ONGOING INVESTIGATIONS will not be commented on by the White House as policy. So they say about the Valerie Plame investigation, but not in the case of Tom Delay. The time is past for simply “reporting” what the clown says. What a joke the White House Press Briefing offered today.
Q Scott, the President told Brit Hume that he thought that Tom DeLay is not guilty, even though the prosecution is obviously ongoing. What does the President feel about Scooter Libby? Does he feel that Mr. Libby -- MR. McCLELLAN: A couple of things. First of all, the President was asked a question and he responded to that question in the interview yesterday, and made very clear what his views were. We don't typically tend to get into discussing legal matters of that nature, but in this instance, the President chose to respond to it. Our policy regarding the Fitzgerald investigation and ongoing legal proceeding is well-known and it remains unchanged. And so I'm just not going to have anything further to say. But we've had a policy in place for a long time regarding the Fitzgerald investigation. Q Why would that not apply to the same type of prosecution involving Congressman DeLay? MR. McCLELLAN: I just told you we had a policy in place regarding this investigation, and you've heard me say before that we're not going to talk about it further while it's ongoing. Q Well, if it's prejudging the Fitzgerald investigation, isn't it prejudging the Texas investigation with regard to Congressman DeLay? MR. McCLELLAN: Again, I think I've answered your question. Q Are you saying the policy doesn't apply? Q Can I follow up on that? Is the President at all concerned that his opinion on this being expressed publicly could influence a potential jury pool, could influence public opinion on this in an improper way? MR. McCLELLAN: I think that in this instance he was just responding to a question that was asked about Congressman DeLay, about Leader DeLay, and in terms of the issue that Peter brings up, I think that we've had a policy in place, going back to 2003, and that's a White House policy. Q But that policy has been based in part, in the leak investigation and other things, on the idea that it is simply wrong for a President to prejudge a criminal matter, particularly when it's under indictment or trial stage. Why would he -- MR. McCLELLAN: And that's one -- this is an ongoing investigation regarding possible administration officials. So I think there are some differences here.
THE TIME HAS COME to point out the absurdity of what lies not just between the lines, but across the lines of what Scott McLellan serves up at the press room podium. No one should take seriously anything further what Scott McLellan says. This simply is not credible. And you have to wonder if Bush has come off his leash. How could he say what he said about Delay being innocent last night and expect it not to look like McKrap TM today? [Brit Hume Fox Bush interview transcript]
MORE ON Delay's "Innocence" here. IN CASE YOU MISSED THISSyndicated columnist Robert D. Novak, who has repeatedly declined to discuss his role in disclosing the identity of CIA operative Valerie Plame, said in a speech this week that he is certain President Bush knows who his mystery administration source is.
THE GOOD STUFF "I'm confident the president knows who the source is. I'd be amazed if he doesn't," Novak said at a Tuesday lunch address to the John Locke Foundation in Raleigh, according to a Raleigh News & Observer report confirmed yesterday by a foundation official. "So I say, 'Don't bug me. Don't bug Bob Woodward. Bug the president as to whether he should reveal who the source is,'" said Novak, whose July 2003 column led to the lengthy investigation by Special Counsel Patrick Fitzgerald.
DON’T BUG ME Sounds like days of Nixon who bugged everybody. Bug Bush without delay on Delay. Bug Bush on the leaker whenever he is the speaker. Oy.
NOBODY NOTICED the restatement of the Bush Doctrine yesterday. Yesterday’s speech on Iraq by George Bush is now being peddled as a place where he admitted “mistakes” and took “spontaneous” questions from the crowd. If you look at what Bush actually said, another narrative is apparent. A certain pattern now reveals itself in the staging of the four speeches Bush is giving on Iraq before the elections there this Thursday. The backdrop for the speeches is at least as important as the “message.” Some mistakes have been made here.
STYLE AND SUBSTANCE Bush’s first speech at the Naval Academy stated his broad premise Victory, Victory. Those who doubt this will be attacked. The second at the Council on Foreign Relations disregarded the usual question and answer format following speeches there. And now in his third speech in Philadephia, Bush appears to answer the people with questions, but only after engaging in his usual certain circular logic. Why are we in Iraq?
