Richard Clarke: Perjurer?

Frist, Goss and other Republicans are floating the idea that Richard Clarke might have perjured himself. They’re working on declassifying sworn testimony given to Congress when Clarke worked for Bush in 2002 (testimony thought to be similiar to that in the unclassified briefing released by Fox) so that they can compare it to the recent sworn testimony he gave to the 9/11 commission.

This administration plays an amazingly creative game with regard to sworn, classified, confidential, secret, and public testimony. Condi is on TV all weekend, but she can’t testify to the 9/11 commission publicly or under oath — she wants to be able to debunk Clarke’s public sworn testimony with secret unsworn testimony. Richard Wilson displeased the President, and his wife Valerie Plame’s CIA identity was leaked. Paul O’Neill displeased the President, and he was threatened with prosecution for releasing classified documents. Now they want to declassify information selectively to use to discredit Clarke. Bob Woodward got access to reams of classified material to write a sycophantic book, but Bush’s 9/10 briefing remains top secret, as do the records of Cheney’s energy task force.

I can’t see Frist’s hysterical rampage coming to anything. Clarke has already admitted that when he worked for Bush, he put the best spin he could on Bush’s performance. Paul O’Neill has released documentary evidence showing that he was encouraged to mislead the public about Saudi cooperation in tracing terrorist finances, and we also have recently found out that Bush administration officials instructed their actuary, Rick Foster, to mislead Congress about the cost of Bush’s prescription drug plan.

At the least, Clarke will easily be able to escape the perjury charge. Beyond that, he will probably be able to show that the lies he told in 2002 were the ones he was ordered to tell. You have to wonder what Frist was thinking.

Josh Micah Marshall has the story (note Sen. Graham’s suggestion that they release everything, and not just the parts that help them).

Frist’s speech

Powell doesn’t join in, and Sen Graham supports Clarke. (And was Clarke really under oath before Congress?)

Washington Post

CNN

Rick Foster directed to lie about prescription drug costs

Foster II

Briefing released to Fox by Bush Administration

O’Neill coached to lie (he was NOT pleased with the Saudis, who had scarcely cooperated at all).

O’Neill II

Fake Kerry Pizza Story

Some of you may have seen an internet story attributed to one Hal Cranmer about Kerry being a jerk in Vietnam. (It gets about 300 Google hits). I contacted one of the people whose email address has been attached to the story, and he’s pretty sure it’s fake. Attempts to contact Cranmer have been unsuccessful so far, though he seems to exist.

Story

Refutation

Is Condi history?

One of the things going on these days is a battle between the Bush administration and the intelligence pros. Neither one is willing to be the fall guy for the Iraq invasion. Bush tried to stick Tenet with it, and he’s been getting flak ever since. It looks now as if Rice is going to be the sacrificial lamb.

Hiring Rice (and Powell) was good politics. Knowing that nice liberals will be hesitant to attack them personally, the Bush administration can use either one to front for them. Republicans know very well that smears and personal insults are effective political tools, and this way they take a valuable weapon out of the Democrats’ hands. Thus, whenever there has been bad news, Rice or Powell has been sent out instead of Rumsfeld, Cheney, or Bush.

Now Rice is on the hot seat, though, and it looks like she’s being hung out to dry. Various things she’s said in the last few days don’t make sense, contradicting either other statements of hers or statements by Cheney and others in the administration. She’s doing her job all right — catching flak — but she shouldn’t expect to be thanked for it. Dick, Don, and George will let her twist in the wind awhile longer before they cut her loose.

NOTE: A friend doesn’t like to hear people saying that Rice is an affirmative-action token. That’s not really what I’m saying, though. I think that Rice is competent enough, but she chose the wrong administration to work for, and I doubt that she has the reptilian infighting skills of Rumsfeld, Perle, and Cheney. It’s really no insult to say that — and besides, she’s still young, with her whole future ahead of her.

My guess is that Wolfowitz is next. Yeah, sure, I’m all anti-Semitic and shit.

UPDATE: Frist is now signalling that he wants Rice’s testimony. Very possibly he is carrying water for the executive branch. So it looks to me that she’ll be taking the fall sooner rather than later.

