Saturday, October 04, 2003

A couple of quick points:

Re the Schwarzenegger article in the Los Angeles Times about his behavior towards women on the movie set (and elsewhere):
We were struck by the following sentence -

The Times did not learn of any of the six women from Schwarzenegger's rivals in the recall race. And none of the women approached the newspaper on her own. Reporters contacted them in the course of a seven-week examination of Schwarzenegger's behavior toward women on and off the movie set.

Okay, no rivals in the race were involved. Presumably that refers to all the candidates on the 2nd part of the ballot - who is to be governor if the recall succeeds. But it's unclear if the Times learned of any of the six women from the Davis organization, or from the No On Recall organization(s).
Re Joe Wilson:
Some defenders of the Bush administration over the Plame scandal like to point out that former ambassador Wilson didn't provide a written report, implying that his whole mission was peripheral to the inquiry, unprofessional, or some such thing. But here is what Wilson had to say on Nightliine this week about the process -

WILSON: Before I left [Niger], I briefed the ambassador, I also briefed somebody else at the mission of what I'd found, which essentially tracked what [the ambassador] had found. I flew back to Washington. I had to leave on a business trip the next day, so somebody from the CIA, a reports officer, came out and took verbatim notes of everything I had to say (which is the way they do it). He then crafted that into "CIA language", and circulated it.

This got us thinking. Might the CIA prefer that people not write up - and store on their PCs - information that they would prefer to keep (physically) within the organization? Is a reports officer skilled in obtaining critical information (dates, places) that a self-generated report might leave out? Is there an advantage to a "memory dump" from an envoy, which presumably is just a mess of facts, which can be analyzed like everything else (satellite photos) by the agency?

We don't know the answers, but it seems clear that disparaging Wilson's report because it wasn't written is mostly an irrelevant debating point.


Friday, October 03, 2003

Charting the decline:

The folks over at have crunched the numbers and come up with a chart of Bush's standing in the polls while president. They have generously allowed us to post it here at uggabugga:


Earth to Uggabugga:

We have added a contact e-mail to our template. It is at the top of the page.


3,678 words compressed into one table:

From the Los Angeles Times story about Schwarzenegger

When Who Age at time     Claim Where Told to / witnessed by Rebuttal
1975 E. Laine Stockton 19   wife of professional bodybuilder reached under T-shirt, touched bare left breast Gold's Gym husband  
1980   22   former pro beach volleyball player "grabbed and squeezed" left breast a Santa Monica street sister  
late 1980s   ~32   secretary slipped left hand under skirt and grabbed right buttock Columbia Pictures lot boss  
late 1990   28   crew member groped elevator in hotel where the cast and crew were staying boss, husband  
late 1990   ~23   crew member pulled on to his lap, asked "Have you ever had a man slide his tongue in your [anus]?" shooting "Terminator 2 family member  
2000 Anna Richardson 29   British television host circled left nipple with finger a suite at the Dorchester Hotel in London   Richardson provocatively approached Schwarzenegger, cupped right breast in her right hand and said, "What do you think of these?", sat on his lap


Headlines: (from Google News' first page of results for the Kay report)
No illegal weapons found in Iraq, US investigator says   San Francisco Chronicle, CA
No weapons found in Iraq, report says   San Jose Mercury News, CA
US report finds no illicit arms   Boston Globe, MA
6 months later, Iraqi arms elusive   Arizona Republic, AZ
Iraq: US Inspector Says No WMD Found   Radio Free Europe
Weapons team seeks more time   Seattle Post Intelligencer, WA
'No WMD' found in Iraq   CNN International
US weapons hunters are re-examining the only discovery the Bush.... [about the 2 trailers]   Boston Globe, MA
US Weapons Inspector: No Banned Weapons Found in Iraq Yet   Voice of America
'We found nothing, despite Saddam's ambitions'   Independent, UK
Iraq investigator tells legislators no WMD   United Press International
Searcher finds no WMD in Iraq   Atlanta Journal Constitution, GA
No Illicit Arms Found in Iraq, US Inspector Tells Congress   New York Times
Hard-Charging Kay Takes Heat on WMD Issue   Kansas City Star, MO
US-Led Team Says No WMD Stocks Found in Iraq   Reuters, UK
No Weapons Found Yet   ABC News
No WMD in Iraq: US search chief   Toronto Star, Canada


A change for the Golden State?



