ARC's 1st Law: As a "progressive" online discussion grows longer, the probability of a nefarious reference to Karl Rove approaches one

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Jack Murtha, ABSCAM and Other Smelly Stuff

Gang, this is going to be good.

Note to Representative John Murtha D-Pa: Do NOT, repeat, do NOT get out front on anything if there exists video of you discussing bribes and your willingness to discuss the bribes further at a later date.

If this guy had been a senior Republican... well, we all know that story.

It appears that the Dems favorite boyscout has some rather major 'splaining to do:

From The American Spectator:

Political HayMurky Jack MurthaBy David Holman Published 2/2/2006 12:09:11
AM

In the last year, ever since Tom DeLay became embroiled in the Jack
Abramoff scandal, the Washington Post alone has published 168 articles
mentioning Abramoff and DeLay. The Post's dogged Abramoff investigator, Susan
Schmidt, has written 39 articles on Jack Abramoff in the last two years. Almost
half of those made page A1 of the Post, and most were over 1,000 words in
length.

The Post has written enough about this scandal to fill a book -- literally
-- and they probably will. Since Rep. John Murtha made his splash in
November with his call for an American troop withdrawal from Iraq, there have
been no stories about Robert C. "Kit" Murtha in the Post. In fact, the Post has never
mentioned Kit Murtha.

A quick Lexis Nexis search turns up only a dozen or so mentions of "Kit"
Murtha, Robert C. Murtha, or Robert Murtha in the last 15 years. Who is "Kit"
Murtha? He's John Murtha's brother -- a Washington lobbyist whose firm
reeled in more than $20 million for its defense contractor clients in the 2004
Defense appropriations bill. And the Pennsylvania congressman is the ranking
Democrat on the Defense appropriations subcommittee, which he also chaired for
six years before Democrats lost the House in 1994.

It's a cozy relationship the likes of which are garnering heavy attention
these days in Washington. Roy Blunt's family connections to K Street have
received extensive coverage, as have Harry Reid's. Yet despite a front page
story
in the Los Angeles Times last June exposing Kit Murtha's firm's
enormous success in steering defense contracts to its clients, other newspapers
have been mostly silent: the Times has yet to follow up, and Murtha's lobbying
ties have earned coverage by Roll Call and only single mentions in the Village Voice,
Investor's Business Daily, and the Boston Globe just this week.

If Murtha were a powerful Republican legislator, the media would probably
be all over this story. A former aide from John Murtha's office, Carmen V.
Scialabba, is a top official at KSA Consulting, where Kit Murtha is a senior
partner. KSA has directly lobbied Murtha's office on behalf of defense clients
that directly benefited from the 2004 Defense bill. Murtha's subcommittee staff
helps write Defense appropriations bills and oversees the lucrative earmark
requests forwarded by Democrats. The contracts for KSA clients in the bill were
entirely earmarks, the L.A. Times found. The Times also reported that most of
KSA's defense clients hired the firm only after Kit Murtha became a senior
partner in 2002.

The Hill reported in October that John Murtha is the top House recipient
of campaign contributions from the defense industry for the past three years. As
of the October 31, 2005 Federal Election Commission report, Murtha had received over $200,000 from defense firms in
the 2006 election cycle, surpassing the next highest recipient by over $60,000.
Kit Murtha has been lobbying for defense firms since at least 1986, when he
became Westinghouse's chief lobbyist in Harrisburg.

In 1994, National Journal reported, Westinghouse made Kit Murtha its
director of state and local government affairs, in which role he would also
lobby the Pennsylvania congressional delegation in Washington. At that time,
John Murtha chaired the defense appropriations subcommittee.

And what's more, Murtha's no stranger to congressional corruption scandals.
Though eventually cleared by the House ethics committee (which means nothing
legally), John Murtha was an unindicted co-conspirator in the Abscam scandal.
(Abscam was an FBI sting operation of members of Congress from 1978 to 1980 in which one senator and five representatives were convicted of bribery and conspiracy.)

As the Cybercast News Service recently detailed, Murtha was videotaped telling an undercover FBI agent, "I'm not interested. I'm sorry... at this point." When the House ethics committee cleared Murtha in 1981, CNS reported, the committee's lead counsel, E. Barrett Prettyman Jr., quickly resigned. When asked by Roll Call if he had resigned because of the committee's Murtha vote, he said that would be "a
logical conclusion." Prettyman has otherwise declined to comment on the Murtha
case.An ethically suspect member of Congress, with close, personal connections
to lobbyists whose clients are benefited by his committee? What more could the
Washington Post need to begin sniffing around? And now that John Murtha's a
nationally prominent politician, he should naturally attract closer scrutiny.

Perhaps that national prominence is steering the major press away. When
Cybercast News Service asked Murtha about his Abscam past, he answered,
"Questions about my record are clearly an attempt to distract attention from the
real issue, which is that our brave men and women in uniform are dying and being
injured every day in the middle of a civil war that can be resolved only by the
Iraqis themselves." Rep. Murtha's office said he was giving interviews all day
yesterday and would be unavailable for comment.

John Murtha is apparently using a controversy he created in November to
shield himself from his ethical past. His comments about the war in Iraq make
for convenient cover in an increasingly critical ethical atmosphere. The major
media's silence is deafening.

David Holman is a reporter for The American Spectator.


Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: MontereyJohn

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Mr. Kettle.. its Mr. Pot calling....

Truth Out (soon to be called Truth Not! -ed) last left us with a tease that they would be responding to the Joe Lauria article in the Washington post a short 16 "business hours" later, today at 5pm PDT. Well that time has come, and its a doozy.

In case your just jumping in, let me catch you up. As we commented on previously, on Sunday, Joe Lauria wrote an article entitled "My Unwitting Role in the Rove 'Scoop" where he detailed a curious circumstance of the whole "Rove indicted" story, namely, how Mark Carallo (Rove's spokesman) had received a call from someone purporting to be Joe, asking about the "scoop". In addition, Mark was given a phone number for Joe that was curiously 1 digit off of his actual phone number.

As I said, Truthout's response is a doozy.. It took them 2 days to come up with this nonsense?

The Post's Curious Interest in Leopold and TO
By Marc Ash,

Wed Jun 21st, 2006 at 06:42:38 PM EDT :: Fitzgerald Investigation

On Sunday, The Washington Post published an article titled, "My Unwitting Role in the Rove 'Scoop'" by Joe Lauria. It's a hit piece, plain and simple.

For the record, Jason Leopold is not acting alone on the Rove indictment story. All of TO's senior editors are participating in interviewing sources, verifying facts and vetting every sentence published before the story goes live.

We find it curious that The Washington Post has taken such a keen interest in Jason Leopold and TO. The Lauria piece is only the latest in a series of pieces published by Post editors attacking - in a very personal manner - Jason Leopold and TO. But there has been no critical assessment of the facts we have reported. Why? Who is directing this smear campaign at the Post and why?

Curious interest? You've been blasting the "commercial press" since Fitz let Rove know he was off the hook, and now that they've taken an interest in you and interviewed someone involved in the story, you just label it a hit piece. Good to know its not just Jason thats standing by this story. So you've all jumped off the deep end, got it. Here's a clue, just because they don't agree with you, doesnt' mean it is a smear campaign.

Here's where it gets real good:

The Post published Lauria's article as an opinion piece, but Lauria used that platform to present fact - fact without documentation. In reference to our report that a grand jury has returned an indictment of Karl Rove (a report that we do stand by), Lauria writes, "The report set off hysteria on the Internet, and the mainstream media scrambled to nail it down. Only ... it wasn't true." He is stating - as a fact - a premise that he does not even attempt to document or substantiate, and the Post is a willing host.

The basis for Lauria's complaint is that Jason Leopold reportedly used Lauria's name to get Karl Rove's spokesman Mark Corallo on the phone ... according to, you guessed it, Corallo. For the record, I think Mark Corallo is doing a brilliant job of representing Karl Rove's best interests as his interface with the media. I also think it's fair to say that The Washington Post is being way too cooperative - unless they, too, are beholden to Mr. Rove? Everybody hold your breaths waiting for a response from the Post's ombudsman on that one.

Wow. Just, wow. At least Joe documented who he talked to as his source, i.e. Mark Corallo. Unlike yourselves, who basically have come up with a bunch of wild theories, and the only substantiation you provide is to "point" to a sealed document, and one more more anonymous sources.

So whats good for the goose is good for the gander, Truthout. Name your sources so that we can judge their credibility, as you are obviously doing with Mr. Corallo.

And are you suggesting that the Post is involved in some sort of conspiracy to protect Karl Rove? The frickin Woodward and Bernstein, Watergate was our deal, Washington Post? Get real.

For the record, since the entire basis for Lauria's story is a poorly defined, and factually uncorroborated version of events promulgated by Karl Rove's public relations contractor, I think Lauria's getting a free ride to notoriety from the Post. Apparently Lauria recognized that there was a hot market for hit pieces on Jason Leopold and TO. The Washington Post was buying, and Lauria was all to happy to cash in.
And this is the really really funny part. Lauria's the one getting the free ride. At least he's backing up the story with names. Unlike yourselves, who have just either made up stuff out of whole cloth and hid behind fake anonymous sources, or were fed a line of bull and are protecting anonymous sources that lied to you.

We urge The Post and Lauria to meet the same standard that we have been held to these past weeks - account for your statements, please.

We urge you to meet the bare minimum standard of what Lauria has already provided. Name the sources you've talked to. Until then, it appears that Lauria is being more open and honest and dare I say, truthful, than Truth Out.

P.S. I noticed you didn't deny any of the charges that Mr. Lauria leveled. Just called it a hit piece and questioned why the Post would run it. But you didnt' address the meat of the issue. Did Jason call Mark and purport to be Joe? Did he leave a phone number 1 digit off of Joe's? Just issue the denial if the story is all made up.

***UPDATE***
ARC GETS RESULTS

UPDATE:8:23:pm:pdt:06.21.06

Sorry for the confusion, yes Jason Leopold categorically denies identifying himself as Joe Lauria. Other hysterias will no doubt evolve by morning and we'll do our best to address them as they surface. Good night folks.

Sorry guys, but thats not a good enough denial. After all its Jason whose issuing it, and he's issuing it in the "non-commercial" press, so what are we to make of that? I'm afraid I'll need some documentation that he never identified himself as Joe Lauria. Perhaps Jason has the tape of the call?

Let's just speculate, that maybe he identified himself as Joel Lauria. Or something else.

