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Posts from the ‘Scooter Libby’ Category

Kool Kids Media Club

JOHN TULLY

Saturday, July 24 2004

THE LOS ANGELES SUN

………………………………….

Amazing that the two-year old Sandy Berger investigation leak came out two days before the (now all-but-forgotten, complete stonewalling every step along the way by this administration) 9/11 report would be released…

David Brooks was just salivating the other night about how this five hundred page report is such a great symbol of blah blah blah…A beacon, if you will, of light, in an otherwise dark period of time, in this great nation or somesuch trite.

Get a root canal now.

Hey this report would have come out earlier if the Bush Jr. administration hadn’t delayed, delayed, delayed.As usual, the media is now parroting each other this week in urging /warning/encouraging Kerry to not Bush-bash….I mean everyone in the cool- kids media club is squawking about it…Awesome!

The whole ” Who is the real John Kerry?” nonsense? The Dems. are going to listen and Kerry, who IS charismatic, will give a so-so mushy speech instead of what everyone, of either political party, is salivating to see to see in a politician: someone who lays it on the line and stands for something, anything.
Prolly won’t happen, Kerry will win anyway and it’s a good thing I don’t run campaigns.

I can’t for the life of me find a valid account of Sandy Berger stuffing his pockets/pants with secrets, etc. etc. Ah, and there’s the rub these days in the Cool Kids Media Club. I tried hard; I love a good research hunt and spent some coin calling D.C. but I’m new in the media game so I don’t have many contacts yet. Nothing, nada, zilch, and rumor becomes fact.

Robert Novak saying that everyone knew Valerie Plame was undercover?
He’s still saying this and seems more confident now that the second round of the “Smear Ambassador Wilson Patrol” is out and about.

He’s going to swallow
his wet teeth one of these days.

Jack Cafferty isn’t dead and was on CNN Monday morning grumbling about….
you guessed it, Berger stuffing things into his… socks er…jacket,er….pants… ….and the boys on Imus were snickering like seventh graders about that SPY stealing secrets in his underwear…

©2004 THE LOS ANGELES SUN

We are the most powerful nation in the world. There is no excuse, only corruption.

We are the most powerful nation in the world. There is no excuse, only corruption.

Americans Heart Torture

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Do You Remember? David Shuster, Tucker Carlson and Pat Buchanan on Scooter Libby

The Curious Case of Scooter Libby

Dick Cheney is a man of principles. Disastrous principles

VICE GRIP

THE WASHINGTON MONTHLY :: FEB/MARCH 2003

JOSHUA MICAH MARSHALL

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Early last December, Vice President Dick Cheney was dispatched to inform his old friend, Treasury Secretary Paul O’Neill, that he was being let go. O’Neill, the president’s advisers felt, had made too many missteps, given too much bad advice, uttered too many gaffes. He had become a liability to the administration. As Cheney himself once said in a different context, it was time for him to go. It couldn’t have been a fun conversation–especially since it was Cheney who had picked O’Neill two years earlier.
O’Neill stormed off to Pittsburgh and within days the White House had announced his replacement. Yet the new treasury secretary nominee turned out not to be much of an improvement. Like O’Neill, John Snow was a veteran of the Ford administration who ran an old-economy titan (the railroad firm CSX) and seemed to lack the global market financial experience demanded of modern day treasury secretaries. Like other Bush appointees, Snow came from a business that traded heavily on the Washington influence game. And–again typical of the president and his men–the size of Snow’s compensation package seemed inversely proportional to the returns he made for his shareholders. Of the three new members of the president’s economic team nominated in early December, Snow was the only one to get almost universally poor reviews. He was also Dick Cheney’s pick.

Week after week, one need only read the front page of The Washington Post to find similar Cheney lapses. Indeed, just a few days after Cheney hand-picked Snow, Newsweek magazine featured a glowing profile of National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice that began with an anecdote detailing her deft efforts to clean up another Cheney mess. In a July speech, the vice president had argued that weapons inspections in Iraq were useless and shouldn’t even be tried. That speech nearly upended the administration’s careful late-summer repositioning in favor of a new United Nations-backed inspections program. As the article explained, Rice–the relatively junior member of the president’s inner circle of foreign policy advisers–had to take the vice president aside and walk him through how to repair the damage he’d done, with a new statement implicitly retracting his earlier gaffe. Such mistakes–on energy policy, homeland security, corporate reform–abound. Indeed, on almost any issue, it’s usually a sure bet that if Cheney has lined up on one side, the opposite course will turn out to be the wiser.

