Freeh's Interview with Wallace
I enjoyed former FBI director Louis Freeh's interview with Mike Wallace on 60 Minutes tonight. I don't know how much of what Freeh said is true, but I do enjoy seeing a major organ of the liberal media establishment giving in every once in a while to a meaningfully anti-Clinton point of view.
I hope we hear more about Clinton's conversation with Abdullah: did Clinton really hit him up for a donation to the Double-Wide Library Fund? Jeeze. And Clinton declined to go after the plotters of the Khobar Towers atrocity because he was trying to make nice with the mullahs in Iran? That deserves a lot more attention in the Big Media, I think.
My favorite statement from Freeh was that he refused to leave his job until it was no longer possible for Clinton to replace him. That's a remarkable judgement on Clinton's indifference to law enforcement in itself, don't you think?
Fisking Steve Soto Now Playing: "Cold As Ice" by Foreigner
Steve Soto is complaining that CBS News is so timid from the ass-beating they took last year over the infamous Killian Forgeries that they are now taking orders from the White House.
No. Really. Soto begins:
During the flap over Dan Rather’s botched “60 Minutes” story on Bush’s TANG service and the memos used in that story, I had focused my fire on the fact that the Mighty Wurlitzer had never disproved the content of the memos, but managed to kill the story by blasting the sloppiness of CBS News and the composition of the memos themselves. The issue that remained at the end of the day, after the left and the right boomed their fire and fury about the memos, was the issue of how poorly CBS News had performed in putting the story together in the first place.
Soto keeps calling the Killian Forgeries "memos," but they are not. They are forgeries. They are made-up bullshit that never existed as memos in any sense whatsoever.
And Soto persists with the absurdly Ratheresque claim that these phony documents ---which, again, he doesn't actually acknowledge are phony--- are accurate in their substance, even if ---mumble, mumble--- they are, uh, somehow ---mumble, mumble--- fake.
This wasn't about "sloppiness" or poor quality control ---and it still isn't incumbent upon the Bush White House to prove the negative.
Soto continues (all emphases mine):
That story has surfaced again, with tonight’s “60 Minutes” piece on former FBI Director Louis Freeh, wherein Freeh gets to tout his book and allege that Bill Clinton went easy on the Saudis when it came to going after Al Qaeda and those behind the 1996 Khobar Towers bombing in Saudi Arabia. Freeh goes so far as to claim that not only did Clinton let the Saudis off the hook, but he put the arm on them at the meeting for a contribution to his presidential library project.
What does Soto mean by saying that "that story has surfaced again"? What do the Killian Forgeries, Dan Rather, and Mary Mapes have to do with the new Freeh book?
Absolutely nothing. But Soto wants to tie them together, anyway, and hopes you don't recognize the illegitimacy of his efforts. He continues:
The issue of media accountability and evenhandedness came up at the end of last week when Howard Kurtz revealed that CBS News, still smarting from the whipping they got from the White House over the TANG memo disaster, had slanted the story so much that they refused to allow a rebuttal to Freeh’s charges in the piece unless it was the president himself who agreed to go on camera, something that “60 Minutes” has never required Bush to do.
I never found any evidence that Kurtz made such an explicit claim. Is Soto the one making the claim that CBS News will only accept Clinton's direct denials of Freeh's claims because of their bad experiences with the Rathergate debacle? That is pretty astounding, if true. Soto goes on:
With pressure building over the last several days for CBS News to provide a balanced piece tonight instead of a piece of GOP propaganda using a man who himself blocked John O’Neill from going after the Saudis, Kurtz reports that morning that “60 Minutes” will allow a rebuttal of sorts tonight in the piece through the addition of a statement from somewhat discredited Clinton national security advisor Sandy “I stuffed the papers in my pants” Berger that will contradict Freeh’s claims. Berger is the less-than-perfect choice for this assignment, and CBS News will probably point this out during the piece.