Let's just make it simple, does Jason categorically deny talking to Mark Corallo 4 times? Does he have the phone records of those calls? Does he deny ever misidentifiying himself to any potential source? Does he deny talking to Joe Lauria after the story broke?

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: Brian

Sheeple On The Left

When it comes down to it, Kos and the Moonbat left don't like to "Speak truth to power", especially when it's an Inconvenient Truth and the power is the gravy-train of their blogosphere empire.

Kosola Cover-Up?
By James Joyner

TNR’s Jason Zengerle has what he purports to be an email from Markos Moulitsas of Daily Kos to several big name liberal bloggers asking them to starve the story about his and Jerome Armstrong’s alleged blog-for-pay scheme of oxygen by simply ignoring it. The close:

My request to you guys is that you ignore this for now. It would make my life easier if we can confine the story. Then, once Jerome can speak and defend himself, then I’ll go on the offensive (which is when I would file any lawsuits) and anyone can pile on. If any of us blog on this right now, we fuel the story. Let’s starve it of oxygen. And without the “he said, she said” element to the story, you know political journalists are paralyzed into inaction.

So far, it seems to be working in that the left side of the blogosphere has virtually ignored the controversy.

What a bunch of unbelievable idiots.

Oh, and by the way... if there was a mailing list that was used as a smoke filled room for the right-side of the blogosphere, you'd hear the Left in an uproar over a coordinated effort to manufacture coverage and news stories.

But, I suppose that if it's a fight between Good and Evil (and you're on the side of good), then hypocrisy and ethics don't really matter.

Wizbang is also covering...

*** UPDATE ***
Forgot to mention that it also seems that the Kossacks appear to be projecting onto their foes the "culture of corruption" that apparently surrounds their dear leader.

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler

You would think the Progressives would applaud

Yes, you would think that the Progressives would be cheering when government "revenues" increase by 13% and the fed government increases its spending by 8% annually:

The Wonder of Voodoo Economics
Bush 43 gets it.

By Rich Lowry When President Bush pledged in 2004 to cut the deficit in half by 2009, critics guffawed. The Boston Globe headlined a story, “Bush’s plan to halve federal deficit seen as unlikely; higher spending, lower taxes don’t mix, analysts say.” “Fanciful,” “laughable” and “all spin,” said the critics.

Well, it turns out that 2009 might be coming early this year. The 2004 deficit had been projected to hit $521 billion, or 4.5 percent of gross domestic product. Bush’s goal was to cut it to 2.25 percent of GDP by 2009—not exactly as stirring a national goal as putting a man on the moon, but one that was nonetheless pronounced unattainable. This year, the deficit could go as low as $300 billion, right around the 2009 goal of 2.5 percent of GDP.

The key to the reduction is revenue growth, which has been stoked by economic growth. Government revenues are up 12.9 percent in the first eight months of this year over the same eight-month period last year—without any tax increases. When individuals, investors, and corporations have more cash in a growing economy, they send more to the federal government in tax payments
[...]

According to Brian Riedl of the Heritage Foundation, if annual spending increases in the Bush years had been limited to the rate of the Clinton years, roughly 3.3 percent, there would be a federal surplus now. Instead, spending has been growing at 8 percent a year. That demonstrates that the formula for deficit reduction from the 1990s—moderate-spending restraint coupled with higher-than-expected growth-generated revenues—would work again today, if only someone could manage the moderate-spending restraint.
Unfortunately, there are a few factors which inhibit the Left from applauding:
  1. Increased revenues were the result of tax cuts
  2. Increased spending was the result of Bush
  3. HALLIBURTON!!!
It is very difficult to be part of the "reality-based community" these days:
  • Taxes increase revenues despite your assertions to the contrary;
  • Karl Rove is not indicted, but you still believe that he is;
  • 1,000 people show up at YearlyKos in Vegas (compared to 4k electricians) and you think you're relevant; and
  • You think Algore has a real chance of winning the nomination and the Presidency in 2008.
and the list goes on... It almost - almost - makes you feel sad for them. Then you shudder as you realize what a nightmare this world would be should they ever grasp the reins of power.

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Leopold Lies, Gets Story Wrong

Yes, we all know that TruthOut's Jason Leopold was ahead of the "fake but accurate" news cycle. And although they said they were going to "stand down" on the story on Friday, they've now decided to jump back in with both feet and "stand up" on it again.

In addition to that the fact that the entire TruthOut organization is now going to go down with the ship, it's interesting that Jason Leopold apparently lied and used unethical behavior by impersonating another journalist.

My Unwitting Role in the Rove 'Scoop'

By Joe Lauria
Sunday, June 18, 2006; B02

The May 13 story on the Web site Truthout.org was explosive: Presidential adviser Karl Rove had been indicted by Special Counsel Patrick J. Fitzgerald in connection with his role in leaking CIA officer Valerie Plame's name to the media, it blared. The report set off hysteria on the Internet, and the mainstream media scrambled to nail it down. Only . . . it wasn't true.

As we learned last week, Rove isn't being indicted, and the supposed Truthout scoop by reporter Jason Leopold was wildly off the mark. It was but the latest installment in the tale of a troubled young reporter with a history of drug addiction whose aggressive disregard for the rules ended up embroiling me in a bizarre escapade -- and raised serious questions about journalistic ethics.

