Wednesday, July 27, 2005

The Donald Lays the Smackdown on the UN

You probably missed this, but regardless of what you think of Donald Trump, you should listen to his testimony to the Senate International Security Subcommittee on the subject of loaning the UN money to refurbish their headquarters in New York City.

Long story short, the UN will waste a ton of money on this if they don't listen to Trump.

Money quote: "Congratulations. You've got yourself a mess on your hands."

Hat-tip: Radioblogger and Hugh

Friday, July 22, 2005

Walking and Chewing Gum is trying to keep the Karl Rove story front and center in the news, most likely after realizing they haven't got a prayer of defeating the John Roberts nomination.

Here's the latest email (my comments follow at the end of the post):

Dear MoveOn member,

Like a roller coaster, the news out of Washington this week has been an up and down ride. On Monday, the entire country was focused on Karl Rove's leak of the identity of an undercover CIA operative to the media. Then President Bush announced his nominee for the Supreme Court on primetime TV—nearly pushing the Rove story out of the news. The timing was intentional, a top Republican told Reuters: "It helps take Rove off the front pages for a week.”1 Monday, there were 1,043 news stories mentioning "Karl Rove" on top TV stations—yesterday there were 128.2

But last night, Bloomberg broke a major new part of the story: Rove’s explanation to the grand jury of how he learned Valerie Plame’s identity differs sharply from the explanations journalists gave.3 That could mean Rove lied to the grand jury—a felony. We need to make sure the media get back on the case. One easy way to do that is on the Letters-to-the-Editor page of newspapers. We've set up an online tool that makes submitting a letter easy. You write your letter, choose where you want it to go, and click to send. Will you write a letter to the editor? Click below to get started.

An effective letter-to-the-editor is short, just a couple of paragraphs. The goal is to show your local media, your neighbors, and even our elected leaders that people are upset about the Rove leak scandal.

Your letter will be very timely. Now, there are new revelations about a memo that made it clear to White House officials that CIA agent Valerie Plame's identity was a secret. The memo is evidence that there are probably multiple people involved in this CIA leak scandal.4

The Rove leak is scandalous because everybody agrees White House officials shouldn't blow the cover of our undercover CIA agents. An ABC News poll shows that a solid majority of Americans—some 75 percent—support firing Rove for what he did. This is true even among 71 percent of Republicans.5 But, so far, Republicans in Washington are ignoring the facts. It is important that the media hears that people are angry about the Rove leak so they keep reporting on developments in the case.

The outing of undercover CIA agent Valerie Plame is more outrageous because Karl Rove and the other White House leakers clearly had a political, not a patriotic, agenda. Ambassador Joe Wilson was refuting the bogus claims by the Bush administration about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. Revealing the undercover identity of Wilson’s CIA agent wife was an attempt to discredit Ambassador Wilson and silence critics of the Iraq war. The lies that Wilson exposed were central to the rationale for war the Bush administration sold the American people.

Your letter can send a signal to the media that people don't want officials in important government positions who put their political agenda ahead of their patriotism. We can insist on media coverage of the White House leak. Please write a letter today.

There is also good news from Congress—the Democrats are standing up and working hard to make sure there is accountability. Today, Senate and House Democrats will hold their own hearings on the national security implications of the leak. They’ll hear from former CIA agents including a former classmate of Valerie Plame. The hearings will be chaired by Senator Byron Dorgan and Congressman Henry Waxman.

Together, we pushed stories like the Downing Street Memos into the news. Let's jumpstart the Karl Rove story.

Thanks for all you do.

–Tom, Carrie, Wes, James and the Political Action Team
Friday, July 22nd, 2005

P.S. Our TV ad exposes the White House cover-up of Karl Rove's CIA leak. We beat our goal of $100,000—will you help us meet our new goal of $150,000 and keep the ads on another week?

For starters, I always appreciate footnotes, but I am not sure they really expect you to read the sources. Here's my issues with the footnotes:

Footnote 1: "The timing was intentional, a top Republican told Reuters: "It helps take Rove off the front pages for a week.”1 " The story from which this footnote comes is here and here's the actual paragraph:

"A Republican strategist with close to the White House described Clement as the leading candidate. "She's pretty untouchable," he said. "Plus, it helps take Rove off the front pages for a week."

So the comment comes from a Republican strategist close to the White House who thought Clement was going to be the nominee? Good source.

Footnote 2: Number of stories about Rove over time based on Analysis by Political Action staff of monitoring from Yeah, I bet the criteria for measuring stories was pretty fair, so fair they didn't describe the method.

Footnote 3: No idea about this one as the link to the story isn't working anymore

Footnote 4: This reference is from this story and indicates that the memo was marked secret. Obviously, we won't get to see the memo so we'll have to take the paper's word on it - it's the WashPo, so measure their word accordingly.

Footnote 5: Ah, the good ol' poll results. These are the best. In's email, they say, "An ABC News poll shows that a solid majority of Americans—some 75 percent—support firing Rove for what he did. This is true even among 71 percent of Republicans." This implies that he should be fired today, according to 75% of the respondents. So far, it hasn't been proven that Rove did anything wrong, but this is not the point. The poll results are here and the question they use the results from is:

"It's been reported that one of George W. Bush's closest advisers, Karl Rove, spoke briefly with a reporter about this CIA agent. If investigators find that Rove leaked classified information, do you think he should or should not lose his job in the Bush Administration?"

That question is different from the way framed the results. It says "if" investigators determine Rove leaked. Again, no investigators have concluded this.