NOTE: Sure, it's a cheap shot. But we couldn't resist the opportunity this story provided.


Thursday, October 02, 2003

A quick thought:

We eagerly await the full story about Rush Limbaugh and his alleged pill-popping. But at this early stage we feel compelled to note that when we first saw the slimmed-down Rush we were astonished. (That was, what, five years ago?) At the time there was something unnatural about him. Hard to quantify, but he did not look like a former fat guy who hit the treadmill and ate only small portions. We were in the same state of mind that we had a decade ago while reading Stephen Glass' made up stories in the New Republic. Something isn't quite right, but you aren't quite sure what. Only later when the truth gets out does it all make sense.


Screenshot: (From Rush Limbaugh's website)


Wednesday, October 01, 2003

Threat matrix: (for the Plame scandal)




Too complicated / too many facts Reynolds weblog
  Volokh weblog
Doesn't make any sense Sullivan weblog
  Reynolds weblog
Wilson is partisan / far-left May National Review
  Podhoretz New York Post
Not a "leak", but arose in conversation Robbins National Review
Nobody called Novak with the tip Robbins National Review
  Hannity radio
White House didn't leak (according to Novak) Limbaugh radio
Rove wasn't involved McClennan White House
Explains why "unreliable" Wilson went to Niger (CIA/Plame responsible) Podhoretz New York Post
Not an "operative" or "agent", but an "analyst" Robbins National Review
(usually citing Novak), Luskin weblog
or not sure if she was covert Sullivan weblog
or not covert abroad Limbaugh website
  Boot Los Angeles Times
Lots of folks knew Plame was CIA Robbins National Review
  Novak column
  May National Review
Not a risk to Plame because she's not posted overseas Reynolds weblog
Wilson is not in danger Limbaugh website
It's a partisan issue Hannity radio
  Reynolds weblog
Outing CIA happens 50 times a year, no big deal Limbaugh radio
Plame's name was in the public domain Limbaugh radio
(usually listed as wife of Wilson) Limbaugh website
  Luskin weblog
"Manufactured" scandal / outrage Limbaugh website
  Robbins National Review
  Reynolds weblog
Paying attention to Plame undermines war on terrorism editors New York Post
  Hannity radio
Wilson was a bad choice to investigate Niger story Robbins National Review
(incompetent, unqualified, or untrustworthy) May National Review
  Reynolds weblog
Wilson is a jerk Sullivan weblog
It's Wilson's fault (for making such a fuss about the Niger issue) Levin National Review
Wilson lied when he said his mission was a request by Cheney May National Review
CIA participated in exposing Plame Luskin weblog
This is minor, real scandal is CIA intelligence failures Boot Los Angeles Times
Wilson's whole act is a fraud Podhoretz New York Post
OBSERVATION: So far, the only big name media outlet putting up much of a defense is the National Review (but we'll be on the lookout for more and update the table when appropriate). UPDATE: Which we have just done.

NOTE OF THANKS: We couldn't have done this without tapping into the resources provided by Calpundit, Mark A. R. Kleiman, and Josh Marshall's Talking Points Memo. (That's what weblogs are good for!)


A Murdoch paper weighs in:

From today's editorial on the Plame scandal in the New York Post: (excerpts, emphasis added)
... president Bush has promised to "get to the bottom of" the matter and hold to account those responsible.

We believe him.
Take Joseph Wilson, the former Clinton national-security official. Wilson touched off the whole story when he charged that the White House had ignored him when he said reports claiming Iraq had tried to buy uranium in Africa were unsubstantiated.
The CIA operative, whom Novak has identified as an analyst - not a field operative or spy - working on weapons of mass destruction, is Wilson's wife, Valerie Plame.
Wilson - a harsh Bush critic with ties to far-left organizations and publications ...
Then there's Wilson's claim that he was specifically sent to Africa last year on Vice President Dick Cheney's orders to investigate the Iraq-uranium claim.