Leopold says he gets the same rush from breaking a news story that he did from snorting cocaine. To get coke, he lied, cheated and stole. To get his scoops, he has done much the same. As long as it isn't illegal, he told me, he'll do whatever it takes to get a story, especially to nail a corrupt politician or businessman. "A scoop is a scoop," he trumpets in his memoir. "Other journalists all whine about ethics, but that's a load of crap."

I disagree, but I felt some sympathy for the affable, seemingly vulnerable 36-year-old. Before we parted, I told him a bit about myself -- that I freelance for numerous newspapers, including the Sunday Times of London. His publicist had earlier given him my cellphone number.

Three days later, Leopold's Rove story appeared. I wrote him a congratulatory e-mail, wondering how long it would be before the establishment media caught up.

But by Monday there was no announcement. No one else published the story. The blogosphere went wild. Leopold said on the radio that he would out his unnamed sources if it turned out that they were wrong or had misled him. I trawled the Internet looking for a clue to the truth. I found a blog called Talk Left, run by Jeralyn Merritt, a Colorado defense lawyer.

Merritt had called Mark Corallo, a former Justice Department spokesman who is now privately employed by Rove. She reported that Corallo said he had "never spoken with someone identifying himself as 'Jason Leopold.' He did have conversations Saturday and Sunday . . . but the caller identified himself as Joel something or other from the Londay [sic] Sunday Times. . . . At one point . . . he offered to call Joel back, and was given a cell phone number that began with 917. When he called the number back, it turned out not to be a number for Joel."

A chill went down my back. I freelance for the Sunday Times. My first name is often mistaken for Joel. My cellphone number starts with area code 917.

I called Corallo. He confirmed that my name was the one the caller had used. Moreover, the return number the caller had given him was off from mine by one digit. Corallo had never been able to reach me to find out it wasn't I who had called. He said he knew who Leopold was but had never talked to him.
It will be interesting to see how TruthOut defends such practices. And it's also interesting that Leopold's fix has been transferred from cocaine to partisan attack "scoops" that have little basis in reality.

continuing...
I called Leopold. He gave me a profanity-filled earful, saying that he'd spoken to Corallo four times and that Corallo had called him to denounce the story after it appeared.

When he was done, I asked: "How would Corallo have gotten my phone number, one digit off?"

"Joe, I would never, ever have done something like that," Leopold said defiantly.

Except that he has done things like that. His memoir is full of examples. He did break big stories, but he lied to get many of them. He admits lying to the lawyers for Enron executives Jeffrey Skilling and Andrew Fastow, making up stories to get them to spill more beans. "I was hoping to get both sides so paranoid that one was going to implicate the other," he wrote.

I don't really know why Leopold may have pretended to be me to Corallo. I can only speculate that he either was trying to get a reaction and thought Corallo would be more likely to respond to a conservative-leaning mainstream paper, or he was trying to get Corallo to acknowledge that Rove had been indicted by bluffing that the Sunday Times had confirmed the story. In fact, Corallo told me that "Joel" told him that he had Fitzgerald's spokesman on the record about the indictment. He has also said he believes Leopold made up the whole story.
[...]
In the end, whatever Jason Leopold's future, he got what he appears to be crying out for: attention.
It seems that Leopold was trying to get an "I heard that, too" out of Corallo... and, when he didn't, decided to run with it anyway. He certainly got some attention, but I'm not sure it's the kind that will benefit him in the long run.

I don't know about you, but this is all eerily similar to the Bill Burkett / Mary Mapes / Lucy Ramirez bullshit of RatherGate which hit in 2004... only this time, Leopold is playing the role of all three - conspirazoid kook, "journalist", and mythical informant.

===>

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler

Standing back up in the Rove case

On Friday, we commented on Marc Ash's Truthout post regarding how they were "standing down" from their previous reporting that Karl Rove had been indicted on May 13th. An excerpt from that post:

"Because, you know.... at some point, we just start to look stoooopid". At least, that's my translation of this post from Marc Ash at the soon to be defunct "TruthOut.org". (How long can a blog go on when it refuses to admit that it was wrong and/or lied to and won't correct the record?)
Well apparently pretty long. As Marc teased in his Friday article, a "more comprehensive accounting of this matter" was to appear on Monday, May 19th.

Well last night at 6:59:47 [hey thats still a "business" hour on the West coast -ed], it arrived.

