Thursday, 07 June 2007

PARDONING LEWIS LIBBY

Ken Berwitz

Do you know who Victoria Toensing is?

She is a highly successful lawyer and was at one time in the justice department.  She was one of the authors of the law regarding covert agents, that patrick fitzgerald abused in the course of his years-long witchhunt...the one that nailed no one but Lewis Libby. 

Understandably, Ms Toensing is outraged at this conviction.  And here is her explanation of why:

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Pardon is only remedy

By Victoria Toensing

Libby is victim of over-zealous prosecutor; he should be freed.

Patrick Fitzgerald abused his prosecutorial powers when he indicted Scooter Libby for a faulty memory. The only remedy is a presidential pardon.

From the day he took office as the unsupervised special counsel, Fitzgerald knew that Richard Armitage had first revealed to Robert Novak the fact that the spouse of administration critic Joe Wilson worked at the CIA. He also knew that Libby had never spoken to Novak about Valerie Plame.

Any non-obsessed prosecutor would have closed the investigation at that moment. But Fitzgerald has a thing about leaks. He once threatened to indict an FBI agent for a leak to ABC on no more evidence than that the agent had a friend at the network. There is no adult supervision for a special counsel, so the Plame leak investigation continued.

Fitzgerald learned early on that no one who discussed Plame's CIA connection was ever warned she was covert. Thus, an element necessary for indictment knowledge was absent. If there had been knowledge of this fact, Armitage would have been indicted. But Fitzgerald claimed he had to continue the investigation because he was looking for a conspiracy to reveal Plame's identity. Of course, Armitage and the vice president's office barely spoke and rarely agreed. Conspiring was not a factor in their relationship.

Fitzgerald excused others whose sworn-to memories were as bad, if not worse, than Libby's. Ari Fleischer, former White House spokesman, testified he had not told Washington Post reporter Walter Pincus that Wilson's wife worked at the CIA. Pincus swore he did and had his notes to prove it. Fleischer had immunity, but not from false testimony.

Fitzgerald called a news conference on the date of Libby's indictment and violated prosecutorial ethics by talking beyond the four corners of the written charges. Knowing full well there was no underlying crime, he hinted that Libby prevented him from finding one, even suggesting criminality by Dick Cheney. "There's a cloud over the vice president," he later said. How so? There was no crime to cloud over.

Our government is premised on checks and balances on the theory that unfettered power can be abused. Fitzgerald's abuse must now be checked. Mr. President, pardon Scooter Libby.

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Ms. Toensing is a pretty smart lady. And she has it dead-on correct.

If Richard Armitage, the guy who actually DID leak plame's name, could not be prosecuted, who could?  And if determining who leaked plame's name was the purpose of the investigation, why did it continue beyond the point when fitzgerald knew it was Armitage.

I don't use the term "witchhunt" a lot.  But this is what a witchhunt is. 

I hope Mr. Libby is pardoned....and fitzgerald is hauled in front of a jury to explain why he spent all that time and all that taxpayers' money, on something he already knew.


JOEL KLEIN NOTICES THE LEFTWING BLOGOSPHERE

Ken Berwitz

Do I generally agree with Joel Klein?  Nope.

Do I agree with what Mr. Klein says about the Bush administration in his Time article, which I am posting below?  Nope.

But despite this, it is refreshing, even inspiring in a way, to see a hardline liberal like Klein admitting to the insanity of some leftwing blogsites.  As readers of hopelesslypartisan.com know, I've talked about this many times.  But this is the first time I've seen someone this prominent from the left side of the aisle admit it. 

Here is Mr. Klein's article.  -

Wednesday, Jun. 06, 2007

Beware the Bloggers' Bile

A strange thing happened to me the day the House of Representatives voted to pass the Iraq-war-funding bill. Congresswoman Jane Harman of California called as the debate was taking place. "Look, I would love to have cast a vote against Bush on this," she told me. "We need a new strategy, and I hope we can force one in September. But I flew into Baghdad [with 150 young soldiers recently]. To vote against this bill was to vote against giving them the equipment... they need. I couldn't do that." I posted what Harman said on Swampland, the political blog at Time.com, along with my opinion that Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama had changed their positions and voted against the funding for the worst possible reason: presidential politics.