So, after all this bluster and nonsense, it turns out that CBS News is going to let someone speak on Clinton's behalf after all ---the only problem being that it's a convicted thief and liar who'll be doing it. Well, who's fault is that, Steve? Doesn't the fact that someone is coming on to defend Clinton make any difference?
But what is really troubling about this story, aside from the chutzpah of someone like Freeh accusing anyone else of going easy on the Saudis, is the agenda shown by CBS News in going after Clinton on this story, given that they were ready to air this story tonight without a rebuttal and without talking to anyone who was at the meeting in question. You see, CBS News was ready to air this story tonight on Freeh’s claims, when it turns out that Freeh himself wasn’t even at the meeting wherein he claims that Clinton asked the Saudis for a contribution and went easy on them regarding the Khobar Towers bombing.
But on whose authority are we accepting that fact? How do we know that Mike Wallace didn't make an effort to talk to those guys on camera? I mean, if there were so many witnesses who are so interested in defending Clinton's honor, why can't they come on camera and do so?
And worse yet, Mike Wallace was told that there were at least five people who attended the meeting who could dispute Freeh’s allegations, and he was also told that Freeh wasn’t even at the meeting himself. Yet Wallace, “60 Minutes”, and CBS News were ready to put the smear on Clinton tonight anyway.
What smear? Berger's on deck to say that Freeh's not telling the truth. And the other witnesses are free to come on any venue they want (maybe Madame Couric's program or Air America?) to deny the accusations. There's five of them, after all! And, unlike Jerry Killian, I'll bet they're all alive, too.
This is the kind of media treatment the GOP buys for itself by slapping around CBS News over the TANG disaster. It looks like Andrew Heyward, chief at CBS News, was quite ready to be the White House’s puppet, after getting a hall pass from them in the aftermath of the TANG mess. And had it not been for Kurtz’ piece in Friday’s Post, which was the first time the Clinton camp had even heard that CBS News was ready to run the smear without rebuttal, Heyward was all set to deliver exactly what the White House hoped from its investment.
As I already told Soto, I'm not going to even ask for any evidence that the White House has bought or obtained editorial control over CBS News because we both know it's bullshit, from floor to ceiling.
I've seen more responsible analysis on the walls of pub restrooms.
Not incidentally, here's the link to the Kurtz column from last Friday which Soto references. See if you find anything about the White House paying or pressuring CBS News with regard to this Freeh story.
A Tenth Circle of Hell
You may not have heard of it before, but there's a tenth circle of Hell for those who make snappy comebacks to something you've written based on a misconstruction of your grammar and/or spelling errors.
(Now, make me a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.
*Poof!* You're a peanut butter and jelly sandiwch.
We've discussed this before, but it's at least as fitting that Joe Wilson or David Corn or even someone in the CIA itself should be indicted for the very alleged outing of Valerie Plame as anyone in the White House.
After all, the CIA itself confirmed to Bob Novak and other reporters that Plame worked for the Company. And it was Wilson who fed background information to Corn ---which almost certainly included his wife's position--- in an effort to get their mutual propaganda ball rolling.
As I warned a few ninnies last night, if Rove is indicted, Joe and Valerie Rosenberg are going to get more attention than they ever dreamed of.
The BBC: A Confirmed Kill
With great thanks to Glenn Reynolds, go have a look at this fantastic post at Sir Humphrey's wherein the BBC are exposed as a bunch of goddamned liars and propagandists for the fashionably al-Qaedist amongst us.
There's no point in trying to explain this blow by blow. Just go and see how the anti-Western Left operates.
When the Stamp Is Unimpressed (v.2.0)
And what about this:
A day after Bush publicly beseeched skeptical supporters to trust his judgment on [White House counsel Harriet] Miers, a succession of prominent conservative leaders told his representatives that they did not. Over the course of several hours of sometimes testy exchanges, the dissenters complained that Miers was an unknown quantity with a thin r?sum? and that her selection -- Bush called her "the best person I could find" -- was a betrayal of years of struggle to move the court to the right.