It starts out with a rather ominous tone, but they take a useful step in at least giving a hint as to their sources for their information:
What will follow will be a rather frank discussion of our reporting of and involvement in the Rove indictment matter. If you like simple answers or quick resolutions, turn back now. This is our report to our readership. Our primary sources for this report are career federal law enforcement and federal government officials speaking on condition of anonymity.
Got that? It's their report, to their readership. Isn't that the definition of any article by any definition? Or is Truthout trying to say with that sentence, that if you don't like how they report something, too bad.
For the record, we did reach Kimberly Nerheim, a spokesperson for Patrick Fitzgerald, and asked her these questions: Did a grand jury return an indictment of Karl Rove? Did Patrick Fitzgerald send a fax to Robert Luskin similar to that described in recent press reports? Is Patrick Fitzgerald's probe of the Plame matter still ongoing? Her response to each question was identical: "I have no comment."
So that means no answer. No comment does not mean, "no comment with a wink".
The Rove indictment story is way beyond - in terms of complexity - any other story we have ever covered. In essence, we found out something we were not supposed to find out, and things exploded from there. We were not prepared for the backlash.
Or the alternative is that you didn't out anything and were fed a load of bull. Which you swallowed hook, line and sinker.
On Tuesday, June 13, when the mainstream media broke their stories that Karl Rove had been exonerated, there were frank discussions amongst our senior editors about retracting our stories outright. The problem we wrestled with was what exactly do we retract? Should we say that Rove had not in fact been indicted? Should we say that our sources provided us with false or misleading information? Had Truthout been used? Without a public statement from Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald we felt that it was premature to retract our report.
Premature? Ahead of the news cycle again are we?
After spending the past month retracing our steps and confirming facts, we've come full circle. Our sources continue to maintain that a grand jury has in fact returned an indictment. Our sources said that parts of the indictment were read to Karl Rove and his attorney on Friday, May 12, 2006. Last week, we pointed to a sealed federal indictment, case number "06 cr 128," which is still sealed and we are still pointing to it. During lengthy conversations with our sources over the past month, they reiterated that the substance of our report on May 13, 2006, was correct, and immediately following our report, Karl Rove's status in the CIA leak probe changed. In summary, as we press our investigation we find indicators that more of our key facts are correct, not less.
06 cr 128 could be related to non-Karl Rove matters as well, since its sealed, you don't know what it says or what it involves. Fake but accurate does not rule the day. The fact that a sealed case exists, does NOT mean that it backs up your case. No matter how much you "point" to it.
And your sources, continuing to maintain their load of bull, does not indicate that you have more key facts. That's the same logic that Dan Rather used.
We also continue to be very troubled that no one has seen the reported communication from Fitzgerald to Rove's attorney Robert Luskin, and more importantly, how so much public judgment could be based on a communication that Luskin will not put on the table.
How about, Luskin has no reason to lie, and in fact has every reason to tell the truth since his client is reportedly (according to you) a target of this investigation.

What appears to have happened is that - and this is where Truthout blundered - in our haste to report the indictment we never considered the possibility that Patrick Fitzgerald would not make an announcement. We simply assumed - and we should not have done so - that he would tell the press. He did not. Fitzgerald appears to have used the indictment, and more importantly, the fear that it would go public, to extract information about the Plame outing case from Rove.
Well, duh. Of course he doesn't have to issue a press conference telling you who he did or didn't indict. In his Libby indictment press conference he even said as much (emphasis mine):

QUESTION: I think you, kind of, answered this but I assume that you have no plans and don't even think you'd be allowed to issue a final report of any sort.

FITZGERALD: You're correct. But let me explain that.

I think what people may be confused about is that reports used to be issued by independent counsels. And one of the complaints about the independent counsel statute was that an ordinary citizen, when investigated, they're charged with a crime or they're not; they're not charged with a crime, people don't talk about it.

Because of the interest in making sure that -- well, there's an interest in independent counsels to making sure those investigations were done thoroughly but then people ended up issuing reports for people not charged. And one of the criticisms leveled was that you should not issue reports about people who are not charged with a crime.

That statute lapsed. I'm not an independent counsel, and I do not have the authority to write a report, and, frankly, I don't think I should have that authority. I think we should conduct this like any other criminal investigation: charge someone or be quiet.

Continuing with Truthout:
Yes, it does appear that Truthout was used, but not lied to or misled. The facts appear to have been accurate. We reported them, and in so doing, apparently became an instrument. From all indications, our reports, first on May 13 that Rove had been indicted, and then on June 12 when we published case number "06 cr 128," forced Rove and Luskin back to the table with Fitzgerald, not once but twice. They apparently sought to avoid public disclosure and were prepared to do what they had to do to avoid it.
Twice? This is the first I've noticed that negotiations happened twice. Was this another marathon 14 hour session at a "locked down" Patton Boggs? Or was it something else?
The electronic communication from Fitzgerald to Luskin, coming immediately on the heels of our Monday morning, June 12 article "Sealed vs. Sealed" that became the basis for the mainstream media's de facto exoneration of Karl Rove was, our sources told us, negotiated quickly over the phone later that afternoon. Luskin contacted Fitzgerald, reportedly providing concessions that Fitzgerald considered to be of high value, and Fitzgerald reportedly reciprocated with the political cover Rove wanted in the form of a letter that was faxed to Luskin's office.
Those concessions being what? Come on, do some real reporting! What did Karl Rove promise to do? Flip on Cheney? Or something simpler like not discuss the ineptitude of Fitzgerald's Grand Jury questions.

Our sources provided us with additional detail, saying that Fitzgerald is apparently examining closely Dick Cheney's role in the Valerie Plame matter, and apparently sought information and evidence from Karl Rove that would provide documentation of Cheney's involvement. Rove apparently was reluctant to cooperate and Fitzgerald, it appears, was pressuring him to do so, our sources told us.

Or your sources could be lying to you again. Not sure what Karl Rove could provide in the way of documentation of Cheney's involvement, since it seems that thats already been documented with the "notes in the margin" document, that the left seems to think is grounds for impeachment.

Face it, you have more story, but not any new facts. And your sources very well could be pushing their own spin in order to tarnish someone who as we now know, does not face any criminal charges.

See JustOneMinute as well, here and here

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: Brian

Monday, June 19, 2006

Intercept of N. Korean Taepodong 2?

