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April 05, 2006

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kim

Cal Rice? I thought it was Stanford Rice?
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clarice

The power to delegate, Libby argues , does not include the power to abrogate all responsibility (supervision and direction) as Comey did here. I think the written and oral statements of Comey and Fitz and the absence of anything in the record from Comey's successors indicates beyond argument that he did just that.

TM

Yeah, and I think I had an Attorney Gentle in there. I would blame SpellCheck, but where's the cred?

kim

There is an ancient saying that you can delegate authority, but you can't delegate responsibility.
==================================

danking70

The Plame Game

What Murray Waas’s big scoop may really tell us about Bush’s pre-war deceptions.

By Greg Sargent

http://www.prospect.org/web/page.ww?section=root&name=ViewWeb&articleId=11370

Appalled Moderate

I'd love to read the counterpoint to Clarice's argument, but the link takes me to Clarice's first article. [Fixed, thanks - TM]

A question to Clarice -- obviously, there are ging to be times when an administration needs to be investigated. When a single party controls the White House and Congress, how are you going to get this done, without independent counsels or special counsels, and not have the result be deemed a political whitewash?

clarice

Try following the Special Counsel provisions of the Statute in which you appoint a non-government counsel and subject him to the same oversight you provide other counsel.

Is feeding the media bloodsport for politicos' scalps so significant a goal that we deny the targets the same civil liberties we offer drug dealers?

(Recall, if you will that even under the independent prosecutor provisions scrapped by Congress for overreaching the independent prosecutor had term limits, needed to report to and get approval for key actions--like expanding the scope of the inquiry--to a three judge panel.) Here, Fitz acts as he chooces for as long as he wants at whatever cost.

clarice

I see TAP has wandered down the muddled Waas Nicht yellow brick road to Oz. Odd, I read the facts to the contrary--that Kerry decided his only chance to win was to hit the President on his strongest point:the trust people had in him. And a key factor in this was the Wilson lie that Bush lied, And it seems no matter how many independent commissions review this, the left clings to that tattered,holey security blanket.

kim

I suspect Greg Sargent trims the pieces of jigsaw puzzles in order to fit them together. It looks good until you try to get the picture. God knows what he does with crossword puzzles. Maybe he turns them into essays.
=====================================

Rick Ballard

Here is the correct link to the FDL piece by Christy Hardin Smith.

She might have wondered a little more why Fitz didn't put a bit more into this line of reasoning in his response. He had a very good reason not to.

TM

I suspect Greg Sargent trims the pieces of jigsaw puzzles in order to fit them together.

And he does binary Sudoku.

I do hope to come back to his piece - the premise, that the aluminum tubes were "central" to Bush's war message, is debatable. Especially if you enjoy debates where one side gets to laugh out loud.

Rick Ballard

Clarice,

Kerry spent quite a bit of time sneaking back over the fence to retrieve his medals in order to arrive at the convention with his band of bought brudders and report for doody. I thought his 'bring it on' followed within a week by 'no mas, no mas' was a real high point of his campaign.

You're right about him running against the strong point and Ambassador Munchausen was supposed to do the trick for getting things started. Can't really blame him considering his lack of knowledge or familiarity concerning truth.

ANONYMOUS

He's narrowing his powers because he has fundamentally destroyed the department of Justice and is looking for a way out of 'looking the other way' in an organized crime investigation.

topsecretk9

Just in case the link was missed, Seixon fisked Waas on April 1st.

kim

Greg's article presumes that the administration did not know that the tubes were the subject of big controversy. Experts disagreed loudly. Sargent even includes some of the weasel words. The admin chose to interpret that tiny piece of the whole picture on the safe side. Besides, what were the tubes for, if not something nefarious?

I do hope you come back to his article. I haven't the patience to deconstruct it. It's a mess of paranoia.

Actually it's probably just a late entry into the April Fool's edition of the Friday Night Rove Rayola.
=========================

clarice

Anonymous, could you expand on that, please?

clarice

Rick, it would be hard for me to pick the high point of the laughfest that was the Kerry campaign, but the boat trip to the Convention hall where Michael Moore got a key seat next to Jimmy Carter and Teresa expounded on her international testiness was primo.

JohnH

Clarice, your article was a great read. As I read through it, I kept imagining how this would have read if done by a WaPo reporter, with thumb-sucking quotes from the reporter's favorite con law experts, etc.

It's a great example of how much higher the quality of reportage can be on the web. And FDL provides the counterargument.