And then Harman changed her position. After we spoke, she voted against the funding. The next day, I was blasted by a number of left-wing bloggers: Klein screwed up! I had quoted Harman in the past tensecommon usage for politicians who know their words will appear after a vote takes place. That was sloppy and... suspicious! Proof that you just can't trust the mainstream media. On Eschaton, a blog that specializes in media bashing, I was given the coveted "Wanker of the Day" award. Eventually, Harman got wind of this and called, unbidden, to apologize for misleading me, saying I had quoted her correctly but she had changed her mind to reflect the sentiments of her constituents. I published her statement and still got hammered by bloggers and Swampland commenters for "stalking" Harman into an apology, for not checking her vote in the Congressional Record, for being a "water boy for the right wing" and many other riffs unfit to print.

This is not the first time this kind of free-range lunacy has been visited upon me. Indeed, it happens, oh, once a week to each of us who post on Swampland (Karen Tumulty, Jay Carney and Ana Marie Cox are the others). A reasonable reader might ask, Why are the left-wing bloggers attacking you? Aren't you pretty tough on the Bush Administration? Didn't you write a few months ago that George W. Bush would be remembered as one of the worst Presidents in history? And why on earth does any of this matter?

First, let me say that I really enjoy blogging. It's a brilliant format for keeping readers up to date on the things I care aboutand for exchanging information with them. I recently asked Swampland readers with military experience to comment on whether it was General David Petraeus' "duty" to tell the unvarnished truth about Iraq when he testifies on Capitol Hill in September. About a dozen readers responded with links to treatises about "duty" in various military journals. Furthermore, I've found that some great reporting takes place in the blogosphere: Juan Cole's Iraq updates are invaluable, Joshua Micah Marshall's Talking Points Memo did serious muckraking about the U.S. attorneys scandal, and Ezra Klein (no relation) is excellent on health care. I love linking to smart work by others, something you just can't do in a print column.

But the smart stuff is being drowned out by a fierce, bullying, often witless tone of intolerance that has overtaken the left-wing sector of the blogosphere. Anyone who doesn't move in lockstep with the most extreme voices is savaged and ridiculedespecially people like me who often agree with the liberal position but sometimes disagree and are therefore considered traitorously unreliable. Some of this is understandable: the left-liberals in the blogosphere are merely aping the odious, disdainfuland politically successfultone that right-wing radio talk-show hosts like Rush Limbaugh pioneered. They are also justifiably furious at a Bush White House that has specialized in big lies and smear tactics.

And that is precisely the danger here. Fury begets fury. Poison from the right-wing talk shows seeped into the Republican Party's bloodstream and sent that party off the deep end. Limbaugh's showwhere Dick Cheney frequently expatiateshas become the voice of the Republican establishment. The same could happen to the Democrats. The spitballs aimed at me don't matter much. The spitballs aimed at Harman, Clinton and Obama are another story. Despite their votes, each of those politicians believes the war must be funded. (Obama even said so in his statement explaining his vote.) Each knows, as Senator Jim Webb has said repeatedly, that we must be more careful getting out of Iraq than we were getting in. But they allowed themselves to be bullied into a more simplistic, more extreme position. Why? Partly because they fear the power of the bloggers to set the debate and raise money against them. They may be rightin the short (primary election) term; Harman faced a challenge from the left in 2006. In the long term, however, kowtowing to extremists is exactly the opposite of what this country is looking for after the lethal radicalism of the Bush Administration.  -

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If  you're a fan of Joe Klein, you have nothing to worry about. He still hates President Bush and he still hates conservatives - especially conservative voices in the media that people pay attention to. 

But what he has found out (and others have too, even if they aren't going public with it) is that the LAMB (Lunatic-left And Mega-moonbat Brigade) bloggers do not accept any departure from their orthodoxy.  If you have anything good to say about anyone outside of their approved list, even if it only happens once in a great while, you are dead meat.  A traitor.  A rightwinger in disguise.