Hmmmm.... I seem to recall much gnashing of teeth and wringing of hands when W. decided it'd be best to scrap the 3-decades old ABM Treaty in favor of protecting the US from the threat of ballistic missiles. Some wild-eyed nutters and their supporters even used the scrapping of the ABM Treaty as one of the grounds for impeachment of Bush.

Hopefully we won't have to test out the newly operational system, but thank God someone had enough vision to give us at least the chance to defend ourselves and have an option on the table (besides duck & cover).

From DrudgeReport

N. Korean threat activates shield U.S. cites a launch as 'provocative'
Mon Jun 19 2006 23:07:28 ET

The Pentagon activated its new U.S. ground-based interceptor missile defense system, Bill Gertz reports in Tuesday's WASHINGTON TIMES, just as officials announced that any long-range missile launch by North Korea would be considered a "provocative act."

Poor weather conditions above where the missile site was located by U.S. intelligence satellites indicates that an immediate launch is unlikely, said officials who spoke on the condition of anonymity.

However, intelligence officials said preparations have advanced to the point where a launch could take place within several days to a month.

Two Navy Aegis warships are patrolling near North Korea as part of the global missile defense and would be among the first sensors that would trigger the use of interceptors, the officials said yesterday.

Gertz reports: The U.S. missile defense system includes 11 long-range interceptor missiles, including nine deployed at Fort Greeley, Alaska, and two at Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif. The system was switched from test to operational mode within the past two weeks, the officials said.

MORE

Or, as the Left would say, "DAMN YOU CHIMPY W. MCBUSHITLER!!! HALLIBURTON!!!!!!!!!"

Jay Reding and Captains Quarters are covering as well

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler

Both Sides of the Blogosphere Agree

That these two exchanges on TV were humorous, but for different reasons. First up is Murtha's idiotic exchange with Tim Russert on Sunday's Meet The Press. It was somewhat of a mix between Porky Pig and Grandpa Simpson. Here's the text, but if you've got to have the vid, here you go.

MR. RUSSERT: You say redeploy. Again, Mr. Rove challenges that comment. Let’s listen and give you again a chance to respond to the White House.
MR. ROVE: Congressman Murtha said, “Let’s redeploy them immediately to another country in the Middle East. Let’s get out of Iraq and go to another country.” My question is, what country would take us? What country would say after the United States cut and run from Iraq, what country in the Middle East would say, “Yeah. Paint a big target on our back and then you’ll cut and run on us.” What country would say that? What country would accept our troops?

MR. RUSSERT: What’s your response?

REP. MURTHA: There’s many countries understand the importance of stability in the Middle East. This is an international problem. We, we use 20 million barrels of oil a day. China’s the second largest user. All these countries understand you need stability for the energy supply that’s available in the Middle East. So there’s many, many countries.

MR. RUSSERT: Who?

REP. MURTHA: Kuwait’s one that will take us. Qatar, we already have bases in Qatar. So Bahrain. All those countries are willing to take the United States. Now, Saudi Arabia won’t because they wanted us out of there in the first place. So—and we don’t have to be right there. We can go to Okinawa. We, we don’t have—we can redeploy there almost instantly. So that’s not—that’s, that’s a fallacy. That, that’s just a statement to rial up people to support a failed policy wrapped in illusion.

MR. RUSSERT: But it’d be tough to have a timely response from Okinawa.

REP. MURTHA:
Well, it—you know, they—when I say Okinawa, I, I’m saying troops in Okinawa. When I say a timely response, you know, our fighters can fly from Okinawa very quickly. And—and—when they don’t know we’re coming. There’s no question about it. And, and where those airplanes won’t—came from I can’t tell you, but, but I’ll tell you one thing, it doesn’t take very long for them to get in with cruise missiles or with, with fighter aircraft or, or attack aircraft, it doesn’t take any time at all. So we, we have done—this one particular operation, to say that that couldn’t have done, done—it was done from the outside, for heaven’s sakes.

Jeff Goldstein at ProteinWisdom has this excellent post, pointing out the idiocy of Murtha's position (and asking for a little help in translating it to begin with).
Okinawa? Okinawa?

That’s, like, in Japan, isn’t it?

Which makes me wonder if, in speaking of quick strike troops redeployed outside of Iraq, Murtha isn’t overhyping to ability of the military just a bit. Or perhaps it’s just the laws of physics he’s overhyping. And he’s doing so, ironically, because the military is in his estimation unable to fight well enough when they are able to confront the enemy directly.

All of which seems rather bizarre to me.

Likewise, Murtha spends a lot of time noting that operations against Zarqawi (who, incidentally, he claims we “built up”—though Nick Berg’s head might tell a different tale) and other successful operations were performed “from the outside”—proof that we can pull troops from inside Iraq and still help the Iraqis control the country.

Of course, by “outside,” Murtha seems to mean something like, “from the air”—his argument being that because we bombed Zarqawi’s safe house from the sky rather than bumrushing it with ground troops, we can effectively fight the insurgency from bases outside the country without fear of the insurgents taking any strongholds.

Meanwhile, the Left - ignoring the substance of his argument - applauds simply for the fact that Murtha "stands up to Russert"... This is the guy that's leading the Dems in the debate on the War On Terror? He's a tool!