I am surprised that Fitz is still pursuing the case. It makes me think that he wants the court to put him out of his misery, so that someone else will take the heat. I think he expected a much bigger party and now wishes his lone guest would leave already.

clarice

Thank you, JohnH. Like the first in the series, it is aided enormously by the contributions of the posters here, who provide valuable research and insights . And I am grateful to you all--well almost all.

kim

Thanks, Top, obviously Seixon ate Murray's lunch.

Once again, this is such a silly meme, depending on a misreading of what is happening now in Iraq. I mean fundamentally, attacking Bush about uranium tubes in Niger, means believing we shouldn't have deposed Saddam. With a non-perverted press, we would get some facts about the 'run-up' to the war. We should be proud of the process. It produced the right result. Free Iraqis.
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Sue

http://politicalhumor.about.com/od/funnypictures/ig/100-Funny-Pictures/John-Kerry-Bunny-Suit.htm>#1 on my list

holycow

With a non-perverted press, we would get some facts about the 'run-up' to the war. We should be proud of the process. It produced the right result. Free Iraqis.
=====================================

Posted by: kim | April 05, 2006 at 09:04 AM


Yep, a lot of them are dead - but they're free.

kim

As has been widely noted, fewer are dying now than under Saddam, and it's in honest(?) conflict, not from sadistic repression. Your choice.
===========================

jerry

Dead Iraqis, lots of dead Iraquis. Lots of dead and injured Americans. Congress and the WH destroying numerous protections of Americans' civil rights, conspiring to avoid responsibility and oversight.

Being lied into a war where poor people's kids are killed and rich people get a tax break is pretty indefensible, then our grandkids get to pay off the debt for it all -- while Bush imagines himself some glorious fusion of all his favorite Presidents.

Sue

The Iraqis should stop killing other Iraqis. No?

clarice

Ah, time to hoist the red banner and sing the Internationale. Reminds me of WWII where the war was evil in some circles until the end of the Hitler-Stalin pact.

kim

jerry, your grandkids will get it right. They'll get Social Security right, too, In fact, ask them about SS now.
===============================

maryrose

Kudos again clarice! No stone was left unturned;all the players will recognize themselves and their motives are on full display.Excellent!
I guess we can say Kerry was hoisted on his own petard with a leg up from Teraysa and Michael Moore. My favorite moment-Michael Moore getting booed at the Repub convention.

maryrose

Notice how almost daily Saddam is charged with even more egregious atocities yet the msm is silent.

clarice

Thanks, maryrose.

Foo Bar

As has been widely noted, fewer are dying now than under Saddam,

If you go back to the 80s and 90s and look at some of Saddam's larger-scale atrocities and do the comparison that way (i.e. take a long-term average of the death rate under Saddam), then maybe that's plausible, but my understanding is that if you compare the last few pre-invasion years to the first few post-invasion years, then it's not at all clear that fewer are dying now.

The only study I'm aware of that attempted to answer that question, the Lancet study, claimed to show the opposite. I'm sure many people here have critiques of the Lancet study, but I'm not aware of another study that came to the opposite conclusion, i.e., that fewer Iraqis are dying now than in '01 or '02. Maybe there is one and I'm just not aware of it, though. I'd be interested to hear about it if it exists.

cathyf
Yep, a lot of them are dead - but they're free.
Under Saddam, the only ones who were free were the dead ones. I can see your point that he counts as a Great Liberator when you only count dead people.

cathy :-)

kim

Good question, Foobar, and I don't know the facts. The Lancet article is statistically flawed; where are the bodies?

Still, better to die fighting for your politics than have whole clans disappear in the night. An IED in a marketplace is horrifying, until you consider shredders.
==================================

cathyf
but my understanding is that if you compare the last few pre-invasion years to the first few post-invasion years, then it's not at all clear that fewer are dying now.
Oh, you mean all those lefties were lying when they whined about the 50,000 Iraqi children killed every year from the sanctions that Saddam caused by refusing to follow his cease-fire agreements?

cathy :-)

clarice

The decision to invade was a bold one because it was not without peril. OTOH, deciding not to as the UN had lost the stomach for continuing even the ineffective and corrupted sanctions program was more perilous still.
One has to put blinders on not to see that. And to ignore all that we have found out and continue to find out about this rich, psychotic leader in the middle of an area which contains oil, the necessary element for all industrial nations.
Unless you think hiding under the covers makes the threat disappear, that is.