Of course, this is what I expect from Tom, Carrie, Wes, James and the Political Action Team. I just want everyone to keep it in mind when they read the form letters to the editor in next week's paper.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Prepping the Battlefield

When Roberts refuses to answer questions about prospective cases and the media and Democrat Senators jump all over him, refer to this precedent from Ruth Bader Ginsburg's confirmation hearings:

Senator Leahy. Does that mean that the Free Exercise Clause and the Establishment Clause are equal, or is one subordinate to the other?

Judge Ginsburg. I prefer not to address a question like that; again, to talk in grand terms about principles that have to be applied in concrete cases. I like to reason from the specific case and not----

Senator Leahy. Let me ask you this: In your view of the Supreme Court today--or do you have a view whether the Supreme Court has put one in a subordinate position to the other?

Judge Ginsburg . The two clauses are on the same line in the Constitution. I don't see that it is a question of subordinating one to the other. They both have to be given effect. They are both----

Senator Leahy. But there are instances where both cannot be upheld.

Judge Ginsburg . Senator, I would prefer to await a particular case and----

Senator Leahy. I understand. Just trying, Judge. Just trying.

The full precedent is detailed here.

Keep it handy and send it to your friends, the local newspaper, and your Senators.

Hat tip:Hugh

UPDATE: I found this additional exchange a little later in the document:

Senator Specter. Let me ask you a question articulated the way we ask jurors, whether you have any conscientious scruple against the imposition of the death penalty?

Judge Ginsburg. My own view on the death penalty I think is not relevant to any question I would be asked to decide as a judge. I will be scrupulous in applying the law on the basis of the Constitution, legislation, and precedent. As I said in my opening remarks, my own views and what I would do if I were sitting in the legislature are not relevant to the job for which you are considering me, which is the job of a judge. So I would not like to answer that question, and more that I would like to answer the question of what choice I would make for myself, what reproductive choice I would make for myself. It is not relevant to what I would decide as a judge.

Ginsburg's remark is the exact wording that Roberts should use when asked about abortion, simply substitute "death penalty" with "abortion." This is actually the exact wording that he should use for almost every question he'll get asked.

If Roberts, and for that matter, any current Supreme Court justice followed this standard in every decision, then the SCOTUS nomination wouldn't be news. Of course, then the Left would have no avenue to continue to pursue their agenda, other than winning elections, that is.

Let The Games Begin

President Bush's nomination of John Roberts for the Supreme Court will undoubtedly dominate the media and blogosphere for the next few weeks. For a summary of what the Left will do to block his nomination, and I am confident they will do so even without any basis, Powerline has provided the analysis:

"It didn't matter whom President Bush nominated. The Democrats were poised to attack, and they would have unleashed whatever ammunition they could muster regardless of who the nominee was. "People for the American Way" and other extreme-left groups were faxing out packets of attack materials on John Roberts within minutes after his nomination was announced."

Ultimately, Roberts will be confirmed. The question is how long will it take. The Democrats are faced with a choice: 1) go after Roberts, or 2) get Roberts out of the way and go back to Rove.

The grand jury in the Plame case will be held until October. If the Senate hearings on Roberts get stalled, then there will be no story on Rove until the grand jury is done, after which time, Rove will have been cleared of any wrongdoing. However, if the Democrats let Roberts through, they can go back to Rove and continue their folly. Either way, they'll lose, it's just a matter of what they want to keep on the front page of the NYT for the next 3 months.

Friday, July 15, 2005

More Rove and Plame Than You Ever Wanted To Know

Confused by the latest Rove-outed-Plame controversy? Instapundit has a huge round-up of round-ups. If you're still confused after all these posts, don't worry, I'll sum it up:

Rove's not the leaker, but gave his enemies just enough rope with which to hang themselves.

Friday, July 08, 2005

A Liberal Conundrum

To reveal or not to reveal your sources, that is the question. Jim Spencer grapples with this question in his column this morning:

"I salute Miller for enduring a contempt-of-court finding by a federal judge.

I praise her for her courage and for understanding how vital confidential informants are to checking the greed and tyranny that so often accompanies power.

That said, I am badly torn by the case in which Miller made her stand.

First, the case involves a criminal investigation of whether someone broke a federal law when they revealed the name of an undercover CIA operative. The law means to save lives, not enrich the haves or subordinate the have-nots.

Second, and most important, Newsweek and MSNBC report that White House political director Karl Rove might have a role in this business."

I can understand the first reason for being torn on this topic. Miller is essentially protecting someone who broke the law. Harboring an information fugitive, if you will.

But on the second reason, he shows just how much disdain the liberal media has for the Bush administration. In other words, it's okay to reveal your sources if it hurts your political enemies.

What if we find out that the source of the leak was not a Republican, but rather a Democrat? Of course, there will be great wailing and gnashing of teeth that the reporter was forced to reveal the source and the story will not be about the indictment that should follow, but about the damage that has been done to the media's ability to find anonymous sources.

Sidebar: As if this isn't enough, Spencer continues:

"Even if he (Rove) wasn't the original source of information on Plame's identity, the president's man may have helped spread Plame's name after it was published in a column by Robert Novak. Rove apparently did so for purely political reasons. Rove was angry that Plame's husband, Joseph Wilson, told the truth about Iraq's nonexistent nuclear weapons program."

I had to read this twice. After the column came out, Rove helped spread Plame's name. So what? If I read Spencer's column, I'm not allowed to talk about it with anyone. I think that Wilson and Plame did a pretty good job of exposing themselves in Vanity Fair. This is the weakest argument he could possibly make.

Then he goes on to assume he knows what Rove was feeling or why he talked about Plame after the world knew that she was a CIA agent and to assume that Wilson was telling the "truth" about his mission to Niger.

This is a tough one for Spencer and his buddies in the news industry: advocate journalistic "integrity" or lynch someone in the Bush Administration. What's a lefty to do?