Next up is this exchange between Objectivist / Libertarian John Stossel and progressive / communist David Sirota (who, by the way, is a twerp). Here's the video and here's the excerpt which has the Left all abuzz:
Mr. STOSSEL: … I now realize who you are because you, on my Amazon page, he came on and said, `I’m a smarmy-looking liar.’

Mr. SIROTA: You are.

Here's what OliverWillis says regarding the exchange:
I have and continue to have numerous disagreements with Sirota’s tone and positioning, but damned if he wasn’t dead on here. Too many liberals come on tv looking to make friends and get blown out of the water by cons. There are way too many Jeff Jarvis/Joe Lieberman liberals who think the most important thing is getting invited to the big party, when in fact they’re laughing at you behind your back.

It seems that what is most important to the progressives is not the substance or validity to your arguments, but that you're willing to alienate and demonize your opponent when making the argument.

And they wonder why they haven't achieved majority status in the Congress since 1994?

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler

GOP "playing politics" by taking the Dems Seriously

I can't believe the kerfluffle that hit the MSM and the moonbat blogosphere over the GOP's insistence that we take the Democrats' words seriously, such as this "political gamesmanship" by the GOP in the House & Senate. (And shouldn't that be games-person-ship?). This article is brimming with the type of bias that drives conservatives batty - writing from the perspective of the minority party. My emphasis added:

Senate Rejects U.S. Troop Pullout in Iraq
Jun 15, 7:45 PM (ET)
By LIZ SIDOTI

WASHINGTON (AP) - Congress plunged into divisive election-year debate on the Iraq war Thursday as the U.S. military death toll reached 2,500. The Senate soundly rejected a call to withdraw combat troops by year's end, and House Republicans laid the groundwork for their own vote.

In a move Democrats criticized as gamesmanship, Senate Republicans brought up the withdrawal measure and quickly dispatched it - for now - on a 93-6 vote.

The proposal would have allowed "only forces that are critical to completing the mission of standing up Iraqi security forces" to remain in Iraq in 2007.
I'd like to note that this is probably more "hawkish" than the actual Democratic proposals, which call for pulling out of Iraq completely.
Across Capitol Hill in a daylong House debate, Republicans defended the Iraq war as a key part of the global fight against terrorism while Democrats assailed President Bush's war policies and called for a new direction in the conflict.
[...]
Republicans moved toward a vote on a resolution to reject any timetable for withdrawing U.S. forces.
[...]
Republicans in both the Senate and House sought to put lawmakers of both parties on record on an issue certain to be central in this fall's congressional elections.

The Senate vote unfolded unexpectedly as the second-ranking leader, Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., introduced legislation he said was taken from a proposal by Sen. John Kerry, the Massachusetts Democrat and war critic. It called for Bush to agree with the Iraqi government on a schedule for withdrawal of combat troops by Dec. 31, 2006.
ie, this is the John F-ing Kerry proposal - word for word.
Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, R-Tenn., said if the United States withdrew prematurely, "I am absolutely convinced the terrorists would see this as vindication." He predicted terrorism would spread around the world, and eventually reach the United States if the United States were to "cut and run" before Iraq can defend itself.

Democratic leader Harry Reid of Nevada shot back: "Two things that don't exist in Iraq and have not, weapons of mass destruction, and cutting and running."

He accused Republicans of political gamesmanship and sought to curtail floor debate on the proposal. The vote occurred quickly.
No WMDs (except for this info which suggests otherwise) and no cutting & running, except for the unending calls by the Dems to do just that.
[...]
Republicans arranged for the debate to culminate in a vote on a resolution that praises U.S. troops, labels the Iraq war part of the larger global fight against terrorism and says an "arbitrary date for the withdrawal or redeployment" of troops is not in the national interest.

Democrats decried the debate as a sham, saying Republicans promised an open discussion but, instead, stacked the deck in their favor by limiting debate to 10 hours and barring any amendments. They also complained that Republicans refused to allow them to present an alternative resolution - though Democrats weren't able to agree on just what to offer.

So, the Dems wanted to amend a simply worded and pretty binary resolution - and the GOP wouldn't let them. How insensitive! And I love that even if the GOP had given that option to the Dems, they wouldn't know what to add.

And this is the party that wants to be in the majority come January?

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Surprised by Robert McNamara

I watched the documentary about Robert McNamara on The History Channel last night. I was totally surprised by this man. I was prepared to hate him but I came away liking him. I liked him a lot.

Unlike the pis-ant commentators on the show, McNamara was real. He displayed depth, understanding, insightfullness, an analytic mind, determination, loyalty and brilliance. In short, he reminded me a good deal of Donald Rumsfeld.

The "rules" he layed down for when to use military force made a lot of sense. The errors of the Vietnam War he pointed out seemed bang on. He seems to be a man who has learned much from his life. He is a man, in my opinion, well worth listening to.

Watch this show if you get a chance.

I could use a few more surprises like this in this cynical era.

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: MontereyJohn


Comment from Gerald in in Nebraska

First, I'm not the least bit impressed with the History Channel as an authoritative source on anything. I've seen them distort history often enough that I rarely visit that channel anymore.