Remember:  As Klein admits, these people have a significant influence in Democratic politics today.  To some degree - maybe even a large degree - they are running the show.

Election day is never far off.  It's only a year and a half to go now, before we install a new president, a new house of representatives and one third of the senate.  Think long and hard about who you want to be in power and who they are listening to. 

justbob Do you think Joe has read Bias written by a democrat CBS insider in 94? Rush listeners are off the deep-end but lefties are in the middle. Times circulation numbers are sky-rocketing aren't they? (06/07/07)

Ken Berwitz "Lefties are in the middle"? That's a contradiction in terms. Lefties are on the left. And if/when the left becomes the middle, then the left will be further left than it currently is....as will the right. Is that confusing enough for you? (06/07/07)


WHEN ENEMIES AREN'T

Ken Berwitz

Remember the argument that saddam could not be in cahoots with al qaeda, because they were 'enemies'?  Maybe you're one of the people who actually believe this is true.  If so you are, of course, entitled to your opinion.  But is it based in reality?

Reality is that people who have a common enemy are conjoined  even if they don't like each other.

Here is a case in point:

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Document: Iran Caught Red-Handed Shipping Arms to Taliban

June 06, 2007 6:00 PM

Brian Ross and Christopher Isham Report:

Document_iran_c_mn NATO officials say they have caught Iran red-handed, shipping heavy arms, C4 explosives and advanced roadside bombs to the Taliban for use against NATO forces, in what the officials say is a dramatic escalation of Iran's proxy war against the United States and Great Britain.

"It is inconceivable that it is anyone other than the Iranian government that's doing it," said former White House counterterrorism official Richard Clarke, an ABC News consultant.

Secretary of Defense Robert Gates stopped short earlier this week of blaming Iran, saying the U.S. did not have evidence "of the involvement of the Iranian government in support of the Taliban."

But an analysis by a senior coalition official, obtained by the Blotter on ABCNews.com, concludes there is clear evidence of Iran's involvement.

"This is part of a considered policy," says the analysis, "rather than the result of low-level corruption and weapons smuggling."   

Iran and the Taliban had been fierce enemies when the Taliban was in power in Afghanistan, and their apparent collaboration came as a surprise to some in the intelligence community.

"I think their goal is to make it very clear that Iran has the capability to make life worse for the United States on a variety of fronts," said Seth Jones of the Rand Institute, "even if they have to do some business with a group that has historically been their enemy." 

The coalition analysis says munitions recovered in two Iranian convoys, on April 11 and May 3, had "clear indications that they originated in Iran. Some were identical to Iranian supplied goods previously discovered in Iraq."

The April convoy was tracked from Iran into Helmand province and led a fierce firefight that destroyed one vehicle, according to the official analysis. A second vehicle was reportedly found to contain small arms ammunition, mortar rounds and more than 650 pounds of C4 demolition charges.

A second convoy of two vehicles was spotted on May 3 and led to the capture of five occupants and the seizure of RPG-7mm rockets and more than 1,000 pounds of C4, the analysis says.

Also among the munitions are components for the lethal EFPs, or explosive formed projectiles, the roadside bombs that U.S. officials say Iran has provided to Iraqi insurgents with deadly results.

"These clearly have the hallmarks of the Iranian Revolution Guards' Quds force," said Jones.

The coalition diplomatic message says the demolition charges "contained the same fake U.S. markings found on explosives recovered from insurgents operating in the Baghdad area."

"We believe these intercepted munitions are part of a much bigger flow of support from Iran to the Taliban," the message says.

The Taliban receives larger supplies of weapons through profits from opium dealing, officials say, but the Iranian presence could be significant.

"It means the insurgency in Afghanistan is likely to be prolonged," said Jones. "It would be a much more potent force."

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Iran and the taliban hate each other's guts.  But they have a common enemy, so they are aligned with each other against that enemy. 