Cheney says he knew nothing about Wilson's mission until it became public knowledge.
It's been suggested that Plame may have pressed the CIA to select Wilson for the investigation - which certainly would make her agency ties relevant, at the very least, and not the kind of malicious payback that's been suggested.
Make no mistake, though - this "scandal" is but one more effort in an ongoing fight:

First, to undermine and derail the president's War on Terror.

Second, to defeat Bush at the polls next November


Tuesday, September 30, 2003


In the two posts below, we gave them the title "Can you smell the fear?", which was our reaction to hearing both Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity. Unlike their usual, confident demeanor, they seemed to us to be frantic when discussing the Plame scandal. Unfortunately, that excitable tone is not easy to pick up when reading the transcripts. But it's there (especially for Hannity).


Can you smell the fear? (part 2)

This was a call in Limbaugh's 3rd hour: (there were several times when crosstalk made it difficult to hear what was said)
LIMBAUGH: Before moving on let me get this call from Amityville, New York. It's Frank. Welcome Frank, I'm glad you held on through the break.

FRANK: Yeah Rush, I want to say something. I object to the fact that you're treating the act of outing the cover of a CIA spy as a nothing. I think it was a dastardly act. The person who did it put the woman and her informants in danger. It was obviously used to threaten anyone who might disagree with the administration. You say the investigation would take a year or more. Why?

LIMBAUGH: Wait, wait, wait. Hold it. Wait a minute. Just a second. I did not say - I am the one starting yesterday Frank -

FRANK: You said it would take the prosecutor a year. I just heard you.

LIMBAUGH: Will you let me finish. I'm the one who knows where my sentences are going. I said yesterday and today that it is serious and that Bush had better treat it as such or else conservatives will be upset with him for the law has been broken here. I am not treating this as something unserious and trying to sweep it under the rug. What I am saying is that the guy who got all this started, Robert Novak, has now come out and said he didn't get the leak from the White House. It didn't come from the Bush administration. Where ever it came from, it's not there. The Democrats are paying no attention to that and they are focusing on the White House and on Bush and now they want an independent prosecutor, council, to find out. There is really no story beyond that.

FRANK: Well, somebody's got to be caught doing this. It was a terrible thing that was done. And it must have been done by somebody very highly -

LIMBAUGH: I just had a story. It happens fifty times a year.

FRANK: (unintelligible)

LIMBAUGH: Yes, the Justice Department is asked by the CIA fifty times a year to investigate such leaks.

FRANK: But this was obviously to threaten Wilson and anyone else who would do it.

LIMBAUGH: His own biography mentions his wife's name. It wasn't Novak that divulged anything that wasn't already known. By the way, you said this was a dastardly deed. A dastardly act. And listen to this quote from New York senator Chuck Shumer. "There is a clear conflict of interest for the Justice Department. What's gone on in this case is one of the most dastardly, despicable things I've seen in my more than twenty years in Washington, and speaks to the lengths that some will go to stifle dissent." Holy smoley! So this is the worst that he's seen? One of the most dastardly, despicable things? Frank, is that where you got the word "dastardly" because you heard Chuck Shumer use it?

FRANK: No, I came up with it myself. I didn't hear Chuck Shumer say that.

LIMBAUGH: I don't believe you.

FRANK: You may not but (unintelligible)

LIMBAUGH: Well who would come up with this word? This is not a word that the normal, average person would (unintelligible)

FRANK: (unintelligible)

LIMBAUGH: No, you heard Shumer say this. I can tell.

FRANK: No, I can see why he used it. That's exactly what it came to me. How dastardly could it be?

LIMBAUGH: It's not dastardly, that's why.

FRANK: Risking a person's life?