Yet the terrorists have made it clear that Iraq is the central front in their war against humanity, so we must recognize Iraq is the central front in the war on terror.
BUSH CONTINUES to blur the front of the war on terror and the war in Iraq, even as he admitted in his first speech that the terrorists were the smallest part of opposition to United States policy and presence in Iraq. A new line posed is that Bush admits mistakes in Iraq, most notably by the New York Times Elisabeth Bumiller: In his remarks, Mr. Bush effectively said that the administration had made mistakes in Iraq. This is sleight of hand and slight of analysis. Bumiller writes:
In his remarks, Mr. Bush effectively said that the administration had made mistakes in Iraq. The president recalled, for example, that in the summer of 2003, the United States proposed that the Coalition Provisional Authority, the American administration that governed Iraq after the war, should continue in office while appointed Iraqi leaders drafted a constitution and then held elections to choose a new government. As proposed by the Americans, Iraq would have been sovereign only when the elected government took office. "This plan met with the disapproval of the Iraqis," Mr. Bush said. "They made it clear that they wanted a constitution that was written by elected leaders of a free Iraq, and they wanted sovereignty placed in Iraqi hands sooner. We listened, and we adjusted our approach."
ADJUST THIS The administration has adjusted many things in Iraq, its approach to what was first sold as a cakewalk changing as it creates new illusions about reality. The only time Bush actually utters the word mistake is in seeking to blur the story of Iraq with the American story of independence.
Our founders faced many difficult challenges -- they made mistakes, they learned from their experiences, and they adjusted their approach.
THE DIFFERENCE here is clear if unstated. The Founders made their mistakes in our own country, while Bush can only admit adjustments in a country not our own. Bumiller blurs for Bush. The text below an acompanying photo in the Times article reads: President Bush today compared the violence surrounding a democratic transition in Iraq to the early years of the United States’ tumultuous democracy. Whether unanalyzed statements are neutral reporting or propagation of the party line propaganda is an open question.
SPONTANEOUS (APPLAUSE AND LAUGHTER) or is it (laughter and applause) update? Bush got no laughs and only the slightest applause when he spoke and took no questions at the Council on Foreign Relations speech. The Heretik has no doubt that this is now recognized as something a mistake that needed adjustment improvement.
SO BUSH TOOK "questions," but not a lot of heat. He appreciates taking questions, particularly ones that are friendly. The focus thus far has been on Bush’s response to the first question where he acknowledges casualties on both sides. Message: concerned, in touch. But no mention of the soldier shipped home as freight. Bush said he appreciates that in response to the first two questions.
THE PRESIDENT: I'll repeat the question. If I don't like it, I'll make it up. (Laughter and applause.) Q -- Thank you for coming to the city where liberty was born. Central to your policy in Iraq is the role of the Iraqis. We hear widely different tales about how the Iraqis are doing in their own area of defense. Could you give us your perspective on how they're doing, how well the military is doing, what you feel the capability is to do the task that you want them to do, to include some of the widely different impressions that we hear about.
BUSH WENT ON for paragraphs in the answer to this "question." Most importantly, he appreciates that, unspecified.
THE PRESIDENT: No, I appreciate that. . . .
THE MOST QUOTED LINE from yesterday’s “speech” took place during this question and answer “spontaneous” interplay where the White House risked Bush mauling syntax and meaning to get out the message that we mean it, we really do. The message is we can only defeat ourselves in Iraq
The enemy has got one weapon. See, they can't defeat us militarily. What they can do is they can -- and will -- kill innocent people in the hopes of trying to get the United States of America to leave the battlefield early. The only way we can lose is if we lose our nerve. And they know that. And they've stated that publicly.
THEY HAVE STATED nothing of the sort. George Bush is more honest than his critics would admit. In Iraq today, when reality confronts his illusions, he stated the Bush Doctrine again: If I don't like it, I'll make it up.
