SPARKY: The Rove Factor?
Time magazine talked to Bush's guru for Plame story —“... Initially, Fitzgerald's focus was on Novak's sourcing, since Novak was the first to out Plame. But according to Luskin, Rove's lawyer, Rove spoke to Cooper three or four days before Novak's column appeared. Luskin told NEWSWEEK that Rove "never knowingly disclosed classified information" and that "he did not tell any reporter that Valerie Plame worked for the CIA." Luskin declined, however, to discuss any other details. He did say that Rove himself had testified before the grand jury "two or three times" and signed a waiver authorizing reporters to testify about their conversations with him. "He has answered every question that has been put to him about his conversations with Cooper and anybody else," Luskin said. But one of the two lawyers representing a witness sympathetic to the White House told NEWSWEEK that there was growing "concern" in the White House that the prosecutor is interested in Rove. Fitzgerald declined to comment. ... ”
Two years ago, when I first read the federal law protecting the identities of covert agents, my reaction was the same as everyone else who reads it -- this is not an easy law to break. That’s what I said on Hardball then in my first public discussion of the outing of Valerie Plame, and that’s what I said on CNN the other night. Let’s walk through the pieces that would have to fall into place for Karl Rove to have committed a crime when he revealed Plame’s identity to Matt Cooper.
Second, Rove had to know she was a covert agent. Cooper’s article refers to Plame as “a CIA official.” Most CIA officials are not covert agents.
Third, Rove had to know that the CIA was taking “affirmative measures” to hide her identity. Doesn’t seem like the kind of thing a political operative would or should know.
Fourth, Rove had to be “authorized” to have classified information about covert agents or at least this one covert agent. Doesn’t seem like the kind of security clearance a political operative would or should have.
I’ll be surprised if all four of those elements of the crime line up perfectly for a Rove indictment. Surprised, not shocked. There is one very good reason to think they might. It is buried in one of the handful of federal court opinions that have come down in the last year ordering Matt Cooper and Judy Miller to testify or go to jail.
In February, Circuit Judge David Tatel joined his colleagues’ order to Cooper and Miller despite his own, very lonely finding that indeed there is a federal privilege for reporters that can shield them from being compelled to testify to grand juries and give up sources. He based his finding on Rule 501 of the Federal Rules of Evidence, which authorizes federal courts to develop new privileges “in the light of reason and experience.” Tatel actually found that reason and experience “support recognition of a privilege for reporters’ confidential sources.” But Tatel still ordered Cooper and Miller to testify because he found that the privilege had to give way to “the gravity of the suspected crime.”
Judge Tatel’s opinion has eight blank pages in the middle of it where he discusses the secret information the prosecutor has supplied only to the judges to convince them that the testimony he is demanding is worth sending reporters to jail to get. The gravity of the suspected crime is presumably very well developed in those redacted pages. Later, Tatel refers to “[h]aving carefully scrutinized [the prosecutor’s] voluminous classified filings.”
Some of us have theorized that the prosecutor may have given up the leak case in favor of a perjury case, but Tatel still refers to it simply as a case “which involves the alleged exposure of a covert agent.” Tatel wrote a 41-page opinion in which he seemed eager to make new law -- a federal reporters’ shield law -- but in the end, he couldn’t bring himself to do it in this particular case. In his final paragraph, he says he “might have” let Cooper and Miller off the hook “[w]ere the leak at issue in this case less harmful to national security.”
Tatel’s colleagues are at least as impressed with the prosecutor’s secret filings as he is. One simply said “Special Counsel’s showing decides the case.”
All the judges who have seen the prosecutor’s secret evidence firmly believe he is pursuing a very serious crime, and they have done everything they can to help him get an indictment.
All I can add is:
DEAL WITH IT!: A rogue's gallery of the Radical Right
Our cards expose the men and women most responsible for the Radical Right's take over of the Republican Party and their political influence under George Bush. Spades are the major politicians responsible for much of the grief we are now enduring. Diamonds are the crony capitalists, tax subsidized corporations, and regulatory allies that underwrite these politicians. Clubs are the media bullies that have done so much to degrade and distort political understanding and debate. Hearts are the so-called "moral leaders" of the Republican Right. Some are court justices, some want to be, and some abuse their status in other ways.
Click on the card faces to see "rap sheets" and links that expose just how much harm these people have done to our country.
At the bottom of each card are letters and dollar signs. These symbolize dark powers associated with the people or corporations on the cards. Go to game rules to see how to use them in card games.
- $: Personal enrichment at taxpayer expense or "sharp" business practices.
- CH: Chicken Hawk, a person advocating others fight in wars while avoiding service themselves.
- L: Lying, persistent "misspeaking", or saying things easily shown to be incorrect.
- J: Convicted felon, committed a probable felony but not charged almost certainly due to political connections, or convicted and then pardoned by George Bush, Sr.
- B: Bullying others
- CS: Is opposed to the separation of church and state, or blatantly mingles the two.
