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April 24, 2009

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Porchlight

Buddy Holly and the Crickets. Well, that probably isn't quite raucous enough.

Charlie (Colorado)

The Byrds.

PeterUK

Looks like a constituency tha Obama should go out and address.

anduril

This looks like a lightly trafficked thread, so I'll dump this here.

I was somewhat surprised to see John Hinderaker's piece at Powerline this morning: Dueling Narratives, in which he actually presents two sides to the controversy swirling around Jane Harman. He even goes so far as to quote two key passages from Ed Morrisey's Hot Air blog, Frum’s confused defense of Jane Harman and AIPAC--and state that he agrees with at least part of Morrisey's judgment:

[T]he lack of a prosecution of the Times for their entirely irresponsible publication does not negate the fact that Franklin, Weissman, and Rosen all broke the law. They took classified government information and gave it to a foreign embassy without approval from the legal authority over that data. They may or may not have had altruistic motives for it, but that's an issue for sentencing, not a defense against the charges. And if the Department of Justice had ever discovered who leaked all that material to the Times or the Post, they'd have been next, especially when Bush was in office.

...

Nor does this touch at all the allegations which Harman faces. The article published by CQ Politics based on NSA wiretap transcripts make it appear that Harman agreed to wield her influence to block the prosecution of the three in exchange for support for her bid to chair the Intel Committee. She's bargaining to obstruct justice in exchange for lobbyist support for her ambitions. If these transcripts check out, then Harman committed a corrupt act regardless of whether one likes the prosecution of the three or not.

In the end, Hinderaker comes down on Frum's side, but a lot of his reasoning has to do with 1) the failure to prosecute the NYT leak(s) and 2) the fact that the current controversy was itself occasioned by leaks that are illegal. These are aspects that I, too, am troubled by. Factor #2 if true certainly speaks to the frustration that the prosecutors and current/former members of the intelligence community are feeling in the face of what they clearly believe to be politically motivated DoJ decisions. Cuts both ways, and is one more example of the debasement of our system, in all three branches. IMO.

anduril

Oh, hey, while I'm here I may as well drop this link, too: The fall of Microsoft.

It's just as OT as the previous one.

anduril

Frustrating--what's with typepad?

The fall of Microsoft

anduril

Oh, what the hell: The True Believer:

In 2002-2004, George W. Bush actively campaigned for zero down and zero doc mortgages in the name of closing the racial gap in minority homeownership. This sent a big signal to the financial industry that federal financial regulators would not be actively enforcing traditional lending standards.

The Housing Bubble took off in 2004, helping Bush get re-elected, with his share of his strategically treasured Hispanic vote up from about 35% in 2000 to 40% in 2004 as Hispanics got more mortgages and more jobs as construction workers and home improvement fixer-uppers.

This is similar to how Richard Nixon had his friend Fed Chairman Arthur Burns inflate the money supply in 1972 so he could get re-elected. The interesting thing, though, is that Bush appears to have been largely uncynical. If the month after his re-election, Bush had signaled to the Executive Branch and to the industry that they shouldn't be quite so lax on mortgage standards any more, there wouldn't have been a mortgage meltdown.

But he wasn't that cynical. He drank his own Kool-Aid.

And there's more good stuff where that came from!

narciso

So based on the C.Q story, which has been fileted here. like a bad piece of fugu, we have no idea what the facts in this story are. I guess if they actually had the goods,
there'd be a quote, no from the transcript. I mean you leaked part of it anyways.

anduril

narciso, more terseness! Unfortunately, the link doesn't come through: which has been fileted "here." I assume you meant to link to some substantive analysis at the word "here." Yes?

Charlie (Colorado)

Anduril, I've known Steve for like 20 years. He's a good guy, but I've very rarely known him to be right on any of these things.

I think it's very probable MS is going to lose market share; Vista was a dog, and frankly I don't see W7 repairing it. But there are a lot of people who will stick with Windows, and Office is still the clear winner. (I made my conversion to Macs because I could have a real operating system and still run real Office.)

anduril

Good news! New Home Sales Finally Bottoming.

To be clear: This does not mean that we're going to see a rebound. Just that sales of New Homes won't likely fall all the way to zero. Inventories of new homes are returning to normal, but inventories of existing homes are still high, so prices should continue to fall.