You got to focus on what can be done in the short term. There will be time later on to think about how screwed and stretched out things got. And believe me, when you are here like I am, you get a reminder every day, sometimes twice a day, how screwed and stretched out things can get.
BUSH IS IN A BUBBLEbut he is not in a bubble. This is a big problem, but Bush’s ability to ignore problems is admirable.
President Bush has always shown an admirable ability to ignore the Washington pundits and make fun of the chattering classes. Yet his inattention to Murtha, a coal-country Pennsylvanian and rock-solid patriot, suggests a level of indifference, if not denial, that is dangerous for a president who seeks to transform the world. All presidents face a tension between sticking to their guns and dealing with changing reality. History suggests it can be a mistake to listen too closely to the ever-present (and often self-aggrandizing) critics. But likewise, the idea that any president can go it alone is, to say the least, problematic.
THE LATEST PIECE of what passes for journalism in Newsweek analyzes Bush in the bubble and in some ways but not that many blows up in the writers’ faces. Some might call this double speak bubble speak, an ability to say everything and nothing at the same time.
MORE ON HOW THE BUBBLE BURSTSor doesn't CORRENTEWIRE Lambert on: Bush reign of terror in the Beltway. A nice or not so nice compilation.
PROFESSOR BAINBRIDGE Group Think in the White House: Bush likes to think of himself as a CEO President. Good CEOs are self-aware and self-critical. A good CEO faced with the pervasive groupthink that seems to plague this Administration would clean house and then set up new decision-making processes to prevent a recurrence.
THE HERETIK THINKS group thinking is an oxymoron, no thinking within the group at all.
UPDATE DAN FROOMKIN the bad boy at the WaPo quotes Bush in his “interview” with NBC’s Brian Williams here: "I really don't. I mean, I'm interested in the news, I'm not all that interested in the opinions."
SOMETHING BLOWS even more than your cable company. The FCC is trying to get Comcast and Time Warner to make a high speed connection between what they show between the sheets and how much love the FCC will show in approving their mutual masturbation acquisition of Adelphia Communications. FCC extortionist Chairman Kevin J. Martin is tying the two to the bedposts tying approval of the acquisition to cleaning things up. Make it whitebreadboringlike sex with my wife decent, please. Nip and tuck that nasty or else.
"There are a lot of places Martin can squeeze cable operators and indecency is a pet peeve of his that's not going away," said one cable executive. "We have to live and work but not sleep with him until his term ends in 2009. At least we hope we don't have to sleep with him."
OTHER OPERATORS hope only Comcast and Time Warner are fucked targeted, but it looks like everybody will get screwed the same treatment.
RUSSERT INTERVIEWS McCAIN ON THE WAR “It's going to be long and hard and tough.” The war, not the interview. On NBC. Must See To Be Believed TV.
MR. RUSSERT: Senator, the war in Iraq. The president said that we will accept nothing less than complete victory. What is complete victory? SEN. McCAIN: Complete victory at least in my view is a flawed but functioning democracy in Iraq. I think it's hard to expect us to have a perfect democracy there but one that the people of Iraq will support, economic development, restoration of infrastructure and law and order and the Iraqi military and security personnel being able to take over most of the responsibilities for Iraqi security. And I think it's going to be long and hard and tough. MR. RUSSERT: Years? SEN. McCAIN: Well, when I say years, I think that it's very possible within the next year or two that you could see this transition taking place, but the American troops being a supplement rather than being replaced by, in other words, most of the effort being carried on over time by the Iraqis, but it's going to be tough. And I think that one of the many mistakes that have been made is to inflate the expectations of the American people beginning three years ago that this was going to be some kind of day at the beach, and I never believed it was going to be, and to this day, I don't believe it. I believe the consequences of failure are horrific. I believe the benefits of success are magnificent.
YOU’RE MAGIFICENT, TIM Not as magnificent as you, John. No, you’re magnificent, Tim. Stop it, John. Really . . . In most places if you do what Russert did to McCain in public, you’d get arrested.
