Mary Matalin, but also about so many people connected to Vice President Cheney and the Bush Administration. Arianna got it exactly right: so many intelligence-insulting lies and half-truths it's hard to know where to start. The trouble with Mary is that she's told so many of these whoppers that she no longer knows where they start and end -- so much so that she had to call back into the Imus show this morning to correct her earlier unscheduled, phoned-in correction of what she says she said or meant to say or may have said to Scooter, but maybe not.

Petard. Meet hoist.

UPDATE: Bless Duncan. He's got the transcript for the call-back up. And it's a doozy. Here's a taste:

You can't twist our words or mischaracterize our conversation. You said to Kelly just now that I essentially deny this. So let me be clear, crystal clear.

If Scooter wrote it down, then I said it.

I don't remember saying it. I was trying to explain to you what it could have meant. What it does not mean is that Tim literally hates Chris.

But if Scooter wrote it down, then I said it.

So don't say I deny it, or don't characterize it in any way.

If Scooter wrote it down, then I said it....

Ummm....as Duncan asks, can you tell what her talking point was for the call back? Can you say "questioning Scooter Libby's credibility during his criminal trial was not smart"? I can. I can also say "someone placed a call to Mary and asked for an immediate correction on the record." Any guesses on who that might have been? (Hi, Babs.) (H/T to CityGirl.)

The fine folks at Crooks and Liars have the clip up of Matalin's performance on Imus. Do take a peek.

Fair Shake Doctrine

Bloggers, pointing to the sum of their writings, staring down the noise machine. The body of work is easily accessible to anybody. The burden of responsibility for pertinent information is shifting. Has shifted?

Anyone comfortable with the historical record can increasingly rest on the record. It is less and less necessary to do anything more affirmative than link to the record. There is less and less need to scramble to reconstitute pertinent portions of the record to rebut unfounded opinion.

The record (certainly in the case of issues surrounding bloggers' writings) is constituted and readily available to anyone with internet access -- timestamped, tagged, archived. And burgeoning. And linked across time and topic. Able to withstand the slings and arrows of disingenuous rhetorical diversionary tactics that seek to avoid discussion on the merits in one way or another.

oOo

This rant inspired by:

TPM Café
By Greg Sargent bio

The Edwards campaign just released statements from Edwards and the two bloggers in the thick of the controversy, and it looks as if the two won't be fired.

The statement says Edwards was "personally offended" by their writings, but that he also believes in "giving everyone a fair shake" and that he's "talked" to the bloggers, that they've assured him "that it was never their intention to malign anyone's faith," and that he takes them "at their word." The statement doesn't directly address the firing question, but it appears that they're going to be okay. The statements follow.

Senator John Edwards:
The tone and the sentiment of some of Amanda Marcotte's and Melissa McEwen's posts personally offended me. It's not how I talk to people, and it's not how I expect the people who work for me to talk to people. Everyone is entitled to their opinion, but that kind of intolerant language will not be permitted from anyone on my campaign, whether it's intended as satire, humor, or anything else. But I also believe in giving everyone a fair shake. I've talked to Amanda and Melissa; they have both assured me that it was never their intention to malign anyone's faith, and I take them at their word. We're beginning a great debate about the future of our country, and we can't let it be hijacked. It will take discipline, focus, and courage to build the America we believe in.

Blogger Amanda Marcotte:
My writings on my personal blog, Pandagon on the issue of religion are generally satirical in nature and always intended strictly as a criticism of public policies and politics. My intention is never to offend anyone for his or her personal beliefs, and I am sorry if anyone was personally offended by writings meant only as criticisms of public politics. Freedom of religion and freedom of expression are central rights, and the sum of my personal writings is a testament to this fact.

Blogger Melissa McEwen:
Shakespeare's Sister is my personal blog, and I certainly don't expect Senator Edwards to agree with everything I've posted. We do, however, share many views - including an unwavering support of religious freedom and a deep respect for diverse beliefs. It has never been my intention to disparage people's individual faith, and I'm sorry if my words were taken in that way.

Monday, February 05, 2007

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Dick Armey Regrets

Talking Points Memo
David Kurtz
February 4, 2007 10:59 AM

Former House Majority Leader Dick Armey (R-TX) regrets voting for the Iraq War resolution in 2002:
The resolution was a resolution that authorized the president to take that action if he deemed it necessary. Had I been more true to myself and the principles I believed in at the time, I would have openly opposed the whole adventure vocally and aggressively. I had a tough time reconciling doing that against the duties of majority leader in the House. I would have served myself and my party and my country better, though, had I done so.
I think that's farther than Sen. Clinton has been willing to go.

Friday, February 02, 2007

Smart Mobs: French sticks

Smart Mobs: French sticks:

"'French authorities will give out 175,000 USB memory sticks loaded with open-source software to Parisian high-school students at the start of the next school year,'yahoo news reports.'The sticks will give the students, aged 15 and 16, the freedom to access their e-mail, browser bookmarks and other documents on computers at school, home, a friend's house or in an Internet café -- but at a much lower cost than providing notebook computers for all, a spokesman for the Greater Paris Regional Council said Friday.It's a way to reduce the digital divide, said spokesman Jean-Baptiste Roger.The sticks will probably contain the Firefox 2 Web browser, Thunderbird e-mail client, an office productivity suite such as OpenOffice.org 2, an audio and video player, and software for instant messaging, he said'."