Rick Ballard

Clarice,

I've wondered if progressive's continuous alignment with dictators and dictatorships isn't a reflexsive acknowledgement of the basic lies at the core of their philosophy. Knowing that you are persistently peddling a crap philosophy that has never functioned anywhere where it has been tried must make cuddling up to Uncle Joe or Adolph or Saddam seem reasonable. How else can they hope to stay in business?

clarice

I think the soi-disant labeling of such thinking "progressive" is the beiggest of jokes. Would could be more regresive than promoting dictatorships? At the heart of all of these regressives is a desire to rule over others and a fervent hatred ot liberty .
Psychologists talk about patients who destroy therapy by making hash of the meaning of communication (up is down, right is left). So it is with the regressives. Liberty to them is tyranny. Etc.

Specter

Great article clarice. Sorry I'm late to the party but that horrible tax-filing-thingy got in the way. LOL

As more and more holes are punched through the left's veneer (Or as Jakie seems to think the centrists...yea right), they keep falling back on the lance they proceeded to charge forward with in the beginning - Bush lied. Seems like one day they are going to impale themselves on that lance. Isn't it cool though that this whole Rovian plot should come to a climax just before elections?

clarice

**should be"I think the soi-disant labeling of such thinking "progressive" is the biggest of jokes. What could be more regresive **********"fervent hatred OF liberty***"

Specter

BTW - that wasn't a bunny costume. That was John's own idea of camoflauge on those dangerous missions. Obviously the rest of the troop let him lead....

clarice

Thanks, Specter.

You shoulda married a CPA as I did and be free of all that--ditto to Cathy..LOL

Right now I'm feeling frustrated, though, because it seems impossible to break through the wall of lies. After the media firestorm except for the occasional rantings of the deranged about Rove and more indictments to come, etc..there is little interest in the story as the case falls apart.

Maybe when it's the media's turn on the hotseat or when they, too, attack the appointment things will change..

kim

There has to some reason for the illiberality of so much leftist thought. Why, though? I've know so many good, kind, thoughtful, even intelligent self-labeled liberals, and it's as if they've been hypnotized. So called progressivism, or politically correct ideology, is just so much lotus.
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Foo Bar

Cathy,

That's a fair observation, but the concerns about the humanitarian cost of sanctions were primarily raised pre-Oil-For-Food program. And yes, the Oil-For-Food program was unbelievably corrupt, and billions that should have gone to Iraqi kids were siphoned off, but billions in aid did get through. So by the time we invaded the humanitarian impact of sanctions was not nearly the concern it had been in the early-to-mid 90s.

Again, I'm happy to look at hard evidence that fewer people are dying now than in '01 or '02, but I haven't come across it as of yet.

Specter

We can take some heart that as the world turns and as the blogosphere becomes more prevalent, that the MSM will continue to lose followers. I mean - Katie Couric as a news anchor? - give me a break.....

With that said, it's too bad that the FBI will miss so much of the news - after all they can't even get all their people email addresses....LOL

kim

So if fewer were dying in the two years pre-war than in the two post-war, then we shouldn't have deposed him? You shouldn't make that argument even if you wanted to.
=============================

kim

I went by your last post so fast I missed an important point, AB. You do know that those billions were diverted from children's nutrition in order to consolidate Saddam's power, locally, regionally and globally, and to enhance his ability to project that power, even unto Manhattan, sort of like the Iranians are doing now, don't you?
===================================

nittypig

Here's a link from "The Nation". Reliably Liberal.

http://www.thenation.com/doc/20011203/cortright

Prof Garfield at Columbia uses meta analysis of a whole mess of articles to come up with excess deaths in Iraq between 1990 and 2000, due to sanctions and the Gulf war as being 350,000. That's 35,000 per year, due to sanctions and bombings alone in that period. Add in deaths by the government and you've got a lot more.

The Lancet study is an extreme in all the estimates of Iraqi deaths since March 2003. If I recall correctly it puts the total at 200,000. If you look at all the published data (that aren't skewed by oversampling Fallujah in 2004) the best estimate is more like 50,000. At least 10,000 of those were combatants attacking Iraqi or coalition forces. I'd be inclined not to include them, because I happen to believe that killing MY enemies is a good thing. Your mileage may vary.

But based on all of that it's pretty darn likely that there are fewer Iraqis being killed now than before the war. The distribution is quite different, fewer children now, more sunnis, and certainly more foreign jihadis.

kim

My comment above addressed to Foo Bar. My ABject apology for the mistake.
=============================

kim

Nice, nittypig, nice.