Yet somehow, in Washington’s collective mind, Cheney’s numerous stumbles and missteps have not displaced the reputation he enjoys as a sober, reliable, skilled inside player. Even the Newsweek article, so eager to convey Rice’s competence, seemed never to explicitly note the obvious subtext: Cheney’s evident incompetence. If there were any justice or logic in this administration as to who should or shouldn’t keep their job, there’d be another high-ranking official in line for one of those awkward conversations: Dick Cheney.

Overruling Dick

Consider the evidence. Last year, Cheney’s White House energy task force produced an all-drilling-and-no-conservation plan that failed not just on policy grounds but as a political matter as well, saddling the administration with a year-long public relations headache after Cheney insisted on running his outfit with a near-Nixonian level of secrecy. (To this day, Cheney and his aides have refused to provide the names of most of those industry executives who “advised” him on the task force’s recommendations, though a federal judge has now rejected the Government Accounting Office’s effort to make them do so.) During the spring of 2001, rather than back congressional efforts to implement the findings of the Hart-Rudman commission that called for forceful action to combat terrorism (including the creation of a department of homeland security), Cheney opted to spearhead his own group–not because he disagreed with the commission’s proposals, but to put the administration’s stamp on whatever anti-terrorism reforms did get adopted. Cheney’s security task force did nothing for four months, lurching into action only after terrorists actually attacked America on September 11. In the months that followed, Cheney was one of several key advisers arguing that the White House should keep Tom Ridge’s Office of Homeland Security within the White House rather than upgrade it to a cabinet department and thus open it to congressional scrutiny. Cheney’s obstinacy ensured that the administration’s efforts were stuck in neutral for nearly eight months.

Cheney has not fared much better in the diplomatic arena. Last March, he went on a tour of Middle Eastern capitals to line up America’s allies for our war against Saddam. He returned a week later with the Arabs lining up behind Saddam and against us–a major embarrassment for the White House. Much of the success of the administration’s Iraq policy came only after it abandoned the strategy of unilateral action against Saddam, the strategy Cheney championed, to one of supporting a U.N. inspections regime–a necessary and successful course correction that Cheney resisted and almost halted. Indeed, broadly speaking, the evolution of White House Iraq policy might be described fairly as a slow process of overruling Dick Cheney.

And there’s more. Remember those corporate scandals that came close to crippling Bush? Last summer, White House advisers were pondering whether to back the sort of tough corporate accountability measures that Democrats and the press were demanding. The president was scheduled to deliver a big speech on Wall Street in early July. His advisers were divided. Some argued that strong reforms were at the least a political necessity. But Cheney, along with National Economic Council chair Larry Lindsey, opposed the idea, arguing that new restrictions on corporations would further weaken the economy. The president took Cheney’s advice, and gave a speech on Wall Street that recommended only mild and unspecific reforms. “He mentioned a lot of things in the speech that the Securities and Exchange Commission already does,” one non-plussed Wall Streeter told The Washington Post with a yawn. The day after the president’s speech, the Dow shed 282 points, the biggest single-day drop since the post-terrorist tailspin of Sept. 20. Within days the president was backpedaling and supporting what Cheney had said he shouldn’t. Lindsey got the boot later in the year. Cheney is still in the West Wing shaping economic policy.

Cartel Capitalists

Much of the reason Cheney so often calls things wrong–even on those business issues that would seem his area of expertise–can be traced to the culture in which he’s spent most of his professional life. Despite his CEO credentials and government experience, Dick Cheney has been surprisingly insulated from the political and financial marketplace. He began his career as a Nixon-administration functionary under Donald Rumsfeld. Later, he joined the Ford administration as a deputy assistant to the president before becoming White House chief of staff. From there he moved into elective office, but to the ultra-safe House seat from Wyoming, a post only slightly less shielded from the tides of American politics than were his posts in the Ford administration.