LIMBAUGH: This doesn't approach Watergate. This doesn't go beyond Watergate. This happens fifty times a year. This doesn't approach the level of seriousness you think it is.

FRANK: No, it's not Watergate, it's (unintelligible) all his buddies.

LIMBAUGH: This does not rise to the level of dastardly.

FRANK: (laughs)

LIMBAUGH: It simply doesn't. You know, you guys, you're just dying out there. You're just hoping it becomes this, but it's not.

FRANK: Why was it done? Answer me that Rush.

LIMBAUGH: I don't know yet why it was done. You think it was done to put her life in danger?

FRANK: Rushie, you can tell us (unintelligible)

LIMBAUGH: If you want me to guess? I'll be happy to guess. But you tell me, why do you think it was done? You think it was done to put this woman's life in danger?

FRANK: I think it was done to show that if you mess with this administration and disagree with it, you're going to pay the price.

LIMBAUGH: The administration didn't leak it.

FRANK: I didn't say the White House did. Someone who is very well connected had to. It wasn't something that came (unintelligible)


LIMBAUGH: It could have come from the CIA, Frank.

FRANK: Then why did they ask them to investigate it?

LIMBAUGH: I'm just saying it could have come from the CIA. In fact, it might have. It may well have come from the CIA.

FRANK: Well then the FBI better get on it and find out.

LIMBAUGH: The FBI, Interpol, and Independent Council Inspector Clouseau, let's get everybody on this.

FRANK: Well, it's quite easy if six reporters were contacted, you just go ask them. I mean it's not -

LIMBAUGH: Why won't Wilson tell us who those reporters are?

FRANK: Well, go to the Washington Post, they weem to know it.

LIMBAUGH: So why won't anybody tell us who they are? What's the need to keep them secret?

FRANK: Well, if this act has been done, and it's breaking the law, the FBI should investigate it. Maybe it is the CIA. That makes the CIA in charge of a cover-up (unintelligible)

LIMBAUGH: Yeah, people would love that if the CIA (unintelligible)

FRANK: I think it's a dastardly act, that's all.

LIMBAUGH: It's a dastardly act. It's devilishly dastardly. It's horrible. It's rotten. It's the worst thing that's ever happened in Washington. We've got to get to the bottom of it, otherwise our democracy might not survive.

And Frank's gone. Hello? Hello? Testing, Frank. Hello?

He hung up.

He said dastardly on the way out.

Some real dastardly dastards. They're on the prowl out there.

You want to talk about dastardly? How about advising and consenting on judges? How about dastardly being filibustering judicial nominees, Frankie? How about dastardly being the shredding of the Constitution. Everybody knows that it is a simple majority vote that confirms judicial nominees to courts. In the appellate court, the district court, the Supreme Court. And yet the Democrats filibustered. Miguel Estrada was confirmed to the D.C. court of appeals by - By less than four times he got well over fifty-one, but he's not on the court because they filibustered and he needed sixty. Not in the Constitution. Rather dastardly.

Accusing the president of fraud. That's sort of dastardly, don't you think? Let's have an independent council investigation into Chappaquiddick. Let's have an investigation here of Ted Kennedy who'se accusing this president of making it all up in Texas. The whole war with Iraq was a fraud. Nothing more than a political tool. So says Ted Kennedy. That's pretty dastardly if you ask me. Calling the president a miserable failure in the midst of a war where American soldiers are dying. I'd say that's pretty dastardly, Frank.

Saying "Don't question my patriotism". When you bash the president on the war. You spent three years bashing the president for everything else. You're trying to redefine patriotism so that it is not what it genuinely is. You want patriotism to be redefined as nothing more than the attacking of the president during war. That's pretty dastardly to me, Frank.

And Hillary holding up the cover of the New York Post on the floor of the Senate - that cover said "Bush knew" that 9/11 was going to happen in advance. And Hillary Clinton saying "What did he know and when did he know it?" That's pretty dastardly, Frank. The Democrats in this country accusing George Bush of knowing the 9/11 attack was going to happen beforehand and letting it happen. That's pretty dastardly, folks.