Lancet was garbage. It oversampled Fallujah. A discredit to bioscience.
=============================

Rick Ballard

Clarice,

I don't regard 'progressive' as having been stolen or misused, one must just place the final objective in view in order to appreciate the usage. Every step a 'progressive' proposes leads ever closer to tyranny and dictatorship. A quick look at the petty tyrants running the laughingly named liberal arts side of the unis reveals that fact.

boris

fewer people are dying

The people dying before were victims of Saddam. Now they're victims of Islamofascists.

The argument that keeping Saddam on a short leash produced fewer casualties presumes the will to enforce that forever. The real question was "let him go back to killing" or "take him out".

Now the real question is "stop Islamofascism" or "let them take over". Don't see how that's going to result in "fewer people dying".

clarice

So many fools and charlatans. So few menshes. (History of the world condensed version,)

kim

Yes, Boris, there is a monumental difference in the nature of the 'victims', a distinction, a nuance so to speak, to which the war opposition is blind, or dumb about.

I think the problem is a fundamental misunderstanding of man's nature. Let's take two examples. The UN, prev iteration, the League of Nations, a starry eyed vision of creating a worldwide democracy. Look at the sinkhole of human misery and degradation it has become. The second, the oil-for-food program, designed by idealists to feed starving children, utilized by pragmatists to get rich and to terrify.

That man can imagine himself to be a glorious creature does not make him so. It's narcism, really. Lotus eaters.
===============================

kim

Men shun menschen mention, munchkin.

Patrick R. Sullivan

I'd like Jeff's opinion on the believability of Hardin Smith's claim to be a lawyer. The revelation that Fitz knew in Feb 2004 who Novak's source was is an obvious investigation ender if he has to tell that to his SUPERVISOR.

Imagine an acting Att'y General who has to allocate scarce prosecutorial resources among competing uses, hearing; 'Well, we've got Novak's source, and it's true, it isn't a partisan gunslinger. We're not going to prosecute him because there was no malicious intent, he was just passing on background information on how Wilson came to be chosen to go to Niger.'

I'd expect that supervisor to say, 'Okay, wrap it up, and move on.' Which is clearly what Team Libby is arguing. And it goes right over her head.

Specter

clarice, and all legal professionals here:

Is there a code of conduct for prosecutors as there is for judges? I know that there is such a code for judges at the federal and my state level. Is there a similar special set of rules for prosecutors? As opposed to just the general ethics rules applied to all lawyers....

kim

There is an overiding duty to see that justice is done. Fitz has not been dutiful.
==================

clarice

There are the Department of Justice regulations and guidelines and an office of professional responsibility to whom complaints of violations can be directed for investigation and resolution. Do they have jurisdiction over a non-employee whom the Acting AG said was not bound by all that?

clarice

Here is an example of the kind of thing regularly sent to all prosecutors to guide their conduct on almost everything. http://news.findlaw.com/nytimes/docs/doj/ashcroft92203chrgmem.pdf This, in addition to the regs.http://www.usdoj.gov/usao/eousa/foia_reading_room/usam/title9/13mcrm.htm

kim

"Do whatever you like" negates duty.
=======================

cathyf
The creation of a Special Counsel is an attempt to square a circle and place someone in the Executive Branch with the constitutional authority to conduct an investigation, yet who is sufficiently independent of executive oversight that he/she can credibly investigate the White House staff, the Vice President, and the President.
But I think that it was unconstitutional precisely because it was designed from the beginning as a cover-up for an unconstitutional act.

Look, what you had was appointees (superior officers) of the previous administration along with the bureaucrats (inferior officers) overwhelmingly dominated by the party of the previous administration, who were doing what political partisans do in a democracy -- attempting to drive the administration of the opposite party from power and substitute an administration of their own party by winning an election.

But they went outside the law to do so, specifically the law that prohibits politicking by intelligence officers. And they got caught by their superiors, the administration which had been elected and was responsible for the functioning of the government. So, clearly working under the philosophy that the best defense is a good offense, they made ridiculous accusations against their bosses, and then got their party members in the CIA (Tenet) and the DoJ (Comey) to start a backfire by creating an investigation of the White House which would prevent any real investigation of their own lawbreaking. They had to make Fitzgerald the acting dictator precisely in order to prevent the president (the guy elected to the job of supervising the executive branch) and attorney general (the guy appointed and confirmed by elected officials to the job of supervising the DoJ) from exercising the authority vested in them by the democratic process.