Some Bush Supporters Want Rice to Testify

SECOND UPDATE: It doesn’t seem that I was ahead of the curve at all:

Time Magazine: Is Condi The Problem?

**********

Two of the creepiest Republican operatives accuse Democrats attacking Rice of racism and sexism.

Rice won’t testify publicly or under oath, but she’s showing up all over the place on TV:

http://www.detnews.com/2004/politics/0403/27/politics-104861.htm

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A25177-2004Mar25.html

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/4601195/

War

Cross-posted at Daily News Online.

The Wrong War:

“Mr. Clarke, President Bush’s former counterterrorism chief, writes in his book, “Against All Enemies,” that despite clear evidence the attacks had been the work of Osama bin Laden and Al Qaeda, top administration officials focused almost immediately on the object of their obsession, Iraq.

He remembers taking a short break for a bite to eat and a shower, then returning to the White House very early on the morning of Sept. 12. He writes:

‘I expected to go back to a round of meetings examining what the next attacks could be, what our vulnerabilities were. . . . Instead, I walked into a series of discussions about Iraq. At first I was incredulous that we were talking about something other than getting Al Qaeda. Then I realized with almost a sharp physical pain that Rumsfeld and Wolfowitz were going to try to take advantage of this national tragedy to promote their agenda about Iraq.’”

I have a cousin who went to Iraq. He was in a Marine recon unit that went in before the war. He’s very gung-ho about “defending America” and retaliating against the terrorists for 9/11, so we don’t talk about this. But I wonder what he’s going to think about this later, when he realizes that he was NOT “defending America” or avenging 9/11.

More than that, I wonder about the families of the dead. And I wonder about the injured. I wonder how they feel — or will feel when the truth is accepted — having sacrificed so much for the wrong war, for a trick, for an election gimmick, for a far-right ideology. And when the troops return, and the truth is known, how will they react? What will they say about this period of their lives, spent away in Iraq, seeing what they have seen and for some of them having done what they did in the course of a war and the year following that war.

I wonder how will we ever ask others to sacrifice? Now that our country has done this, how will we be able to ask people to sacrifice when it really IS necessary, really IS about defending the country, and really IS about fighting for freedom?

This betrayal is beyond politics, beyond impeachment, beyond resolution by law, certainly beyond a swinging left-right pendulum of national attitudes that naturally resolves itself back to some center. America was hijacked, politics was hijacked, our law was hijacked, our SYSTEM was hijacked, international law was hijacked, morality was hijacked…

There is nothing worse than war. When this is all over (if we do come to our senses) we must — MUST — repair our system and put in place oversight and accountability mechanisms to prevent anything like this from happening again. And I mean a lot more than just preventing a war — I mean all the steps that led up to this, from the one-dollar-one-vote campaign system that let them get a foothold, to the repeal of the equal time doctrine that allowed them to turn our radio and TV stations into full-time right-wing propaganda outlets, even to indirect-but-related activities to consolidate their power over our institutions of morality like their taking over the Southern Baptist Church. That’s part of the whole equation, and we need to look at every little piece of how they accomplished the takeover that led to this terrible, unforgivable war.

Free Trade Again

Matt and Kevin are posting about free trade again, so I’m being the free trade skeptic again. (How about you? Anything new with you?)

As always, I’ll start off by saying that free trade is in many respects a good thing, etc., etc., and that under certain circumstances it might have been a very good thing.

Free trade defenders always point to the formal economic principle of comparative advantage and claim that it proves that with free trade, everyone is always better off. Even at best, though, it doesn’t prove that; the most it can prove is that, on the average, free trade between two countries makes both countries better off. Not “everybody”.

One major American product is labor, and Indian and Chinese labor, by and large, have an enormous comparative advantage over American labor. So perhaps America should reduce its production of labor, and stress products for which we do have a comparative advantage.

Problem solved, except that most Americans have nothing to sell but labor. What then? Well, they collect unemployment for a few months, and then they hunt for work for another few months, and then they become “discouraged workers”. And then — voila! — they disappear from the statistics, and everything is fine again.