Pretty graphs, too!

Charlie (Colorado)

like a bad piece of fugu

Lips getting numb?

anduril

Just thought it was provocative. Hey, what's up with typepad? I faithfully preview my posts and they come out screwed up anyway--I mean the formating. Of course. That's two on this thread.

anduril

Here, I'll try to do two more links, and I'll (as usual) preview before posting:

Public-Private Partnership DOA

Hey, talk about good news! And here's the other one.

New Home Sales Finally Bottoming

This time I'll preview, then return to edit before I hit "post."

anduril

Maybe posting from edit mode is the ticket.

narciso

I meant on the three threads on the topic, anduril, try to keep up. By the 'rogue prosecutors of the OPI, are lawyering up. with Marsh, the fat guy getting Rove's atty

clarice

anduril:"The article published by CQ Politics based on NSA wiretap transcripts make it appear that Harman agreed to wield her influence to block the prosecution of the three in exchange for support for her bid to chair the Intel Committee. She's bargaining to obstruct justice in exchange for lobbyist support for her ambitions. If these transcripts check out, then Harman committed a corrupt act regardless of whether one likes the prosecution of the three or not."

I find this nonsense. Of course we haven't seen the actual transcript only second or third hand accounts of it from persons who obviously want this weak case to go forward, BUT, there is not a single indication that Harman did more than a polite,"Ill look into it and see what I can do." She denies ever speaking to anyone at DoJ or the Wh about it and no one contradicts that.(Not even Szady who as I said I suspect is one of the leakers along with addle pated Scheuer and Lang.)

I interned once in a congressional office and we were regularly "looking into" hundreds of things involving federal bureaucracies from soc, sec records on up.

The claim that there is anything illegal or unethical about getting constituent groups to lobby for a chairmanship is too risible for serious discussion.

anduril

too risible for serious discussion

Hinderaker, with his fine legal pedigree, will be mortified to hear that, as will Morrisey. Of course, what both Hinderaker and Morrisey (whom you quote) are talking about--and what you fail to mention--is that the quid pro quo that is alleged was supposed to be an attempt to use political pressure (through Harman's influence in the Bush WH) to induce a pending prosecution to be dropped (or restructured, so to speak) at the instigation of a constituency. In most people's books that's NOT "too risible for serious discussion." In fact, it's pretty generally considered to be a corruption of the criminal justice process. My understanding is that indictments and prosecutions are supposed to rest on evidentiary considerations and not the views of constituencies. Am I overly naive or possibly being too "theological" again?

anduril

I'm running out to the store, but before I go...

It seems ironic that much of the discussion at JOM lately has been about the the Obama admin's threatened criminalization of policy--or put another way, politicization of the criminal justice process. That's a concern that I share with many others, but here you are suggesting that concern that a pending prosecution might be influenced by a US Rep for political reasons is "too risible for serious discussion." Hinderaker, a dedicated neocon and not just some hack lawyer, recognizes the seriousness of the issue and, to his credit, is willing to discuss it. Seriously.

clarice

As I said we've never seen the actual transcript but what I recall seeing was a I'll inquire whether there is a possibility that the charges might be reduced, not a promise to exert any sort of pressure to end the case or otherwise interfere with it.
Had she made such an inquiry, I'd have advised her to do so with care, because it is close to but not yet over the line.

What I said was "risible" was the suggestion that constituent groups should not push for the Congressional slots for their friends.

I pay little attention to Powerline but I can tell you I regard Morrissey (and Malkin) as the leading online officers of the clean toga club..no one I;d ever want (a) as an ally when the long knives were out flinging poo or (b)my lawyer.

narciso

The truth is Pelosi represents the CAIR caucus, and the MoveOn caucus, which have
similar interests

cathyf
Of course we haven't seen the actual transcript only second or third hand accounts of it from persons who obviously want this weak case to go forward, BUT, there is not a single indication that Harman did more than a polite,"Ill look into it and see what I can do."
I'd caution differently about not having seen the full transcripts. What little bits and pieces that we have seen are fully consistent with a larger conversation something like:

"From what I can see it looks like that this prosecution will be terrible for the long-term national security interests of our country, and more importantly is a direct assault upon our core constitutional values. If the problem is that the justice department has developed tunnel vision and the desire to get people that they think are bad guys even though the things that they are prosecuting aren't actually illegal, maybe the grownups in the White House can talk some sense into them. I'll waddle in and talk to white-house staffer X, and we'll see what's going on."