- CW: "Class War" - Bush's term, not ours.
KARL ROVE: joker
(CH, L, CW)
Karl Rove is sometimes described as "Bush's Brain" meaning that he supplies the strategies and tactics by which George W. Bush has risen from unsuccessful businessman to President. Because Rove prefers to stay in the background, publicly, and confine himself to behind-the-scenes maneuvering, we do not have as many delicious and corrupt quotes as we do for more in-your-face types. But Rove is a major player, and his strategies play on what is worst in the American psyche for their success.
John DiIulio, former Director of the White House Office of Faith-based and Community Initiatives, wrote "Karl is enormously powerful, maybe the single most powerful person in the modern post-Hoover era ever to occupy a political advisor post near the Oval Office." After Republicans won the midterm elections, another senior White House official told Ron Suskind of Esquire, "Karl just went from prime minister to king. Amazing . . . and a little scary. Now no one will speak candidly about him or take him on or contradict him. Pure power, no real accountability."
Rove is also a textbook case of Lord Acton's adage that power corrupts. His influence is a large part of the reason why under its anti-government rhetoric, federal spending is rising, the power of government is growing, deficits are out of control, and "conservative" leaders are either becoming disenchanted or proving themselves utterly without integrity.
Intellectually, Rove talks excitedly of Alexander Tocqueville and James Madison. Politically he undercuts them at every step. Madison and Tocqueville saw the size and diversity of the US as a source of both creativity and a safeguard against tyranny. It would be difficult, Madison argued, for a majority to unite on any platform that wasn't good for the country as a whole. Tocqueville praised the local initiatives that transformed American society with vitality and creativity. According to Nicholas Lemann, Rove apparently thinks he is inspired by the work of these men.
Politically Rove works hard undermining the principles of both. This becomes clear when we consider his third hero, one he no longer acknowledges: Mark Hanna. Hanna was key in putting together the Republican coalition that made William McKinley president, and crushed the Democrats for many years to come. Hanna did so by many means, none of which had much to do with limited government, and most of which had top do with the effectiveness of power and money. Suskind writes that he has talked to people long associated with Rove, "one of whom said, 'Some kids want to grow up to be president. Karl wanted to grow up to be Mark Hanna. We'd talk about it all the time.'"
To the extent there is a clear purpose in the Bush administration's attempt to build America's first national political machine, (link to the conservative article) the strategy is probably Rove's. It requires stitching together a coalition based on access to governmental favors and payments to avoid being punished by those in power, combined with unprecedented control over hiring. Ethics, the public good, constitutional principles, and loyalty are valuable only so long as they contribute to holding power. It is the exact opposite of Madison and Tocqueville's visions of a free society, and it is apparently Rove's vision of America.
It requires ruthlessness, and Rove has it. Suskind writes of waiting outside Rove's office for an interview. "Inside, Rove was talking to an aide about some political stratagem in some state that had gone awry and a political operative who had displeased him. . . . 'We will fuck him. Do you hear me? We will fuck him. We will ruin him. Like no one has ever fucked him!' As a reporter, you get around-curse words, anger, passionate intensity are not notable events-but the ferocity, the bellicosity, the violent imputations were, well, shocking. This went on without a break for a minute or two. Then the aide slipped out looking a bit ashen, and Rove, his face ruddy from the exertions of the past few moments, looked at me and smiled a gentle, Clarence-the-Angel smile. 'Come on in.'"
Stories of Rove's ruthlessness are legion. Consider the South Carolina 2000 Presidential primary. The South Carolina Presidential primary in 2000 is a case in point. John McCain threatened to defeat George Bush, as he had in New Hampshire. Suddenly, as Ron Suskind describes it, "Bush loyalists began distributing parking-lot handouts and making telephone 'push polls' and fomenting whisper campaigns that McCain had fathered a black baby by a prostitute, his wife was a drug addict, and that he had become unstable due to his years in a Vietnamese prison camp.
The McCains had adopted a baby from a Mother Teresa orphanage in Bangladesh. "Bridget, now eleven years old, waved along with the rest of the McCain brood from stages across the state, a dark-skinned child inadvertently providing a photo op for slander." McCain lost.
The nature of his job is that we will never know whether Rove was responsible or not. Similar uncertainty exists for other claims about his dirty and dishonest politics. What we can know for sure is that Rove is a master political strategist, and that his candidates win while very dirty politics is played in their favor.
George Bush says he knows Karl Rove is innocent. Since Bush has made a point of not trying himself to find out the identity of the leakers of the identity of an undercover CIA agent working on weapons of mass destruction issues, we can only wonder how he knows. One thing which seems beyond doubt is that after the initial leak, Rove did his best to further attacks on Plame as part of his operation against former ambassador Joseph Wilson, who displeased the Bush administration by doing something they did not: tell the truth.