Cheney resigned his House seat in 1989 and moved back to the executive branch where he belonged, serving–with distinction–as defense secretary under the first President Bush. From there he moved to the corporate suite at Halliburton, where he eventually earned tens of millions of dollars. But Halliburton is a peculiar kind of enterprise. It doesn’t market shoes or design software. Rather, its business–providing various products and services to the oil industry and the military–is based on securing lucrative contracts and concessions from a handful of big customers, primarily energy companies and the U.S. and foreign governments. Success in that business comes not by understanding and meeting the demands of millions of finicky customers, but by cementing relationships with and winning the support of a handful of powerful decision-makers.

Indeed, that’s why Halliburton came to Cheney in the first place. His ties with the Bush family, his post-Gulf War friendships with Arab emirs, and the Rolodex he’d compiled from a quarter century in Washington made him a perfect rainmaker. And though he did rather poorly on the management side–he shepherded Halliburton’s disastrous merger with Dresser Industries, which saddled the new company with massive asbestos liabilities–he handled the schmoozing part of the enterprise well.

Cheney is conservative, of course, but beneath his conservatism is something more important: a mindset rooted in his peculiar corporate-Washington-insider class. It is a world of men–very few women–who have been at the apex of both business and government, and who feel that they are unique in their mastery of both. Consequently, they have an extreme assurance in their own judgment about what is best for the country and how to achieve it. They see themselves as men of action. But their style of action is shaped by the government bureaucracies and cartel-like industries in which they have operated. In these institutions, a handful of top officials make the plans, and then the plans are carried out. Ba-da-bing. Ba-da-boom.

In such a framework all information is controlled tightly by the principals, who have “maximum flexibility” to carry out the plan. Because success is measured by securing the deal rather than by, say, pleasing millions of customers, there’s no need to open up the decision-making process. To do so, in fact, is seen as governing by committee. If there are other groups (shareholders, voters, congressional committees) who agree with you, fine, you use them. But anyone who doesn’t agree gets ignored or, if need be, crushed. Muscle it through and when the results are in, people will realize we were right is the underlying attitude.

The danger of this mindset is obvious. No single group of people has a monopoly on the truth. Whether it be plumbers, homemakers, or lobbyist bureaucrats, any group will inevitably see the world through its own narrow, mostly self-interested, prism. But few groups are so accustomed to self-dealing and self-aggrandizement as the cartel-capitalist class. And few are more used to equating their own self-interest with the interests of the country as a whole.

Not since the Whiz Kids of the Kennedy-Johnson years has Washington been led by men of such insular self-assurance. Their hierarchical, old economy style of management couldn’t be more different from the loose, non-hierarchical style of, say, high-tech corpor-ations or the Clinton White House, with all their open debate, concern with the interests of “stake-holders,” manic focus on pleasing customers (or voters), and constant reassessment of plans and principles. The latter style, while often sloppy and seemingly juvenile, tends to produce pretty smart policy. The former style, while appearing so adult and competent, often produces stupid policy.

Over time, people in the White House have certainly had to deal with enough examples of Cheney’s poor judgment. It’s fallen to the White House’s political arm, led by the poll-conscious Karl Rove, to rein in or overrule him. Yet the vice president has apparently lost little stature within the White House. That may be because his get-it-done-and-ignore-the-nay-sayers attitude is one that others in the administration share. Cheney stands up for the cartel-capitalist principles they admire. He is right, in a sense, even when he’s wrong.

Why, though, has the press failed to grasp Cheney’s ineptitude? The answer seems to lie in the power of political assumptions. The historian of science Thomas Kuhn famously observed that scientific theories or “paradigms”–Newtonian physics, for instance–could accommodate vast amounts of contradictory evidence while still maintaining a grip on intelligent people’s minds. Such theories tend to give way not incrementally, as new and conflicting data slowly accumulates, but in sudden crashes, when a better theory comes along that explains the anomalous facts. Washington conventional wisdom works in a similar way. It doesn’t take long for a given politician to get pegged with his or her own brief story line. And those facts and stories that get attention tend to be those that conform to the established narrative. In much the same way, Cheney’s reputation as the steady hand at the helm of the Bush administration–the CEO to Bush’s chairman–is so potent as to blind Beltway commentators to the examples of vice presidential incompetence accumulating, literally, under their noses. Though far less egregious, Cheney’s bad judgment is akin to Trent Lott’s ugly history on race: Everyone sort of knew it was there, only no one ever really took notice until it was pointed out in a way that was difficult to ignore. Cheney is lucky; as vice president, he can’t be fired. But his terrible judgment will, at some point, become impossible even for the Beltway crowd not to see.