It is dogmatically asserted by all free traders that the tradeoff is even — one job exported, one job imported. There may be some formal tendency of the system to gravitate that way, but isn’t this an empirical question? What has actually been happening?

On the one hand, maybe our big partners like China and India aren’t playing the game the same way we are. There is, after all, an enormous trade deficit. And on the other, maybe our exporting firms are exporting products which are less labor-intensive. So what are the facts? (I don’t know, but I don’t think we can get them by extrapolating from the formulae in our Economics 101 textbook).

From the point of view of labor, free trade tends to force labor producers (i.e. workers) to compete with overseas workers whose pay is much lower. And even these workers (e.g., in China and India) have to compete with workers elsewhere who are paid still less (e.g., in Egypt and Bangla Desh). And maybe this is a good thing on the whole, but it’s certainly not good for everyone. Specifically not American workers.

Kevin Drum points out that if one job is lost and one gained, the loser will be angrier than the winner is happy (what’s called “prospect theory”). This again assumes a parity that may not exist, but even if there is a one-for-one exchange, and even if the jobs are equally good, there’s no real advantage in breaking even like that — certainly no advantage big enough to justify the messianism about free trade. You really need a better than one-for-one ratio. So maybe prospect theory is a good guide — if you’re only going to break even with free trade, you better not do it.

As usual, I will conclude that free trade might have been a good thing. (Yes, I’ve failed to mention some of its benefits here). But combined with our present economic slump with its jobless recovery, and the relentless long-term reduction in public amenities (especially medical insurance, pension plans, and access to education), and finally the lack of real commitment to the various proposals floated to soften the impact for displaced workers, I find it hard to be sure that free trade was a good thing.

And certainly the Democrats made a big political mistake by sacrificing a chunk of their core constituency in the name of the global general welfare. Clinton’s allies in the free-trade battles were mostly Republicans — and most Republicans are anti-labor pure and simple. With free trade, the Republicans won, and both the free-trade Democrats and the protectionist Democrats lost — to say nothing of labor.

And the Democratic party is now that much weaker, and the Republican Party that much stronger.

March Madness and Budget Watch

Posted by Tom Manatos

Advisor to House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi

Check out the right kind of humor/cleverness to use these days, as opposed to President Bush’s poor taste humor…..Leader Pelosi is tying in the “March Madness” theme into the Republican Madness recently. See site for first round of “Republican March Madness” and vote for the most outrageous Republican priority.

Speaking of outrageous Republican action, the Republican budget just passed on the House floor last night and it will now go to conference committee with whatever was passed in the Senate. See fact sheets on how the Republican Budget affects different issues: Education, Homeland Security, the Environment, Veterans and Armed Forces and Health Care. Also, definitely check out the House Democrats central site for everything regarding the budget including actual video of Republicans voting against protecting social security and veterans benefits, “Budget Watch.”

For information like this or any information pertaining to House Democrats please feel free to contact me at Tom.Manatos@mail.house.gov.

Lying Liars Update

Awhile back my buddy Dave posted a piece on the Bush-Rove strategy of lying all the time. More recently, mind-mannered neoliberal Josh Micah Marshall said about the same thing, and for Brad DeLong’s opinion just google “Brad + DeLong + these + liars” for the ongoing series. (Dave’s piece is now the #1 google for “They just lie”.)

The Rove-Bush strategy doesn’t seem to work as well overseas, and deception still can be an issue for Spanish voters and also for Polish leaders. But here in America we’re all California fuzzy-logic situational ethics: “That was then — it doesn’t really make any difference any more — it’s water over the dam — we’re positive people who look forward — solutions are more important than fingerpointing.” Or at least Rove and Bush hope so, judging by Bush’s recent lame WMD jokes.

For my Polish and Spanish readers, however, with their naive enthusiasm for their recently-won democracy, here’s a collection of links about the Bush administration’s lies, Chalabi’s lies, and the circulation of lies through the American media. (The Knight-Ridder pieces are of special interest: throughout the Iraq War, reporters for this chain consistently did actual reporting, instead of just typing up administration handouts the way the deteriorating New York Times and Washington Post did. Perhaps market forces will eventually propel one of the Knight-Ridder newspapers to national status to fill the journalistic gap.)