I can give you ongoing lists of true dastardly things by a bunch of genuine dastards. And not one of them would include a leak of the name of a woman whose name was already in the public domain.

Why was it in the public domain? Because her name was on her husband's biography.

It's not dastardly. You people are grasping at straws. You're reaching.

And I know this is just the first phase of this. There's going to be more to come.

And how about refusing three times when the Sudanese offered Osama bin Laden to the Clinton administration? The Clinton administration turned down that invitation, that offer, three times. Osama bin Laden could have been in one of our jails, but no, he was free to roam the plains, the hills, the caves, of wherever, to plot what happened on 9/11. Pretty dastardly, Frank.

And let's see, who was it that was actually sanctioned and kicked off the Senate Intelligence Committee for leaking information about our administration and country to Lybia. Or to somebody ti the press about Lybia. None other than Patrick Leahy. Pretty dastardly, Frank. And as we've documented already today, the Torch - Bob Toricelli, leaking information that was classified. Pretty dastardly. What do the Democrats do in those cases? Just ignore it. Try to say it was no big deal. And by the way, folks, can I remind you of this. When the Kenneth Starr Independent Councsel, Lewinsky, Whitewater and all that, was all wrapped up, remember the Democrats and the Republicans - but the Democrats talking how they aren't going to renew the Independent Counsel law. They're not going to do it. And both parties agreed, no more Independent Counsel. Things got out of hand.

Guess they changed their mind overnight. Guess they changed their minds over the weekend 'cause they're out there demanding an Independent Counsel, after just two or three years ago, essentially saying they wanted no part anymore of Independent Counsels.

Why, there's a lot of pretty dastardly stuff going on out there, Frank.

But it ain't this leak.

Dastardly? Bit of a stretch.
NOTE: To reassure readers that the transcript above is accurate, we make the audio available for a limited time (about one week) here. It is a 5.8 meg .wav file (8bit, 8KHz sample rate, mono).

UPDATE: This exchange is featured on Rush Limbaugh's website, on a page entitled Want Some Examples Of Dastardly, Frankie?


Can you smell the fear?

This was the opening ten-minute monologue by Sean Hannity at the beginning of his 2nd hour: (no emphasis added, even though he was strident throughout)
Hello. How are you. Welcome aboard. Thank you for tuning in. Glad you're with us. Write down our toll-free telephone number. By the way Tom McClintock was going to be on today but had to get on a plane. He's going to be on tomorrow. And we look forward to that. 800-941-SEAN if you want to be part of the program.

We've got to deal with this last caller.

I'm telling you what's going on here is Democrats and they're lying and saying oh I'm a conservative, I'm a Reagan guy. Every time I hear that I want to puke 'cause I know it's a lie. I just don't believe these people.

But with all that said and done, it doesn't matter. Robert Novak could not have been more clear in what it was that he was trying to say. "Nobody in the Bush administration called me to leak this."

Let me just repeat, "Nobody in the Bush administration". Here he is, a reporter, in that statement he is denying it was the White House. He does say, "I was interviewing a senior administration official". "Administration" being the entire government of George W. Bush, but not the White House. He was crystal clear in saying that it was not the White House.

The allegation about the White House is absolutely, fundamentally inaccurate. Not true. The executive branch. And he's clear in what he's saying when he's saying it wasn't that, in other words. And on the other side of this he's not going to give up his sources. This guy's been a reporter now for forty-plus years. He's not going to go out there and give up his sources and say who told him what.

Now look, if Andrea Mitchell is one of the quote "six reporters" Joe Wilson keeps telling us about, if there are five others that he can name, well let's get on with it. Because this can all be resolved in five minutes. All they have to do is come out and say who the person was that called them. There's no confidential source there. If somebody is peddling some type of story or some type of smear campaign - if in fact that were true - we'll let's get it on the record. All they have to do is go on the record and say who it was that called them from the White House and the issue is going to be solved. But I'm telling you, I don't think they'll be able to do it, because it's that simple and if they could do it they would do it. And if it was Karl Rove, it would have been out by now.