Rove reportedly told journalist Chris Matthews, and maybe others, that Wilson's wife and her undercover status were "fair game." Newsweek's account has not been denied by Rove or the White House. Such is the stuff of Karl Rove's "patriotism" when it stands between him and vengeance against those who have displeased him, and even against their families.
Evan Thomas and Michael Isikoff, Newsweek, Oct. 13, 2003, http://www.indybay.org/news/2003/10/1651996.php
It is apparently illegal for Rove to have acted in this manner, and we can only hope that someone other than former Rove employer John Ashcroft will investigate these felonies.
The failure of many (not all) "conservative" leaders to condemn this kind of behavior says volumes about the utter moral bankruptcy of the Radical Right, and their betrayal of all who they seeks to manipulate by their claims to having traditional values, or indeed, any values at all besides power and greed. But if they were not morally bankrupt and in power, this website would have no reason to exist. Here is a true divide, one separating genuine conservatives from the radical right. Historians will deal harshly with those who sell their souls for a little power and wealth, Karl Rove among them.
Department of Homeland Security and 9-11
After 9-11 it became increasingly clear the attacks could have been prevented had the administration been on top of things. One potentially very embarrassing piece of information was Colleen Rowley's testimony to the Senate on the FBI's failure to take any action on her memo about a potential 9-11 style attack. On the very same day Rowley was to testify, the administration announced their plan for a Homeland Security Department, capturing the headlines.
The cynicism and ruthlessness was breathtaking. Till then the administration had opposed such a department when Joe Lieberman had proposed it, eight months ealier. Afterwards, when the Senate tried to turn the administration's hastily improvised bill into something more coherent, they were attacked by a draft dodging George Bush as not sufficiently committed to the security of the United States. This despite the rather impressive record (link to page on military service) of military service by many leading democrats and the utter lack of any service at all by almost all leading members of the Bush administration. The hypocrisy was breathtaking - and effective.
The debasing of democracy
But unfortunately there is more. Rove reportedly learned from Michael Deaver, Ronald Reagan's campaign advisor, how to manipulate the media. Television is poor at giving facts and great at presenting simple images. This need not be misleading, but it certainly can be. James Moore, author of Bush's Brain, a book on Rove, observed that Rove "once told a consultant that we interviewed . . . that you should run every political campaign as though people were watching television with the sound turned down. And toward that end, you rely heavily on imagery and not very much on substance."
The Bush administration has been masterful at presenting Bush with in memorable ways, knowing that images stay in our minds far longer than words. This distracts us not only from the dirty campaign tricks Rove and his underlings pull on political opponents, it distracts us from Bush's own lies. It is truly amazing to anyone who actually reads the news with any care that Bush still carries an image of integrity and morality.
But words speak far more quietly than images to the trusting human mind. There is the famous image of Bush with Mt. Rushmore in the background and with his face being in virtually the same the same perspective as Teddy Roosevelt, suggesting some symbolic similarity between the two.
The March 10, 2003 issue of Newsweek has a large photo of Bush and Jesus, their bodies at the same angle, with the suggestion that Jesus' hand is resting on Bush's shoulder. It is difficult to think this was accidental.
Bush's flight onto the deck of the Kittyhawk, while arriving as freight, led to memorable photographs of a supposedly militarily competent President. Already Tom DeLay is saying Bush landed the aircraft himself, and many will believe him since they do remember Bush in his flight suit on an aircraft carrier.
There is an ominous dimension to these tactics, one as dirty as the politics Rove is suspected of playing during campaigns. Bush will get photo credit for some new initiative, such as leaving "no child behind" and then, when the cameras are absent, fail to fund the legislation. Check our accounts of his failure to follow through on any of his big promises to the American people, especially education.
There is an old term for this: demagoguery. The cynical manipulation of the public to support policies far different from what the politician promises or claims. Demagogues have destroyed democratic government because a democracy needs, at a minimum, some clarity over the issues, some minimal level of truth, some means by which citizens can know for whom to support. The manipulations of images, outright lies, and dumbing down of elections can work — Rove has proven this. But it is unlikely to lead to a democratic outcome.
Rove claims to believe in the principles of Madison and Tocqueville, admirable men. But by subjecting every principle to winning, his tactics are undermining the very principles they held to be essential for a free people to survive.
Summing up his conclusions about Rove's character, Suskind wrote: "In any event, it's clear, when I think of my encounter with Rove, why this particular old friend of his, and scores of others-many of whom spoke of the essential good nature of this man who was a teammate on some campaign or other-don't want their names mentioned, ever."
John DiIulio's article: http://www.gregwythe.com/~gregsopi/archives/002687.php
When the shit hits the fan, why do the monkeys that caused it appear more strong and appealing to the zombie masses?
People mock Sparky for this - but the way to get criminals like Saddam Hussein is to arrest them, not subject the people of their countries to unnecessary war. Isn't it obvious?
We need an empowered International Court of Law to arrest powerful criminals.
We'll come back to this later I'm sure - Sparky o&o