At one point in the first of the two off-the-record sessions, according to several people in the room, White House adviser Ed Gillespie suggested that some of the unease about Miers "has a whiff of sexism and a whiff of elitism." Irate participants erupted and demanded that he take it back. Gillespie later said he did not mean to accuse anyone in the room but "was talking more broadly" about criticism of Miers.
Laugh if you must, but the saddest part of this is that a woman as accomplished as Harriet Miers should be thought of as unqualified for anything. I am sure she is a very disciplined, competent, and shrewd woman who deserves better than this. I just hate the way Bush has sold this. He and his allies are so tin-eared that they don't even recognize how foolish they sound in guaranteeing her conservative bona fides.
The Supreme Court is a curiously regarded part of our system of government. It is often reviled, but maybe just as often revered. It makes and breaks the greatest issues of our times. And it is not to be trifled with. That is a lesson learned by Andrew Jackson and Franklin Roosevelt and Lyndon Johnson. Bush the Younger, I believe, will learn this, too.
When the Stamp Is Unimpressed
I found this a curious story:
WASHINGTON — A prosecutor tried to persuade a grand jury that Rep. Tom DeLay tacitly approved illegal use of campaign money and became angry when jurors decided against an indictment, according to two people directly familiar with the proceeding.
"The mood was unpleasant," one person said Wednesday, describing Travis County prosecutor Ronnie Earle's reaction.
The people familiar with the proceeding insisted on anonymity because of grand jury secrecy.
I don't know. Does this mean that Earle will now be obligated to investigate the grand jury or his own office?
One person said the sole evidence Earle presented to the grand jury that declined to indict was a DeLay interview with the prosecutor in August. DeLay reportedly said he was generally aware of activities of his associates.
The person said Earle tried to convince the jurors that if DeLay "didn't say, 'Stop it,' he gave his tacit approval."
Oh, well. The Democrats never wanted DeLay like they want Karl Rove. Maybe they'll get their Christmas presents early this year. Some say tomorrow.
From the Archives of The Daily Texan: The Red River Shoot-Out to Relocate? Now Playing: originally published 11 August 1993
I was looking through the online archives of The Daily Texan for the following story and lucked out finding it. I won't vouch for the fidelity of the text to what was actually published because I see that there are a lot of mistakes in other columns of mine archived at the site linked above. (And, so, I have fixed a few typographical errors.)
Nevertheless, the following column has particular relevance to recent word that the University of Texas and Oklahoma University are possibly looking into rotating their annual showdown between Norman and Austin ---leaving Dallas and the Texas State Fair out of it all together.
My opinion of this has not changed:
Last week, the Daily Texan reported that a group from Oklahoma wishes to change the venue for the annual football classic between the universities of Texas and Oklahoma. The so-called Sooner Chamber of Commerce is attempting to have the game played in Austin and Norman alternately. But let's have none of that.
The reason this group wants to switch sites is so that the money spent in Dallas each year (estimated to be $15 million to $20 million) can be spent instead in each of our towns. But, to be frank, there's no way that that kind of revenue could be generated in Norman (and probably not here, either). Furthermore, I can think of entire countries with whom I would rather do battle over trade issues than the City of Dallas and its various chambers of commerce. If the proposed change were argued from a position of genuine viability, one might agree to it. But, Dallas ---with its hotel space, nightlife and familiarity with unruly mobs--- is the logical spot for such a big event. The "Battle on the Red River" is so firmly ensconced in Dallas that only a godless commie would try to move it. Not that we're talking about the removal of the papal seat from Rome to Avignon, but surely tradition holds some sway.
Our two universities have been meeting this way in Dallas since 1929. The fact that the Sooner Chamber of Commerce is in a recessionary mindset hardly justifies such a break with tradition. The curiously named director of the Chamber, Elmer "E.Z." Million, has suggested that "even if the Board of Regents doesn't support the proposition, the Legislature will mandate that the game go on a home-to-home basis." This sounds particularly meddlesome. If the controlling body of Oklahoma University wouldn't agree to the change, then what is Elmer up to? Surely he can find something else to take over the heads of OU's officials.