That's how our democracy is supposed to work -- the people who are held accountable by the electorate have the power over what they are held accountable for, and not some unelected bureaucrats. It looks to me like Wilson and his VIPs buddies staged a little mini-coup attempting to extricate their own sorry butts from the mess they had created, and were pretty successful. Even if Walton rules in Libby's favor and dismisses the charges, and Fitzgerald slinks back to Chicago, Wilson and the VIPs got away with it.

I think if you really want to talk about a circle needing squaring, I would say that we seem to have a bigger problem with the party in power being able to investigate lawbreakers in the party out of power. Notice the inability to prosecute Sandy Burger for anything serious. Or the extreme tiptoeing around the crystal-clear violations of the Espionage Act by a Democratic senator, FISA court judge, the NYT, etc.

cathy :-)

clarice

I agree with much of what you say. Nevertheless, based on prior cases, I think had Comey appointed someone under the terms of the Act the appointment would not be in the trouble it is in today.

Personally, I think the risk of special prosecutions is greater than the risk of handling such matters through the regular US Atty/DoJ supervision process. And if people are unahppy with the result, there is the ballot box.

Patton

Seeing how the mainstream media have MOVED ON from this, anyone think they still believe
Rove will be indicted?
Cheney will resign?
The President will be an unindicted co-conspirator?

Maybe next Fitzmas?

Cecil Turner

I think had Comey appointed someone under the terms of the Act the appointment would not be in the trouble it is in today.

Yes, but assuming reasonable oversight, the investigation would also likely have closed in March '04 with nothing to show for it.

Rick Ballard

Cathy,

The DoJ problem still goes back to the firing of all fifty US A's by Miz Hillary early in Bubba's first term, does it not? By doing so advancement of investigators and other DoJ personnel fell under the control of political appointees in one fell swoop rather than over what used to be considered the 'normal' process of attrition through time. Just like the erection of Gorelick's wall served a main purpose somewhat different than that which it was purported to achieve.

Patton

WMD was never the CENTRAL theme of the toppling Saddam reasoning and certainly not nithoid things like Aluminum Tubes, etc.

Bush outlined the reasons for Liberating Iraq in a speech before the UN in Sept. He gave 4 main reason and WMD was only pasrt of the fourth reason.

In fact, WMD was the LEFTs main reason and the UNs main reason but not Bushs, his main reason was to defeat Al Queda like radicalism, you had to overthrow the tyrants in the Middle East and set up countries that:

Respected the UN
Respected the rule of law
Respected each others rights

Patton

What is the most ridicuklous argument regarding the aluminum tubes is that those using it forget ONE thing,
REGARDLESS OF WHAT SADDAM PLANNED TO DO WITH THEM...THEY WERE STILL ILLEGAL UNDER THE UN SANCTIONS
AND IT SHOWED SADDMA INTENT TO VIOLATE SANCTIONS TO MAINTAIN HIS WEAPONS PROGRAMS - REGARDLESS OF WHICH WEAPON IT HAPPENED TO BE.

Patton

The left has also quickly forgotten that one of their main reasons for opposing the war was because Saddam would use his WMD against our troops.

In addition to the fact they had used the WMD issue for 8 years to keep murderous sanctions on the INNOCENT population while Bush wanted to punish the guilty and free the innocent. The Liberals rewarded Saddam while he punished the innocent populace.

My biggest fauklt with Bush is he won't point this out every week to the American public.

Patton

In addition, as Tenent pointed out in his letter regarding the Wilson affair. The DCI had 6 main reasons why they made the assessment that Saddam was pursuing a Nuclear program.....and that did not include the Niger issue...it didn't even make the top 6.
So 'debunking' Niger would not have changed the NIE in the slightest.

clarice

Excellent point, Cecil.

And ditto Rick, but the problem at DoJ is greater than that. When I came here 4 decades ago the Dept was full of brilliant lawyers. The older supervisory attorneys had graduated during or just after the depression when (becuase they were largely Jewish) they were barred from employment at the big firms.They went to work for DoJ, were called out for wervice in the war, and when they returned continued on there. The younger lawyers were generally the cream of the crop,, service in those years being considered a good thing.
Those old supervisors are long gone.And partly because of the higher cost of education and partly because govt service has lost its charm, and mostly because in those years the pay scale between that work and earnings in the private sector has grown so enormously (they used to be fairly consistent), a poorer caliber of recruits is the result.

Most of the better prosecutors leave after a few years to make big bucks representing white collar criminals, so the supervisory pool is thin.