Joshua Micah Marshall, author of the Talking Points Memo, is a Washington Monthly contributing writer.

The Crimes of George W. Bush [Video]

Bill Maher With Bob Woodward | Admiral Fallon: "What's The Strategy?" Bush:"They're Assholes

Online Poker, Fantasy Football, TMZ or a Reasonable Discussion of What Exactly Happened on 9/11?

I was alluding to the fact that people can spend hours investigating a succotash recipe or watch hours of mindless television or play video poker until the cows come home, eat and then go back

out but immediately scoff and mock a discussion of the worst attack on the U.S. in it’s history.

It’s disturbing.

Liberal architects investigating the World Trade Center Towers?

Please.

Judge Rules White House Aides Can Be Subpoenaed

August 1, 2008

WASHINGTON — President Bush’s top advisers must honor subpoenas issued by Congress, a federal judge ruled on Thursday in a case that involves the firings of several United States attorneys but has much wider constitutional implications for all three branches of government.

“The executive’s current claim of absolute immunity from compelled Congressional process for senior presidential aides is without any support in the case law,” Judge John D. Bates ruled in United States District Court here.

Unless overturned on appeal, a former White House counsel, Harriet E. Miers, and the current White House chief of staff, Joshua B. Bolten, would be required to cooperate with the House Judiciary Committee, which has been investigating the controversial dismissal of the federal prosecutors in 2006.

While the ruling is the first in which a court has agreed to enforce a Congressional subpoena against the White House, Judge Bates called his 93-page decision “very limited” and emphasized that he could see the possibility of the dispute being resolved through political negotiations. The White House is almost certain to appeal the ruling.

It was the latest setback for the Bush administration, which maintains that current and former White House aides are immune from congressional subpoena. On Wednesday, the House Judiciary Committee voted along party lines to recommend that Karl Rove, a former top political adviser to President Bush, be cited for contempt for ignoring a subpoena and not appearing at a hearing on political interference by the White House at the Justice Department.

Although Judge Bates did not specifically say so, his ruling, if sustained on appeal, might apply as well to Mr. Rove and his refusal to testify.

The House has already voted to hold Ms. Miers and Mr. Bolten in contempt for refusing to testify or to provide documents about the dismissals of the United States attorneys, which critics of the administration have suggested were driven by an improper mix of politics and decisions about who should, or should not, be prosecuted.

Judge Bates, who was appointed to the bench by President Bush in 2001, said Ms. Miers cannot simply ignore a subpoena to appear but must state her refusal in person. Moreover, he ruled, both she and Mr. Bolten must provide all non-privileged documents related to the dismissals.

Ms. Miers and Mr. Bolten, citing legal advice from the White House, have refused for months to comply with Congressional subpoenas. The White House has repeatedly invoked executive privilege, the doctrine that allows the advice that a president gets from his close advisers to remain confidential.

In essence, Judges Bates held that whatever immunity from Congressional subpoenas that executive branch officials might enjoy, it is not “absolute.” And in any event, he said, it is up to the courts, not the executive branch, to determine the scope of its immunity in particular cases.

“We are reviewing the decision,” Emily Lawrimore, a White House spokeswoman, said. Before the decision was handed down, several lawyers said it would almost surely be appealed, no matter which way it turned, because of its importance.

Democrats in Congress issued statements in which they were quick to claim victory in the struggle with the administration over the dismissals of the federal prosecutors and other occurences in the Justice Department, and that they looked forward to hearing from the appropriate White House officials.

“I have long pointed out that this administration’s claims of executive privilege and immunity, which White House officials have used to justify refusing to even show up when served with congressional subpoenas, are wrong,” said Senator Patrick J. Leahy, Democrat of Vermont who is chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Mr. Leahy’s House counterpart in the House had a similar reaction.

“Today’s landmark ruling is a ringing reaffirmation of the fundamental principle of checks and balances and the basic American idea that no person is above the law,” said Representative John D. Conyers, the Michigan Democrat who is chairman of the House Judiciary Committee.

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