Part of what makes the "Texas-OU Weekend" so famous is that it inspires a pilgrimage of debauchery that draws the opposing schools and their fans into neutral territory: Dallas and the Cotton Bowl. It provides a chance for both schools to go on the road and have an inordinately good time. Indeed, for some, the game is just an excuse to get up to Dallas and be decadent. Besides, neither of our schools wants to be responsible for all the shenanigans and brouhahas that the other would inevitably engage in on our campuses. It is best that we leave that burden with the folks who know all about it.
Considering that Oklahoma has historically recruited such a disproportionate share of its athletes from this side of the border, it could at least show some gratitude by leaving well enough alone. By playing us each year in Dallas, Oklahoma is, in effect, paying homage to the wellspring of its talent.
Rather than throwing out a 64-year-old tradition, let's stand firm and insist that the game stay in Dallas. Maybe neither of our towns is benefiting from the dollars generated by the "Texas-OU Weekend" ---but that shouldn't be the deciding factor when it comes to sportsmanship and memories.
Yes, to answer your inevitable question, it is nauseating to read something you wrote in your early 20s. But I had been thinking about this column lately and wanted to share it with the class.
The Earle of (Ham) Sandwiches Now Playing: "Lost in the Supermarket" by the Clash
Contrary to what some people I argue with believe, I am not obligated to like or support Tom DeLay. But, however much of an asshole he is (and, oh, is he ever one), I think people who wish to be intellectually honest should question why the Travis County District Attorney Ronnie Earle is grand jury-shopping:
A Travis County grand jury last week refused to indict former U.S. House Majority Leader Tom DeLay as prosecutors raced to salvage their felony case against the Sugar Land Republican.
In a written statement Tuesday, Travis County District Attorney Ronnie Earle acknowledged that prosecutors presented their case to three grand juries — not just the two they had discussed — and one grand jury refused to indict DeLay. When questions arose about whether the state's conspiracy statute applied to the first indictment returned last Wednesday, prosecutors presented a new money-laundering charge to second grand jury on Friday because the term of the initial grand jury had expired.
Working on its last day Friday, the second grand jury refused to indict DeLay. Normally, a "no-bill" document is available at the courthouse after such a decision. No such document was released Tuesday.
Earle's statement on Tuesday said he took money-laundering and conspiracy charges to a third grand jury on Monday after prosecutors learned of new evidence over the weekend.
I think this case is going to collapse faster than me sitting down on a breakaway chair. What fucking flimsiness.
It's unclear whether those grand jurors refused to indict DeLay on money-laundering charges, a first-degree felony, because of the evidence or because it was given to them on the last day of their 90-day term.
Earle did not say in his statement what new evidence surfaced over the weekend. White, who said he doubts the evidence exists, challenged Earle to reveal it. Prosecutors also called [District Judge Mike] Lynch's grand jurors over the weekend to poll them on how they would have voted on money-laundering charges if they had been given the chance.
Then prosecutors tried again Monday with a new grand jury.
When Monday's grand jury, impaneled by District Judge Brenda Kennedy, a Democrat, reported for its first day, Earle was there to ask them to indict the second most powerful Texan in Washington.
About four hours later, the new felony indictments were returned.
Posted by Toby Petzold
at 8:40 PM CDT
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Updated: Wednesday, 5 October 2005 8:41 PM CDT
Slowly Shaking My Head Now Playing: "The Closer I Get to You" by Roberta Flack and Donny Hathaway
President Bush's nomination of Harriet Miers continues not only to baffle the hell out of me, but also to annoy me.
No matter what the causes or effects of this nomination are, we already know that Miers is neither a well-known Constitutional scholar nor a highly-regarded jurist. We have plenty of those of every color, gender, and ideological affiliation ---but she is not one of them.