If the pool were deeper, you'd not see Fitz handling this case, the Holyland case, the Conrad Black case, etc all at the same time.

Patton

A very simple fact...

1. the CIA/British briefed Cheney that Saddam might be pursuing Yellowcake in Niger.

2. It is not disputed that Cheney requested the CIA run the information to ground and get an answer.

THATS ALL YOU NEED TO KNOW.

Because if Cheney just wanted to slant the intelligence, he had a report of Saddam trying to obtain Uranium....why ask the CIA to see if it is true or not? Why not just say....we had intelligence that Saddam was doing this.

If Cheney was just trying to paint Saddam in the worst light, he wouldn't have even asked the CIA to run the information to ground.

cathyf

I think ultimately the whole "how do the people in power investigate themselves" question is a false dilemma. I went back and read the wikipedia article on the Star Chamber and John Lilburne. Highly recommended (both are short articles) and you'll see that we've known for 400 years that the Star Chamber / Special Prosecutor approach is alluring in theory and catastrophic in practice.

Our founding fathers had a different idea -- competition. You keep things out in the open, and expose your opponents' malfeasance using a free press (which the founding fathers clearly expected to be enthusiastically partisan), congressional hearings, and/or the like. You specifically keep this stuff out of the judicial system because things like grand jury secrecy, presumption of innocence, and the high stakes of fines and imprisonment mean that rascals guilty of venialities can the judicial system to hide those venialities from the voters.

Ultimately the problem is that when upright ethical people face off against audacious rascals, it's the audacity that gets ya every time. Tinkering with the policing system is futile -- whatever you do they will have the chutzpuh to use it for their own gain, because chutzpuh is what they've got. The only thing that works is to expose them for what they are, and let the voters choose.

cathy :-)

clarice

Fedora, the brilliant researcher who found the EPIC speech and posted it on FR, notes this re the admission that Harlow may have told Martin sometime beginning on June 1:

"Now June 1, 2003 would be prior to or contemporary with Walter Pincus' inquiry to the CIA about Wilson's Niger trip, which was sometime during the first week of June 2003. If Harlow was willing to disclose Plame's background to Martin at that time, it makes it virtually certain that Pincus would have been provided that same information (if he did not have it already). Presumably this could be verified if Fitzgerald had allowed Pincus' testimony to be leaked to the press the way he has allowed the testimony of other witnesses to be leaked--but as we have seen, Fitzgerald's illegal leaks are very selective (and when do we get to start an investigation of who's behind the flood of leaks from Fitzgerald's office?). To my knowledge Pincus has not commented publicly on this aspect of his testimony (and even if he did we'd have no guarantee he'd accurately report what he testified, as he and his Post colleague Woodward seem to have separate versions of the truth and neither of their words are worth the paper they're printed on, much like Fitzgerald's law degree)."http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/news/1609538/posts?page=12

I do not agree with the claim that the leaks came from Fitz' office, however, I'm not even some of the claimed leaks are real. But that Harlow may have been a source for Pincus is a plausible theory.


Rick Ballard

Cathy,

Hear, hear.

What's cool is that we are now the press in much the same manner in which it existed at the time of the Founding. Readers may sift and think and compare between myriad versions of the 'truth' in order to come to a conclusion regarding that version which best meets their subjective standards.

And the gatekeepers at the Columbia School of Journalism can kiss..

Well, we don't actually have any further need for gatekeepers, do we?

clarice

Well put, Cathy which is why I say that going around the normal criminal justice system is more dangerous than relying on the normal means to prosecute claimed wrongdoing by office holders.

cathyf
What's cool is that we are now the press in much the same manner in which it existed at the time of the Founding.
I once read a statistic that Thomas Paine's pamphlet Common Sense sold one million copies at a time when the population of the 13 colonies was about 3 million. That means that virtually every literate adult read it. Kind of gives you pause when you compare the level of civic engagement in more modern times. Imagine a site that got 100,000,000 readers...

cathy :-)

kim

Uh, American Idol.
=========

cahmd

If the judge rules for Libby and throws out the case, I sense the MSM argument will be that the Admnistration purposely created a "defective" Special Prosecutor; a judicial Frankenstein in the manner of Mel Brooks. How else can you explain( or so they will say) Fitzgerald's monstrous incompetency?

cathyf
going around the normal criminal justice system is more dangerous than relying on the normal means to prosecute claimed wrongdoing by office holders.
I think the mistake, from a constitutional perspective, is using the criminal justice system at all. They are simply criminalizing politics, and if you look at the history of the Star Chamber you see what the ultimate logical outcome of that is.