It's not Karl Rove in spite of the allegations by Joe Wilson and everybody.

Folks, if you sense frustration in my voice, this is cumulative for me. And we have now been bombarded with months of this nonstop Hate-George-W-Bush-campaign. I am sick of him being called a gang leader. I'm sick of him being called a liar. I am sick of being told that he intentionally lied to the American people. I am sick of them saying that somehow we have failed in Iraq. I'm sick of them saying we've failed in Afghanistan. I am sick of them saying this country is in an economic mess when in fact the numbers keep reinforcing the aspect that we're going to have unprecedented growth in the final quarter of this year and into next year. I am just sick and tired of what you are witnessing here is a non-stop political campaign. And sadly, there are some people out there - probably not in this audience - the weak minded among us that whenever the propaganda gets retched up into whatever extent, they want to buy into the big lie.

You are looking at a non story.

The person responsible for breaking the story has confirmed it has not come from the White House. What part of that does not the media and the liberals in the Congress and in the Senate understand?

They're trying to score political points, just like Ted Kennedy is trying to score political points when he comes up with a big black helicopters theory that, in fact, "This war was concocted in Texas because the administration wanted to score political points". How does he get away with that madness? That is insanity. And the fact that he himself has talked in the past about the nature of the threat of nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons in the hands of Saddam Hussein.

The fact that these guys are so concerned about leaks from the White House and smear campaigns - they were silent when they went after Paula Jones and released her tax returns; Linda Tripp, when they released her personnel file; Kathleen Wiley when they released her personal correspondence to the president. None of those things mattered in the least to those people.

Yet now this has taken on a significance and importance that we need independent council after independent council.

Do you not see how transparent this is? Do you not see what it is at work here? Do you not see the campaign that has been orchestrated here? Do you not concede there has been a propaganda assault against this president because they cannot stand him. They've underestimated him. He has beaten them at every turn. The economy is turning around. He's won two wars in record time. Their predictions at every single level, every single step of the way, have been as wrong as they ever have been. And they don't want to admit they are on the wrong side of history, so this is all we've got left. This is all this party has left. Do you understand there is hardly a single substantive idea that we ever hear from these guys anymore.

How are they going to deal in a post-9/11 world, with the threat of radical Islam. The threat of fundamentalism. The threat of terrorism. What is their plan? If all they have is criticism for this president, what would they do differently? What are they going to do better on the economy besides take back your tax cut?

It is ... and I'm going to tell ya, before it is said and done, folks, there is so much at stake in this election it is only going to get worse and this is just the beginning. It's just the beginning.

And I'm going to have to find a way to reach down deep inside me and gather a little bit more patience, 'cause I've frankly had it.

We're at a point in our history where we ought to be united. We're at a point in our history where you'd like to think people understand what it is that's at stake here. We're at a point in history where - by golly - two years ago the nation came under fire in a way we never dreamed possible. And they weren't attacking liberals or conservatives, Republicans or Democrats, white, black, Hispanic. They were attacking Americans. And the idea that we don't unite even after that attack is just one sad reality, that after the president did what he had to do to combat this. He is under fire for the steps and the measures taken. That is a sad thing.

How does any American president deal with future threats, knowing what is waiting for him politically on the other side - even if he's successful. Forget about if he failed. I mean there were great risks associated with the attack against Iraq. Everything could have gone wrong. Thousands could have been dead. Chemical weapons could have been used. Perhaps even a nuke could have been dropped. Who knows? But none of that happened. We did it in record time with a minimum of casualties. We're still cleaning up the mess but life is getting back to normal - slowly but surely. And people have been freed.

But people won't recognize and give the president credit even on this. "Well, where's Osama? We didn't get Osama so he can't be successful. Saddam isn't dead, he can't be successful."