237 misleading administration statements about Iraq (pdf file complied by Rep. Waxman, of the House minority)

Knight-Ritter: Exiles plant fake stories in media

Knight-Ridder II

Editor and Publisher: Fake Iraqi exile stories planted in media

Editor and Publisher II

Chalabi: “So what if we lied?”

Chalabi family has cashed in for $400 million so far

Google cache of Royce story

The two Chalabi stories got very little coverage in the U.S. media, and the second story has apparently been pulled from the internet by Newsday, which originated it. I saved the Google cache.

THE UNMAKING OF A PRESIDENT-2004

[... this is a little bit old, but well worth thinking about. I couldn't find an "original" posting site via Google, and found all sorts of copies reposted, so I think I'm o.k. in posting the full text. The theory espoused is provactive, at the very least, and the information included re: relative levels of positive/negative coverage is disturbing (although, admittedly, Dean's campaign, in challenging conventional wisdom, was bound to provoke more reaction, positive and negative, than that of his opponents). --Thomas Leavitt]

THE UNMAKING OF A PRESIDENT-2004

By Carl Jensen

Howard Dean supporters across the country were surprised when they

woke up Tuesday morning, January 19, to read reports of Dean’s

unexpected third place finish in the Iowa caucuses.

What happened?

Gov. Dean started 2003 with little name recognition and even less

campaign funding. Through the summer he spread the old familiar theme

of power to the people, mostly through the Internet, and Americans by

the hundreds of thousands responded with their support and dollars. We

wanted to take our country and the Democratic Party back.

Then in late 2003, the media, which had anointed Dean as the front

runner, started to attack him. By the time of the Iowa caucuses, the

polls showed him plummeting and the media’s new darling, Senator John

Kerry, soaring.

Kerry’s remarkable overnight turnaround even surprised the candidate

himself who gleefully declared he was the “Comeback Kerry.”

Meanwhile, the Center for Media and Public Affairs (CMPA), a

nonpartisan, nonprofit research organization in Washington, DC, which

conducts scientific studies of the news media, was monitoring the

nightly network news broadcasts that are the source of news and

information for most Americans.

The results of the CMPA study, released January 15, 2004, revealed that

Gov. Dean received significantly more negative criticism on the

network broadcasts while his Democratic presidential competitors

received significantly more positive comments. The research examined

187 stories broadcast on the ABC, CBS, and NBC evening news in 2003.

Only 49 percent of all on-air evaluations of Gov. Dean in 2003 were

positive while the other Democratic contenders received 78 percent

favorable coverage.

In a follow-up study by CMPA, of the network coverage of the

candidates from January 1 to January 18, the night before

the Iowa caucuses, revealed that the networks selected Kerry and Senator

John Edwards before the Iowa voters did. As you may recall, Kerry

finished first with 38% of the vote; Edwards ranked second, just below

Kerry, with 32%; and Dean managed only a poor third with 18% of the

vote. During the two-and-a-half week period leading up to the Iowa

caucuses, there had not been a single negative word uttered about

Edwards by the three networks (100% favorable coverage) while nearly

all, 96%, of the comments about Kerry were positive.

However, Gov. Dean’s coverage during those first 18 days of January

was significantly less glowing with 42% unfavorable on-air

evaluations.

What happened in the campaign that inspired the media to turn on Dean

and throw their support to uninspiring Kerry?

A clue may be found in a story published in the Washington Post on

November 19, 2003.

The Post reported that, “In an interview Monday night (11/17/03), Dean

unveiled his idea to ‘re-regulate’ utilities, large media companies

and businesses offering employee stock options. He also favors broad

protections for workers, including the right to unionize.”

Also on November 19, the Associated Press reported, “Dean, the

former Vermont governor, said Tuesday that if elected president, he

would move to re-regulate business sectors such as utilities and media

companies to restore faith after corporate scandals such as Enron and

WorldCom.”