Now, think hard:  saddam had what attitude towards the United States?  Al qaeda had what attitude towards the United States? 

The point is that organizations don't have to like each other to act in concert towards a common goal.  That's something worth remembering when you think about how Iraq came to be what it was before we invaded.


JOE SCAROROUGH CROSSES THE RUBICON

Ken Berwitz

Joe Scarborough used to be a conservative congressperson from Florida.  No more.

He has become whatever MSNBC would like him to be, so he can cling to his low-rated cable show.  That, apparently includes insulting the wife of possible presidential contender Fred Thompson. 

I'll let Brian Maloney of www.radioequalizer.blogspot.com tell the story:

Already in hot water over a nasty reference to GOP presidential contender Fred Thompson's wife, MSNBC's Joe Scarborough has dug an even deeper hole for himself by lashing out against the bloggers who reported the story.

And before anybody decides this issue can be put to rest, please see the final paragraphs of this post.

Led by The Palmetto Scoop, sites including this one have been taking Scarborough to task for suggesting that Jeri Thompson might be a stripper, a charge he now denies. Rather than apologize, Don Imus's morning show heir apparent has chosen to ridicule blogospheric opponents.

Hey 'Morning Joe', is it that hard to say you're sorry?

Here at the Radio Equalizer, we've been blasting Joe for years, see
this post for background.


Palmetto Scoop has published this partial transcript of today's ill- considered tirade:


SCARBOROUGH: Last week and Ill just briefly say this last week we had a person that worked for WFAN where we did the show on Thursday and Friday talking she is a try athlete, there a dangerous crowd all muscle in great shape and she was talking about this exercise routine that she did and went on and on about it.

RIDLEY: Pilates?

SCARBOROUGH: Not exactly pilates


RIDLEY: Yoga?

SCARBOROUGH: She was doing the Im not going to tell you exactly what it is but this exercise routine. Its very its clean. Housewives she said I do a certain thing housewives across America are doing it to stay fit. And Craig Crawford came on and I asked him whether Senator Thompson because i know Senator Thompson, known him for a long time and I like the guy an awful lot. I got to tell you a Senator Thompson joke in a second. And also my best friend in Florida knows his wife and Senator Thompson. So she is a very attractive and I said I wonder if she exercises this way. And so the blogs twisted my words; wretched them from their context. I know this shocks you. I know this shocks you.

RIDLEY: Are you telling me that there are some folks who arent real journalists

SCARBOROUGH: That sit in their basement

RIDLEY: That sit in their basement and remove a portion of what you say and use it?

SCARBOROUGH: You know, the thing is. What is so interesting about this is other people one person writes something and they dont tell the truth about what happened. And then everybody else, instead of looking the transcript, copies what the other person did.



Meanwhile, an Extreme Mortman emailer who is apparently a regular MSNBC guest gives this take on the situation:

This shows a complete lack of judgment on the part of Joe Scarborough because morning talk shows are all about spontaneity and repartee. He has now shown that when he makes a mistake, he doesnt recognize fully the mistake he has made. He wont apologize. And he wont level with viewers about exactly what he has said.

He has compounded his problem. He has made it worse. Joe does great at 9 p.m. in a restricted format where there is usually a script. By not correcting this problem right away, he is showing he is not ready for prime morning time talk. Everyone makes a mistake. Its how you correct it or not correct it, thats the test. And he has failed it.



In addition, Newsbusters actually received a protest email from Scarborough himself! Click here to see their update.


Important: your Radio Equalizer has seen several bloggers indicate this is the flap's "final chapter". Because he is still the front- runner for MSNBC's morning drive slot, his track record should continue to remain in focus.

In both politics and the media, Joe has made it clear he's one of the bad guys and his hiring should be fought tooth and nail.

In particular, his past association with the GOP is damaging for conservatives which means that our opposition should be that much louder
.--

What can you say?  This is where Mr. Scarborough has descended.

No need to belabor this, it speaks for itself.  I hope Mr. Scarborough is proud of what he has become.

 


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