AM started with the most succinct statement of the delusion:

When a single party controls the White House and Congress, how are you going to get this done, without independent counsels or special counsels, and not have the result be deemed a political whitewash?
The danger is not from the president or congress, it's from the bureaucracy. J. Edgar Hoover had blackmail on everybody -- democrats, republicans, executive branch, legislative branch, judicial branch. It didn't matter which party had "control" of the White House or Congress.

cathy :-)

Foo Bar

Lancet was garbage. It oversampled Fallujah. A discredit to bioscience.

The Lancet study's 100,000 estimate that got all the publicity was the estimate derived after excluding the outlier numbers from Fallujah. From the paper:

We estimate that 98,000 more deaths than expected (8000-194,000) happened after the invasion outside of Falluja and far more if the outlier Falluja cluster is included

I concede, by the way, that it was wrong for some to claim that 100,000 is a rock-solid figure when the 95% confidence interval was 8,000 to 194,000. What they should have said was simply, "we are more than 95% confident that more people are dying now than before".
There are probably legitimate criticisms of the paper that can be made, but unfortunately for you folks, oversampling Fallujah is not one of them.


nittypig,

The metastudy that the Nation article cites covers the entire decade of the 90s, i.e., includes several pre-Oil-For-Food years, and in any case the article itself was published in back in '01, while I was asking about death rates in the year or 2 pre-invasion vs. post invasion. Anyway, it's not clear that some of the causes (e.g. infrastructure damage) cited in that article for pre-invasion deaths did not continue to persist (or worsen?) post-invasion.

kim,


So if fewer were dying in the two years pre-war than in the two post-war, then we shouldn't have deposed him? You shouldn't make that argument even if you wanted to.

I'm not making that argument. A somewhat respectable argument in favor of invasion can be made that acknowledges extra short-term deaths and contends that this is outweighted by longer-term benefits. I just don't think people should go around implying that it's a settled matter that fewer people are dying now when that's far from clear.

cathyf

I still think we have a much bigger problem with the DoJ investigating who violated the Espionage Act by leaking the NSA program to the NYT. This clearly is a criminal case, so it can't be pitched to the political process for resolution, and many of the prime suspects are current and former Department of Justice employees. The same crowd that has a fainting spell at the idea of the DoJ investigating the White House can't seem to find any conflict at all in the DoJ investigating their own friends and colleagues.

cathy :-)

dbn

Cathyf:

Scalia made the same point in his dissent in Morrisson v. Olson:

The notion that every violation of law should be prosecuted, including -- indeed, especially -- every violation by those in high places, is an attractive one, and it would be risky to argue in an election campaign that that is not an absolutely overriding value. Fiat justitia, ruat coelum. Let justice be done, though the heavens may fall. The reality is, however, that it is not an absolutely overriding value, and it [p733] was with the hope that we would be able to acknowledge and apply such realities that the Constitution spared us, by life tenure, the necessity of election campaigns.

Gary Maxwell

The asshole was shooting missles at our jet fighters trying to shoot one down. That the pilots were very skillful and able to evade the missles does not in anyway reduce the causa belli. In fact the Gulf War was never ended it was merely a ceasefire that Iraq violated in every way imaginable.

Good riddance to bad rubbish. Take you sorry ass sumpathies for a tyrant to someone who gives a rats ass. I would suggest the folks at either International ANSWER or Hamas might love to hear your caterwalling.

cathyf
I concede, by the way, that it was wrong for some to claim that 100,000 is a rock-solid figure when the 95% confidence interval was 8,000 to 194,000. What they should have said was simply, "we are more than 95% confident that more people are dying now than before".
Your own numbers call you a liar. Unless you really believe that Saddam killed fewer than 8,000 people in 2000 and 2001. (If you do believe such delusions, then best to get that out now.)

cathy :-)

clarice

cathy, I think that when there is evidence of a violation of law, there is a need to procced, but the normal criminal procedure while imperfect is always less subject to the abuses of these special proccedings.
(The maguffin here I think is that the referral from the CIA itself had to be based on lies.We know she wasn't covert in the relevant 5 year period of time, we know there was no damage to national security, we know that Harlow blabbed about her so the agency could never establish it had taken all steps to protect her identity, we know the agency let Wilson blab about the trip etc, etc.)In sum, the government never had a sound basis upon which to initiate this investigation at all.