That sort of conversation is not illegal, not unethical, not even close to the line. That's a member of congress doing her job thoughtfully and diligently. And it raises huge separation of powers issues to have Executive Branch minions threatening members of congress with prosecution for doing their jobs.

narciso

An argument as to why Goss, signed off on this is in the LUN. including some of the friction between them. Hayden was a very poor substitute for Goss, having thrown all that 'old skeletons in the closets' back from the 70s, and for his efforts Bamford, made him the villain of his latest tome.

clarice

Given the dumbells who I think are behind these leaks and their biases, I think that, too, is a reasonable reading of what occurred.

Given on one side of the equation a certifiable moron and finagler like Szady and on the other a very smart lawyer , I expect that the conversation resembles very little the spin that's been put on it.

anduril

What I said was "risible" was the suggestion that constituent groups should not push for the Congressional slots for their friends.

An Obama-esque tactic: the straw man argument. Neither I, Hinderaker nor Morrisey made such a suggestion in the portions I quoted, and if they made that suggestion elsewhere you certainly didn't point it out. But now you suggest that a quid pro quo from a constituent group in exchange for reduced charges for their friend--or at least for an effort in that direction--is non-problematic?

anduril

The truth is Pelosi represents the CAIR caucus, and the MoveOn caucus, which have
similar interests

Lets see... Nancy Pelosi Gives a Pep Talk to AIPAC. Why would AIPAC sit still for a pep talk from the representative of "the CAIR caucus, and the MoveOn caucus." Just what are you smoking, narciso?

narciso

Well if you insist Anduril, here's one link re her trip to Syria. Are you going to be as stubborn as when you denied Russia's fault in the Georgian conflict.

narciso

Then there's this one from 2004, when she echoed the same sentiments Obama has being saying now

narciso

Or this other perspective also on the Syrian trip, at the time they were serving as the ratline for jihadis into Iraq.

anduril

the things that they are prosecuting aren't actually illegal

Traditionally in our system of government it has been considered preferable to refer issues such as, whether an indictment actually alleges a crime, to a court--part of a third branch of government--rather than have politicians decide them. Once that has occurred there are niceties of conduct involved in deciding how to attempt to influence the outcome of a case. The preferred way for legislators to express their views in these matters is through speeches and op-ed type articles, not by exerting pressure by contacting the prosecutors' superiors. In fact, depending on the type of approach made, a legislator could actually be charged with a crime for their efforts--so they'd definitely put a fair amount of thought into it before "waddling over." Presumably the defendants on whose behalf Harman was asked to intercede have already made that argument, that the indictment is insufficient in one way or another, to the judge. Son of a gun, it looks like they did!

Think about it. Maybe it's best to let our constitutional system work.

clarice

"But now you suggest that a quid pro quo from a constituent group in exchange for reduced charges for their friend--or at least for an effort in that direction--is non-problematic?"


She didn't need to cut a quid pro quo deal with them, she is so close to them, the deal that they'd push for her as chairman was already set-(You think they preferred Reyes?). I believe the other party to the conversation was describing what pressure he could bring to bear on Pelosi to achieve what was already clear to everyone:AIPAC wanted her to be the chair.

See:http://www.philipweiss.org/mondoweiss/2009/04/harman-to-msnbc-ive-had-a-long-friendship-with-aipac-i-didnt-need-to-cut-some-deal.html

narciso

The system that has allowed Libby and Black to be convicted, despite the presence of exculpatory evidence. Or made up evidence in the Stevens case, facilitated in part by a change of venue. Which seemingly hasn't been able to nab the more openly agregious
William Jefferson to escape prosecution so far. Where an unethical juror was able to scotch the conviction of the Holy Land Foundation. Which helped force the release of hundreds of detainees, which at least 62 have been involved in some insurgent
activity. Which allowed hundreds of millions of dollars from dubious campaign contributors, buy the presidency. That system, anduril

anduril

she is so close to them, the deal that they'd push for her as chairman was already set

Sounds like a sort of mind meld.

I believe the other party to the conversation was describing what pressure he could bring to bear on Pelosi to achieve what was already clear to everyone:AIPAC wanted her to be the chair.