Dean’s idea of re-regulating two out-of-control business sectors

produced criticism from some of his competitors and surely struck a

raw nerve within monopolistic utilities and mega-media companies.

I believe Dean’s progressive attack on monopolies helps explain why

the corporate media started piling on Dean, portraying him with the

pejorative term of the “angry candidate.”

But while this helps explain why the media went after Dean, it doesn’t

explain why they suddenly anointed Kerry as their Golden Boy.

However, it would appear that Kerry would not pose a threat to

corporate America while Dean would obviously challenge their

monopolistic control.

First, a search of Lexis Nexis, a comprehensive computer databank of

news and information, failed to find a single comment by Kerry

supporting re-regulation of media companies. In fact, Gov. Dean was

the only major candidate who ventured into no-man’s-land to criticize

media monopolies and even threaten to break them up when elected

president.

We then discovered a newly published book by the Center for Public

Integrity(CPI), a nonprofit, nonpartisan group that does investigative

reporting and research on public policy issues. The book is titled,

“The Buying of the President 2004: Who’s Really Bankrolling Bush and

his Democratic Challengers – and What They Expect in Return, (Harper

Collins, 2004)

According to CPI, the three largest fundraisers in the presidential

campaign at this time are Howard Dean with more than $25 million; John

Kerry with more than $20 million; and, of course, President George W.

Bush with $85.2 million (as of Sept. 30, 2003).

As has been reported, Bush plans to build a war chest of some $200

million for the election. His top major donors include financial firms

Merrill Lynch & Co., Credit Suisse First Boston, UBS Paine Webber, and

Goldman Sachs Group. The President’s top career donor is the

scandal-ridden Enron Corp.

Kerry’s top donors include Fleet Boston Financial Corp., Time Warner,

and a variety of major law firms. Time Warner, as we know, is the

world’s largest media conglomerate. Among a variety of media outlets,

it also owns Internet giant America On Line and CNN – a virtual

cheerleader for Kerry.

The research Center does not cite any major donors for Dean. As we

know, the majority of his contributors are ordinary citizens who

donate an average of $77 dollars. Dean’s “special interest group” is

the American people.

Finally, we come to a January 28, 2004, report from “The Campaign

Desk,” which produces a daily analysis of the 2004 campaign and is

sponsored by the Columbia Journalism Review at Columbia University.

The non-partisan “Campaign Desk” reported that it is concerned “when

the press singles out one candidate for the kind of mauling and piling

on by exaggeration and distortion that Dean has endured in the past

week.

“On CNN last night, Judy Woodruff joined the mob at 10:42 p.m. when

she suggested that perhaps Dean’s lower-key post-election address in

New Hampshire means that he was ‘preparing his minions, all of his

supporters, for the fact that he may not win this nomination?’

“That’s neither fair nor journalism,” “The Campaign Desk” concluded.

There may be a limit to the piling on. When Wolf Blitzer polled his

CNN viewers on January 25, “Are the media unfairly characterizing

Howard Dean’s post-Iowa loss rally?” 89% said “Yes.”

Carl Jensen, Ph.D.

Professor Emeritus,

Sonoma State University,

Founder of Project Censored

(un)Common Sense discussion of public policy in re: the economy.

[Read the whole article. This guy is dead on target with his analysis. Another gem from Dave Farber's IP list. -Thomas]

The Economy Summed Up: Pay Any Price, Bear Any Burden, to Avoid Creating Jobs-http://markschmitt.typepad.com/decembrist/2004/03/the_economy_sum.html

The political analyst Charlie Cook’s weekly column, available by e-mail

subscription http://nationaljournal.com/about/cookcolumn.htm is a real

treasure, and usually offers much more than just the horserace. There’s a

single paragraph in today’s column that I think sums up what we need to

know about the economy and jobs better than anything I’ve read:

In December, the CEO of a California-based high tech firm told me that

“there is no amount of overtime that we will not pay, there is no level of

temporary services that we will not use, there is no level of outsourcing

or offshoring that we will not do, in order to prevent us from having to

hire one new, permanent worker in the U.S.” As I travel around the country,

meeting with business leaders, I hear similar, though less succinct

thoughts in almost every sector and every part of the country. U.S. wages,

health care, and other benefit costs have gotten so high — and the press

by investors for high stock prices is so great — that the premium is on

wringing every last bit of work out of as few employees as possible, to do

anything but incur the costs of adding permanent employees. [emphasis added]

[see url above for full article]

Bush has lost

I don’t see how our comedian President is going to be able to survive this:

“Political pundits recently showcased on National Public Radio’s “Talk of the Nation” said the outcome of this year’s election may rely on the swing votes of undecided voters in states like Oregon. Voters like me.

I’m a registered Republican who is loath to vote for a Democrat. But if President Bush doesn’t act swiftly to get our sons and daughters out of this hand-picked war of his, he won’t get my vote.

Those of us who lost fathers in Vietnam have spent a lifetime debating the wrongs of that war. We shouldn’t have to spend our futures distraught over the sacrifices of our offspring, too — sons like Joel K. Brattain, who gave his life this month while fighting to help free the oppressed people of Iraq.”

“A swing voter’s plea: Get them out of Iraq, and soon”

Richard Clarke may still be a Republican

To the Editor, Portland Oregonian:

Both today and yesterday you printed columns disparaging Richard Clarke’s testimony about 9/11 preparedness. Debra Saunders claims that Clarke is part of “the Clinton machine” and explains that 9/11 was all Clinton’s fault. David Reinhard says that it’s impossible to take Clarke seriously because his friend Rand Beers now works for John Kerry.

Beers and Clarke both worked for Bush as experts on counter-terrorism – Beers took over when Clarke resigned. Neither was a Democrat then, and Clarke isn’t one now. They resigned because they were dissatisfied with Bush’s counter-terrorism performance — Clarke is now giving us the details.

Contra Saunders, Clarke does not exonerate either Clinton or himself. Contra Reinhard, Clarke’s book is being published now because of a three-month security-review delay – not because of the upcoming election.

Reinhard and Saunders are trying to discredit Clarke because they think his book will hurt Bush. Aren’t they the ones being political?

John Emerson

(150 words — count ‘em.)

**********

They don’t usually print my letters; we’ll see.

(UPDATE: They did: Friday, March 26)

Here are some links about Clarke. Clarke has the Republicans terrified — Bush’s anti-terrorist leadership is one of the very few positive things they had to run on, and without it they’re doomed. They’re scarcely contesting his facts at all, and are mostly just trying to discredit him.

Talking Points Memo: just read everything.

Brad Delong: Republican Attack Monkeys

Billmon: Clarke will be hard to discredit

Conason interview of Clarke

Sketch of Clarke’s career

Summary of administration smears against Clarke

Daniel Benjamin (“The Age of Sacred Terror”) backs Clarke

Clarke and Beers are only two of many professionals to resign from the Bush administration


George W. Bush Coloring Book

[Got this in my inbox at SavageStupidity.com today. Looks amusing. Anything that helps spread the word about the "alternative reality" that this president and his administration operate within is a good thing. --Thomas Leavitt]

New Book by Publisher of Temp Slave

Drawing from the imaginative quotes President Bush has uttered over the

years, the George W. Bush Coloring Book illustrates Bush’s very own words

in the form of a coloring book. Illustrator Karen Ocker lends her visually

distinct style to on-the-record quotes such as “It’s amazing I won. I was

running against peace, prosperity and incumbency,” and “I know the human

being and fish can coexist peacefully.” The coloring book includes an essay

on Bush by Joley Wood. Wood has written on numerous Irish writers,

including essays on James Joyce, George Bernard Shaw, William Butler Yeats,

and a preface for Shaw’s “Saint Joan” (Penguin).

Examples at: http://www.gcpress.com/gwbush/

Available through INGRAM.

ISBN: 1891053949

The George W. Bush Coloring Book

8.95

release date March 28, 2004

Contact:

G.K. Darby

Garrett Ct. Press

http://www.gcpress.com/

504.598.4685