Foo Bar

Your own numbers call you a liar. Unless you really believe that Saddam killed fewer than 8,000 people in 2000 and 2001

This is a misunderstanding of the paper's conclusions. The paper is not saying that a total of between 8,000 and 194,000 died post-invasion. The paper is saying that that's how many more people died post-invasion in less than a year and a half than in roughly the same time period pre-invasion. So take whatever number X is thought to be the number of people that died pre-invasion from all causes (Saddam, sanctions, heart attack, car accident, etc.). The paper's conclusion is that the total number of deaths from all causes post invasion was probably somewhere between X + 8000 and X plus 194,000.

Brian Palmer

Cathy, you seem pretty misinformed about the Lancet study to be calling people liars. It was studying increases in mortality pre- vs post- invasion; it concluded that there was an increase of about 98,000 deaths with a confidence interval betweeen 8000 and 194,000. Whatever the deaths were before the invasion, the study discovered that they had gone up by a significant amount.

Tim Lambert's blog archives have a great deal of discussion about the Lancet study if you're actually interested in following the debates about it.

kim

It was garbage. There were no 98,000 bodies.
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Sue

confidence interval betweeen 8000 and 194,000

What does that mean?

kim

You missed the point, Foo Bar, which I've repeatedlly made and has only been acknowledged by the war supporters here, and that is the nature of the dying is fundamentally different under despotic repression than under political strife. Address that if you dare. And please stop with the Lancet bit. It was political hit job and they should be ashamed of themselves.
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Florence Schmieg

So if people die in a war, there should never be a war? We lost over half a million Americans during the Civil War. But the slaves were freed. At the beginning of that war that wasn't the main reason for fighting it. Yet history recognizes that to be the overwhelming reason why that war was worth the losses. Or should we have waited until people became more "enlightened" and slavery would have simply died away eventually? That sounds good as long as you're not the slave.

Rick Ballard

Those are the parameters for an Unscientific Wild Ass Guess. At least that's the technical definition.

Sue

::grin::

Is it the +/- error rate?

Gary Maxwell

confidence interval betweeen 8000 and 194,000.

In other words no confidence that the number spouted was any good at all as the range was so large that the true number could be damn near zero ( ie 8000 for the mentally and statistically challenged). If you cant get your range any narrower you basically have way too small a sample. You can reduce the range but with an inverse erffect of the confidence level. IE it might be somewhat narrower in range at a 50% confidence level. Of course no researcher would ever quote such a thing and expect to be taken as serious.

Rick Ballard

Florence,

The Copperheads argued that getting rid of slavery wasn't worth fighting or dieing for during the entire Civil War. Today's progressive liberals are no different. They've never met a tyrant whose boot they wouldn't lick.

Appalled Moderate

cathyf:

In the Plame matter, your suggested approach is problematic. If I disclosed all I knew about Wilson, Plame, and Plame's dealings, I may well violate the Espionage Act, and do some harm to our intelligence gathering processes.

Before you cry BS on me, is the aproach you suggest a good one for catching the folk who linked the NSA material? Would you feel comfortable with that?

I am with you on not wanting to criminalize everything, especially political controversies. But don't you feel that when a government official is called on to testify, he really ought to tell the truth? Isn't there some sort of obligation there?

kim

Basically yes, Sue. I believe it means that the study's authors believe it is reliable at predicting that the number of deaths truly was in that range. Such an absurdly wide range, by the way, is another marker of what garbage the study is. It says so on its face, and this supposedly in a respectable, even stodgy, British medical journal. Unbelievable.
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Brian Palmer

Sue, a confidence interval of 8000 to 194,000 excess deaths means that 95% of all samples on the population will produce a number within that range (see the Wikipedia article on confidence intervals for more details)

On the one hand, that's a big range, which complicates saying "there were 100,000 excess dead"; but on the other hand, it gives a high confidence that there were more people dying in the 18 months after the invasion than in the period before the invasion.

Sue

Brian,

Okay, so did they just pick a number about half way between those 2 numbers? Split the difference if you will?

kim

Too small a sample, and I believe they oversampled Fallujah. And you, Brian Palmer don't know the number dead in the 18 months pre-war, nor would you care to contemplate the manner of their death, I daresay.

But look at the meme. TWO HUNDRED THOUSAND DEAD. BUSH LIED, PEOPLE DIED.

Joe Wilson and his pals lied, and the truth is dead to you.
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Wilson/Plame