Quite likely. Here's from the blog you linked:

Although Congresswoman Jane Harman's bold challenge to the Department of Justice to "bring on the tapes" is getting most of the attention from this interview, another thing that stands out is her defense that she didn't need to cut a deal with AIPAC because they were already such good friends.

It's a plausible argument on the face of it, and I don't say it's not true. But here's my problem with it. In politics the question is always: what have you done for me lately. Even in mind meld situations like this, that question is bound to arise. Harman cannot afford to run around using her political capital on AIPAC's behalf unless she expects a return--and the same is true of AIPAC. They can't keep supporting Harman if she starts exhibiting signs of growing in office or whatever. OK, ordinarily this issue might not arise in such a close, mind meld type political relationship. However, it's conceivable to me that Harman and whoever she was speaking with would want a certain amount of clarity that went beyond the usual mind meld unspoken deal, simply because it wouldn't be everyday that Harman would be going to the WH and asking them to intervene in a prosecution. Remember, she didn't want to go straight to DoJ--she probably saw risks of leaks re her approach as well as a likelihood of rejection.

Soooooo, when I read that the investigators and/or prosecutors thought they saw a discussion of a quid pro quo, my suspicion is that they weren't necessarily imagining things. That impression is strengthened by Harman's reported reaction: "this conversation didn't happen! [click]" The only way to interpret that is to actually hear the recorded conversation, however, one possible meaning would be that Harman's interlocutor became way too explicit about a quid pro quo for Harman's comfort. Another possibility would be that she hadn't even dreamed of any such deal and when she realized what was being suggested she immediately terminated what was on the verge of becoming a highly improper, even incriminating, conversation.

I actually have an open mind about this, but I don't think it's "too risible for serious discussion." In fact, I think it makes for a rather interesting and, yes, serious discussion.

BTW, I see, or think that I do, that you've come around to my way of thinking: that Harman's interlocutor was probably not from AIPAC. That to me gets very near to the crux of this whole thing. Depending on who her interlocutor was, the appearance of a quid pro quo could increase or decrease. For example, if AIPAC called and said, Could you talk to Bushie for us? I don't think that would look so much like a quid pro quo because, as you say, AIPAC would continue to support her whether she tried and failed or whether she said, That's just something I can't risk. On the other hand, if her interlocutor was a foreign national or an USPER known to be involved in "covert" intelligence activities (remember that from the first story?), then the level at which something could be considered a quid pro quo might change somewhat--certainly in a DC jury's eyes. I don't think Harman would be remotely stupid enough to just "waddle in" to the WH start throwing her weight around.

hit and run

Anduril:
Lets see... Nancy Pelosi Gives a Pep Talk to AIPAC. Why would AIPAC sit still for a pep talk from the representative of "the CAIR caucus, and the MoveOn caucus."

They have sat still for a man who was http://www.powerlineblog.com/archives/2008/04/020315.php>"endorsed" for President by Hamas, who was a member of http://patterico.com/2008/03/20/wrights-stance-on-israel-could-cost-obama-jewish-votes/>Reverend Wright's church (who was a http://hotair.com/archives/2008/01/15/obamas-mentor-and-pastor-honors-louis-farrakhan/>supporter of Louis Farrakhan), and who is a http://www.latimes.com/news/politics/la-na-obamamideast10apr10,0,1780231,full.story>friend of Rashid Khalidi. So sitting still for someone who "represents the CAIR caucus" doesn't seem like it would be too difficult, does it?

anduril

Clarification: I'm obviously no insider to this, but what I have in mind re Harman's interlocutor is someone who could actually do something for Harman that AIPAC might not be able to do. For example, get a huge money guy like Saban to deliver an ultimatum to Pelosi. Perhaps Saban would ordinarily do what AIPAC asked, but might be a little chary about bracing a powerful (and vengeful) pol like Pelosi. But maybe the interlocutor, or someone the interlocutor could be presumed to be speaking for, had the type of influence with Saban that might tip the scales. That's speculation, and I'll be as interested as the next person to see who she was talking to. Who knows, maybe she'll tell us and ask the interlocutor to go public with his/her version of what was intended in the conversation.

anduril

That system, anduril

Correct, narciso. That's the very system I had in mind--as opposed to the system of making the courts a part of the legislative branch.

anduril

hit, in principle the answer is "no." However...