You know, what are we going to do? How does the president take further risks? What are we going to do now that Iran is now clearly building a nuclear bomb? What are we going to do? Is the president going to lay all his political capital on the line again so that he can be called a liar? So he'll be accused of concocting this in Texas? So he can bribe other nations? So he could do all these things? How do we expect him to deal with the nature of the threat when all he's going to get as a result is one political attack after another, and watch the American people's support wither away. Because clearly, there's a percentage of people in this country influenced by the non-stop haranguing and harping and demonization and propaganda and misinformation put out by liberals. It is beyond frustrating. It is sad because the risk of inaction here folks, means that our way of life is put in further jeopardy. Do you know what this does to embolden terrorists around the world, knowing that they can divide this country as strongly as they see us presently divided? Knowing that there is a battle and a struggle about whether of not we're going to confront them? Whether or not we have the will and the desire to defeat them?

It is clear in this country we do not have - there is a party, there is a group of people that do not deserve to be in power. They must be defeated politically, because if they are not it is our entire way of life that is ultimately put in jeopardy. Do you not see that? It's frustrating. I'm going to build up my patience. I have the capacity, I've done it before. Every once in a while it hits a breaking point with me and I just can't take it any more.

800-941-SEAN is our toll-free telephone number if you want to be a part of the program.
NOTE: To reassure readers that the transcript above is accurate, we make the audio available for a limited time (about one week) here. It is a 4.6 meg .wav file (8bit, 8KHz sample rate, mono).


Mosh pit:

There are plenty of arrows flying this way and that over the Plame scandal, and things are moving fast so it's hard to keep up to date. But you should check out Mark A. R. Kleiman's post about the muted response by the right. He's debating bloggers Instapundit and Yousefzadeh, and evaluating Clifford May's article.

Also, don't miss Sully Watch's critical review of Sullivan on the same topic.

And of course, Calpundit has a good post on the various arguments being used by conservatives to minimize the scandal, and observes that in many instances what is being argued about (by conservatives) "doesn't matter anymore".

N.B.: It is a scandal, not an affair.


Monday, September 29, 2003

Limbaugh on the Plame scandal:

Rush on Monday (from his website): (excerpts, emphasis added)
The media, Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and others are salivating over the manufactured story about the supposed leaking of former ambassador Joe Wilson's wife's name by the White House. Yet Wilson is not objective. He's an anti-Bush member of the pro-Saudi Middle East Institute, which wanted to end the no-fly zones allowing Saddam to slaughter the Kurds and Shiites - and it was known his wife worked for the CIA!

Despite the previously manufactured charge that this White House is "secretive," nothing in this administration's performance indicates it hides anything.
Manufactured story?   Supposed leaking?   How will Limbaugh be able to defend that claim after reading this in tomorrow's Washington Post:
Another journalist yesterday confirmed receiving a call from an administration official providing the same information about Wilson's wife before the Novak column appeared on July 14 in The Post and other newspapers.

The journalist, who asked not to be identified because of possible legal ramifications, said that the information was provided as part of an effort to discredit Wilson, but that the CIA information was not treated as especially sensitive. "The official I spoke with thought this was a part of Wilson's story that wasn't known and cast doubt on his whole mission," the person said, declining to identify the official he spoke with. "They thought Wilson was having a good ride and this was part of Wilson's story."
And for fans of The Paranoid Style in American Politics, check this out from another Limbaugh commentary: (excerpts, emphasis added)
Joe Wilson ... has fed this conspiracy theory that the White House leaked his CIA operative wife's name to discredit him and endanger her.

Don't jump to conclusions on this Wilson thing, because I think some of you are going to be very surprised when we get to the bottom of it. What do I mean by that? Well, we know that there are a number of Clinton administration holdovers in the Bush administration - particularly in the State Department. Bush has not cleaned them out.


Think about it:


Good news?

This was said on the Chris Matthew's Show a couple of days ago:
BYRON YORK: There are reports coming out of Iraq that things are getting better.

CHRIS MATTHEWS: Let's let this poll make your point. A recent poll done in Baghdad by the Gallup organization has two-thirds of the Iraqi people who were interviewed saying it was good to get rid of Saddam despite all the carnage since.