THE FACE OF TRUTH wears a smirk. In the story about the fake stories planted so truth can flower on the bush burning with the fire of freedom in Iraq, the Pentagon now admits it bought some news, but says it is just following “local custom.” Who is buying this?
"We counter the lies, intimidation, and pure evil of terror with factual stories that highlight the heroism and sacrifice of the Iraqi people and their struggle for freedom and security," Adler said in a written statement. "We are encouraged by their sacrifice and proud to help them tell their side of the story."
THEIR SIDE needs our help? When truth needs “help” to win, we and the Iraqis all lose.
TRUTH IS A RISKY BUSINESSLt. Col. Barry Johnson, a military spokesman in Iraq, said that third parties were used to market the stories to reduce the risk to the publishers. “If any part of our process does not have our full confidence, we will examine that activity and take appropriate action,” he said in a statement. “If any contractor is failing to perform as we have intended, we will take appropriate action.” He also defended the program as critical to the war effort. “The information battlespace in Iraq is contested at all times and is filled with misinformation and propaganda by an enemy intent on discrediting the Iraqi government and the coalition, and who are taking every opportunity to instill fear and intimidate the Iraqi people,” his statement said.
THE HERETIK SAY if the military believes the truth needs military help, the military should open a military newspaper immediately and militate the news as much as possible.
THE SOUND AND THE FURY Captain Ed says it all. Need the truth, need the propaganda, need the truth about the propaganda. It's bad. But it's not that bad. It could be worse. We do our best. Rarely has The Heretik seen a man argue against himself and draw the inevitable conclusion: this is reasonable. Must be read in full to be believed.
DARK SNARK the short and not so sweet from Steve Soto: My only question is whether or not Warner wears Depends under that suit when he gets slapped around by Rummy?
THE HERETIK GETS THE MAXIMUM in the latest excerpt from Karl Rove:
ROVE: Sure, it could suck more but I’m not sure how. Could be worse THE HERETIK: It could always be worse. ROVE: I could be John Kerry. THE HERETIK: Do you regret the swiftboating? ROVE: The whole swiftboating thing me to has a different meaning to a guy in prison when another guy jumps you in the shower. I have been swiftboated more times than I care to admit.
NOBODY SHOULD LOSE their head over this. The Pentagon is about to bombed with charges on the burning Bush fire of freedom stories planted in the Arab press. Apparently it may be bad ethics and journalism to hide the source of your “info,” but it it is good business.
THE UNITED STATES SENATE is calling the Defense Department on the carpet. Yesterday The Heretik said here it is wonderful that front line commander can handle front line propaganda. Today we have news on where this is beheadedheaded.
Asked about the issue on Thursday, the top military spokesman in Baghdad appeared to defend the practice without referring specifically to the Lincoln Group's activities. The spokesman, Maj. Gen. Rick Lynch, said that Iraq's most-wanted militant, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the Jordanian-born head of Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia, was also using the news media to advance his terrorist goals. But General Lynch said the similarities ended there because the American military was disseminating truthful information. "He is conducting these kidnappings, these beheadings, these explosions, so that he gets international coverage to look like he has more capability than he truly has," General Lynch said. "He is lying to the Iraqi people."
IN THE RACE FOR NEWS we need to keep a behead head up on the competition.
UPDATE PICTURE THIS [LA Times] Jack Stokes, a spokesman for Associated Press, said the news service was investigating whether any U.S. official involved in the operation might have improperly used its photos. Senior Pentagon officials, including Marine Gen. Peter Pace, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said they had no knowledge about the secret campaign before news articles this week. "There's pressure to get the answers, but it's frustrating because here we are two days into this and we still haven't heard anything back" from Iraq, a senior Pentagon official said, speaking on condition of anonymity. THE HERETIK WONDERS how the chain of command works. Haven’t heard back from Iraq? This sound a lot like Bush saying he wanted to get to the bottom of who leaked Valerie Plame’s name. The fake news can go out, but "bad news" never makes it back to the White House.