Instead, she is someone whom the President knows and trusts very well. Which is important and necessary in its own context. But to say that she will approach her duties as a strict constructionist and that she is the best person for the job he could find and that we just have to get to know her to realize how able she would be on the Supreme Court of the United States is to say that her ass is the property of the man who puts her on that bench. And that is not judicial independence. That does not in any way meet the standard that we should expect of our highest court.
Okay, so a lot of our Justices over the centuries have not been judges first. Which, I will accept, is something that might give the Supreme Court a more ideologically diverse character than if it only consisted of graduates from the appellate cloisters. But this nomination smacks of cronyism in a very big way and I will not support it unless, somehow, Miss Miers just comes out and impresses the hell out of me.
So, for the first time in a long time, the confirmation hearings for a nominee to the Supreme Court of the United States will prove valuable. We should at least be glad of that.
Posted by Toby Petzold
at 6:17 PM CDT
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Updated: Wednesday, 5 October 2005 6:21 PM CDT
Monday, 3 October 2005
My take? I think it's a kind of cronyism at a time when cronyism is taking a beat-down. I also think it's an example of quotaism.
I have no idea who this woman is. That's my fault entirely, I realize, but come on. Bush has pussied out with this choice because he doesn't want to have to fight for it anymore. And what's he going to get in return for phoning it in like this? I wouldn't be a bit surprised if Miers is rejected.
A very lame move, sir.
Posted by Toby Petzold
at 8:02 PM CDT
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Updated: Monday, 3 October 2005 8:04 PM CDT
Sunday, 2 October 2005
Local Boys Make Good Copy
With a big tip of the hat to Kathryn Jean Lopez, have a look at the following excerpt from a story in today's Washington Post about our district attorney Ronnie Earle and one of the great icons from late 20th Century Texas, Bob Bullock:
AUSTIN -- Ronnie Earle, the Texas prosecutor vilified by Rep. Tom DeLay as a "rogue district attorney" and an "unabashed partisan zealot," has heard worse.
There was the time, for instance, that a prominent Texas Democrat vowed to murder him.
"He would hold all these press conferences and say terrible things about me," Earle said, referring to Bob Bullock, the future lieutenant governor whom Earle investigated for allegedly misusing government resources in the 1970s.
"I know at least twice people took guns away from him when he said he was going to kill me."
Earle, a Democrat, was laughing as he recounted the story in the Travis County district attorney's office last week. And like many sagas in Earle's career, the Bullock episode comes with a footnote.
Earle couldn't persuade the grand jury to indict Bullock, who was then the state's comptroller and struggling with a drinking problem. But years later, once Bullock had sobered up, the two men were recounting old times at Bullock's kitchen table.
"You know years ago when you investigated me?" Earle recalled Bullock telling him. "I was guilty as hell."
As even DeLay himself has had to explain recently, it doesn't tell you much about Earle's supposed non-partisanship that he's gone after more Democrats than Republicans in a state like Texas. The GOP didn't have much of a presence in this state's government until just this past generation. Thus, it's no surprise that Earle's pursuit of Democrats is more a matter of internecine politics intended to benefit ideological allies than it is a true indication of his [impartiality].
The Rules of Thumb Now Playing: "Damned If I Do" by the Alan Parsons Project
Although Charles Johnson says the punishment is "hopelessly naive," it doesn't make this any less funny. I mean sad:
MADRID -- An imam who wrote a book on how to beat your wife without leaving marks on her body has been ordered by a judge in Spain to study the country's constitution.
The judge told Mohamed Kamal Mustafa, imam of a mosque in the southern resort of Fuengirola, to spend six months studying three articles of the constitution and the universal declaration of human rights.
Mr. Mustafa was sentenced to 15 months in jail and fined about $2,600 last year after being found guilty of inciting violence against women.
A judge released him after 22 days in jail on the condition that he undertake a re-education course.