If you google (yes, small initials), oh, lets see, "pelosi aipac" you'll come up with numerous references that indicate that the common perception of the pelosi/aipac relationship is generally that they're very close. Perhaps not on the mind meld level harman/aipac, but damn good working relationship. For sure the lefties all think Pelosi is in AIPAC's pocket, which is obviously a major oversimplification of the situation.

Charlie (Colorado)

anduril, I'm not exactly clear on how an extended investigation of the Executive branch of the Bush Administration by the Executive branch of the Obama administration is going to be helpful for anyone, including the Constitutional system.

anduril

The fact that Pelosi's talk at AIPAC was characterized as a "pep talk" (albeit by what I assume to be a lefty group) illustrates my point. But, hey, knock yourself out with Google if you want. (Or, knock yourself out with googling...)

anduril

Charlie, did I suggest that I think so? But if you're saying that that's what this Harman thing amounts to, then I think you're wrong. The Harman thing should be a fairly discrete matter, i.e., relatively self contained.

anduril

Out to work on the roses.

narciso

I flagged Pelosi, and CAIR, not AIPAC. To refresh my memory, Syria was being rewarded for assasinating Hariri, for runningratlines
into Iraq, serving as sanctuary for Hamas and the PIJ, for a dozen other offenses

clarice

I was out swimming.

"Harman cannot afford to run around using her political capital on AIPAC's behalf unless she expects a return--and the same is true of AIPAC. "In her district and among her regular contributors she is expected to use her political clout for AIPAC or at least the issues of importance to Israel. You may not like that, but it is the fact which is why sending maxine Waters in to campaign against her was futile.

Saban already contributes huge bucks to AIPAC and the Dems. He is worth billions. I do not think he was the guy on the other end of the phone, but I don't discount that it was some other AIPAC officer or supporter.

anduril

narciso, those links are interesting. The blogs you linked to keep harping on how Pelosi went to the ME with "CAIR's own Congressman, Keith Ellison." What they don't mention--and what you'll only find out by looking at the pictures--is that she was also accompanied by Henry "Nostrilitis" Waxman (h/t Rush), no stranger to AIPAC. In fact, to the anti-AIPAC crowd Waxman ranks somewhere up near the top of their most-despised list. So who was Pelosi mind melding with on that trip--Ellison or Waxman? We know that she's super tight with Waxman.

anduril

clarice, I understand about Saban being a big moneyman for the Dems--of course nobody has to tell him to write another check; they just tell him how much. But this time what he was being asked to do was to tell Pelosi he'd cut her off if she didn't do what HE wanted. Would AIPAC ask him to do that? I'm not so sure they would--that would be like AIPAC declaring war on the Dems over the committee chair. Yes, it was important, but was it important enough to burn bridges to that extent? And Pelosi's reaction--she went ballistic on Saban--tells you that in the power equation a nearly unlimited bank account isn't the whole story.

However, I'm open to more information.

clarice

I think he would. He's a fanatical supporter of Israel and I think he cares more about that than he does about Pelosi and would certainly prefer Harman be chair than the stupids who serve on that committee with her. He wouldn't burn bridges..He gives so much money to the Dems they'd still not cross him and just hope to win him back. What was so important except personal pique to Nancy that she appointed that dope Reyes instead?

If I recall when he took over he couldn't tell a Shiite from Shinola.

clarice

I wonder how much money Lang has? Re-reading the false nonsense on his blog, he looks to be aiming for a libel suit.

anduril

I wouldn't count on it even now--shit v. shinola, that is. And personal pique ranks pretty high up with Nancy--I understand she maintains a written enemies list.

anduril

Woops. Shiite.

narciso

The draw was Ellison, Waxman was there for reasons passing understanding. He's proIsrael, but he was against the Iraq War, and the Syrians were doing their part to make the conflict more brutal. Now anduril, you don't think Saban and AIPAC, take this indictment as a direct attack on them. We know how CAIR who was listed as anunindicted
coconspirator in the Holy Land Foundation, has reacted to any criticism of them, Rosen
and co, were just trying to get the word about Iranian influence in Kurdistan

sbw

Boy, am I glad I missed this thread. Noise.

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