WRT Robert McNamara. He was a car manufacturer who had little actual military experience and lots of theories on management and production. In retrospect those theories didn't hold much water, but he applied them anyway. He had the odd notion that if the US "signaled" the North Vietnamese of our intentions then they would back off and leave the South alone. In his own words, he came by the signaling notion during the Cuban Missile Crisis. The distinction between the Cuban Missile Crisis and our efforts in Vietnam is that we had generated almost our entire nuclear strike force to full alert in response to the Soviets moving nuclear missiles into Cuba. Signaling worked then because we were holding a huge nuclear bat that the Soviets at that time could not begin to match.

Thus we had "escalation," which was the buzzword of the era. I remember reading about it in the Squadron Officers School course and thought that it was a crock even in 1963. McNamara and his helpers (the Bundy brothers come to mind) free-styled a bombing campaign against North Vietnam. The plan put a lot of highly trained Americans in harm's way for very little in terms of military and political payoff. But that was an application of the "McNamara Doctrine." I'm not sure you can find a term like that anywhere, but that's what it was.

The bomb a little, talk a little tactics didn't work. Like our current day antagonists, the North Vietnamese interpreted McNamara's half-measures as a sign of weakness. Since we did little or nothing to stop the inflow of war materiel into North Vietnam, until December 1972, American forces were doomed to smacking down trucks, reinforced bicycles, and pack elephants, under water bridges, etc., one by one on the vast area known as the Ho Chi Minh Trail. We diddled around with that mode of operation until 1972, when the North Vietnamese tried what I call Tet '72: they invaded South Vietnam from across the DMZ and through Laos. I call it Tet '72 because I think Tet is when the North Vietnamese were planning to launch their attack. Too bad for them, General John Lavelle took the initiative in January/February 1972 and attacked the military buildup that was going on in the south of North Vietnam close to the DMZ and the passes into Laos. Nixon fired him for his efforts.

Even though American ground forces were mostly gone, American airpower was still present and beat back the North Vietnamese attack throughout that bloody summer. When the North Vietnamese continued to play hard to get at the Paris Peace Talks, Nixon (or maybe it was Kissinger, I don't know) ordered a large-scale bombing campaign against Hanoi and Haiphong. That did the trick; the North Vietnamese were stripped of their military capability in eleven days. Imagine how things might have played out if McNamara had convinced LBJ to do that in 1965.

The North Vietnamese gave back our POWs. And then our Congress abandoned South Vietnam.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Gerald

Monterey John's Reponse to an Excellent Comment

With regard to the excellent comment above, I shared many of the opinions expressed in the author's comments before I watched the interview, which incidentally was independently produced. As I noted, The History Channel commentators were pis-ants. I share the author's view of much of what appears on that outlet.

That being said, this was an excellent documentary. There are two sides to any story, and McNamara's side is more than worth listening to and is not to be dismissed out of hand simply because I may have a contrary view.

As to McNamara's military experience, during World War II he served on Curtis LeMay's staff and was instrumental in implementing the hugely successful air campaign against Japan. If that qualifies as limited military experience, I'm not sure what would constitute substantial military experience. In that regard, the commentor was simply wrong.

With regard to Vietnam, McNamara was never for that war. The Oval Office tapes of Johnson and recorded phone calls of Kennedy, make that clear. I thought it was bunk that Kennedy was not planning to expand the war and that it was only the assination led to 500,000 men ending up in country. Now I am reasonably convinced that it was true.

At this point, my emotions begin to cloud my thinking. My turn in this adventure came from 1969-1971. Though trained as a combat engineer and scheduled for OCS at Ft. Benning (that's infantry folks) I was through a series of circumstances not sent to Vietnam. I remember very well how adamently opposed to that war I was though I served. So, to hear how folks were thinking on the inside was important to me.

I think on balance McNamara was right. Vietnam violated all the rules that guide when one uses military force. We got involved in a revolution and were involved on the wrong side. Diem, the president we suported before we aided in his assination, followed a few short weeks later by Kenndy's own assination, was a French speaking Roman Catholic who had supported the colonial French against an indiginous fight for independence. We simply were blind to what was motivating the Vietnamese. By stepping into that situation, we were perceived as the successor colonial power to the French. We failed to see things through the enemy's eyes. There was no way the Vietnamese were going to quit short of victory or total defeat. They had not thrown off the French and Japanese only to have us take their place. This is key to McNamara's look back. The war was a mistake, an honorable mistake, but a mistake.

I loathed McNamara during the Johnson years. It was my impression he was part of the problem. He was part of the problem. 50,000 Americans are dead in part because of the things he did, or at least 25,000 as that was how many were killed before he left the Johnson administration. If he felt as he did as early as he did, he should have done the honorable thing and resigned.

We have rules of honor for a reason, they work.

Likewise we have guidelines as to when to use force. One of those guidelines, according to McNamara, is to not go to war with someone whose motives you do not understand. Without understanding their motives, you will never know what the enemy will do next. Nor will you get a clear idea as to your chances of succeeding. This is not the sort of touchy/feely understanding of which John Kerry (who served in Vietnam - ha!) spoke during the presidential campaign. It is the cold-eyed steely understanding of what drives, as Patton might have said, the other son-of-a-bitch.

Yes, McNamara had his faults, I give you the F-111. But his un-apologetic clear look back is more than worth listening to. He has things to say from which we can learn even if we disagree with him.

Thanks for the excellent comment and feel free to respond in the comments section below, or by sending an email to rovianconspiracy "at" charter "dot" net.