You might be asking yourself just now why you never hear about things like this in either Big Media or the liberal-Left blogosphere. It's confusing, isn't it? You have very clear and routine examples of Muslim brutality against women, but you never hear liberal women's groups in America condemn these practices. Why? Surely they've had enough time by now to regain some of their dignity after whoring themselves out for the sake of Bill Clinton. Why do they not take a stand as liberated women and defend women elsewhere in the world against physical violence?
Because George W. Bush is Satan.
Scratch that: liberal women's groups will never regain the dignity they lost when they unquestioningly defended Clinton's lies and extreme sexual misconduct on the job. They don't even try to stand up against wife-beating in the Muslim world because they're too busy hating on the Rethuglikkkans. Or maybe because they're out buying shoes.
Posted by Toby Petzold
at 11:32 PM CDT
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Updated: Friday, 30 September 2005 11:35 PM CDT
The Story behind Judy Miller's Release: Major League Horseshit
I don't know what the hell's going on with Judy Miller just yet, but let's get something straight: she could have avoided jail and sang her little heart out because Scooter Libby told her she could almost two years ago.
This crap that she and her lawyer are spewing about how she just didn't think the original waiver of confidentiality Libby had signed off on was legitimate is a total head fake.
It's all horseshit.
Something's going on here and I'm not nearly savvy enough to suss it out. But I am sure that there's some major league horseshit going down.
Lame Save, Dude Mood:
The thought is going around the blogosphere that California Congressman David Dreier may have lost out on a promotion to Acting House Majority Leader yesterday because of his sexual orientation. I don't know if that's true or not. I didn't even know his orientation was in question. (Then again, there was a long time there when I didn't know that Queen or Elton John or George Michael were gay ---if I even knew what being gay was--- so who knows?)
But what do I come across when I go looking for some spirited discussion at the large Leftist hang-out Eschaton? It's the proprietor of the place, asking in a post entitled "Sharks":
Of course, this is just the sort of standard-issue rhetorical irony that people resort to when they wish to have something both ways. I asked why this is acceptable of a liberal-Left ideologue such as Black. Why can he insinuate ---without any repercussions--- whatever he wishes to about a possibly gay Republican when it should be a principle of enlightenment and decency that a person's sexual identity not be an instrument with which to shame him?
Well, I rhetorize myself. The fact is that it's okay by Black to do this because he believes that there is more partisan value to be gained by slagging Dreier as a member of a supposedly homophobic party than by respecting the dignity of a decent man.
Oh, hey, Atrios. I was asking everybody earlier why they thought it was okay for you to poke fun at Dreier's sexual orientation. Do you enjoy special immunity or is the irony just too delicious to pass up?
I don't know if there's any connection to my unanswered question, but this morning, Black links to a post by Steve Clemons, self-importantly titling the link (and the accompanying excerpt) "Why It Matters."
Well, what is "it"?
Is "it" the question of why Dreier did not land the job?
Or is "it" the matter of Dreier's putative homosexuality itself?
Turns out, "it" is nauseating weaselness, for Clemons' post states the case in a way that Black very obviously could not bring himself to do (emphasis mine):
Dreier was blocked because he has a long-term, loving relationship with someone of the same sex. This has been documented on many fronts and is widely known by members of Dreier's own caucus. If the reality of this blocked Dreier's ascension, then the news has a duty not to keep this matter hidden.
I'm pleased by Tom DeLay's fall from grace. But I'm irritated by the main stream media's complicity in hiding the bigotry that runs unchecked through a significant quarter of the Republican party.
Yeah, okay. Clemons really [cares] about Dreier's personal life; Black just wants to perpetrate like he was only talking about some Republicans. What a joke.
Guess what, folks: you can go on all day about how it's the Republican Party that's really keeping gay marriage from happening, but if gay marriage were such a broadly popular idea, you wouldn't see so many big league Democrats avoiding the issue at all costs. The Clintons? Kerry? Edwards? I don't recall them fighting for gay marriage.
Time to quit lying to yourselves and the rest of us.