Yes folks, it's good news that only 30% of the Iraqis surveyed think it was a bad idea to get rid of Saddam. Thirty percent of 24,683,313 is 7.4 million. That's a lot of people who - apparently - don't like the changes the U.S. is responsible for. And not a few are willing to fight back.

NOTE: The poll is clearly one that has to be taken with several grains of salt. Some people, intimidated by the U.S. presence, might be inclined to say it's good Saddam is gone. Some people, worried about Saddam loyalists, might be inclined to say it's bad Saddam is gone. And the poll was taken in Baghdad. But thirty percent is a pretty big number. Even if it is reduced to 5%, you've got a lot of unhappy Iraqis out there (one million). This seems obvious, but Matthews looks past that to focus on the 62% that are happy about regime change.

UPDATE: It's worse than we suspected. From the Washington Post, Data Reveal Inaccuracies in Portrayal of Iraqis: (excerpt, emphasis added)
    ... in testimony before Congress, L. Paul Bremer III, the U.S. administrator in Iraq, and Deputy Defense Secretary Paul D. Wolfowitz both cited a recent Gallup Poll that found that almost two-thirds of those polled in Baghdad said it was worth the hardships suffered since the U.S.-led invasion ousted Saddam Hussein.< Bremer also told Congress that 67 percent thought that in five years they would be better off, and only 11 percent thought they would be worse off.
    That same poll, however, found that, countrywide, only 33 percent thought they were better off than they were before the invasion and 47 percent said they were worse off. And 94 percent said that Baghdad was a more dangerous place for them to live, a finding the administration officials did not discuss.
    The poll also found that 29 percent of Baghdad residents had a favorable view of the United States, while 44 percent had a negative view. By comparison, 55 percent had a favorable view of France.
    Similarly, half of Baghdad residents had a negative view of President Bush, while 29 percent had a favorable view of him. In contrast, French President Jacques Chirac drew a 42 percent favorable rating.


Sunday, September 28, 2003

On Fox News Sunday we heard a familiar refrain:
UPDATE: To save you time opening and reading the Fox webpage, here is the key exchange:
HUME: Former Ambassador Joseph Wilson, who was asked to inquire in Africa about what Saddam Hussein might have been doing there in terms of acquiring nuclear materials, ended up with his wife's name in the paper as a CIA person. There are now suggestions that the name and her identity and her CIA work had been revealed by the White House. What do you know about that?

RICE: I know nothing of any such White House effort to reveal any of this, and it certainly would not be the way that the president would expect his White House to operate.
FURTHER UPDATE: From the Meet the Press transcript:
MR. RUSSERT: Ambassador Joe Wilson was sent over to Niger by the CIA to look into this whole matter of selling uranium to Iraq. He came back with a report which was given to the administration. Then there was an article by columnist Robert Novak which cited two administration sources and identified Ambassador Wilson’s wife by name. She was an undercover agent at the CIA. There is now an investigation. The CIA has requested the Justice Department to look into this. It’s a crime to identify an undercover agent. And in this article in today’s Washington Post, a senior administration official said that White House officials called six reporters to identify, to out, if you will, Joe Wilson’s wife. What can you tell us about that?

DR. RICE: Tim, I know nothing about any such calls, and I do know that the president of the United States would not expect his White House to behave in that way.


Memories ...

From Condoleezza Rice's appearance on Meet the Press:
MR. RUSSERT: How’d [the uranium from Niger claim] get back in [the State of the Union address]?

DR. RICE: It’s not a matter of getting back in. It’s a matter, Tim, that three-plus months later, people didn’t remember that George Tenet had asked that it be taken out of the Cincinnati speech and then it was cleared by the agency. I didn’t remember. Steve Hadley didn’t remember. We are trying to put now in place methods so you don’t have to be dependent on people’s memories for something like that.

MR. RUSSERT: Did you ever read the memo that I referenced?

DR. RICE: I don’t remember the memo.