Thursday, April 06, 2006

How Big Is it?

I was sitting in my office this afternoon when a colleague came in and told me that Libby had testified that it was Bush who authorized the Plame leak. Woo HOO! I cheered. But then I wondered...will it make any difference?
I'm a couple of days behind national news right now because I've been mainly listening to back issues of Chuck Mertz's "This is Hell" and weeks old Amy Goodman shows while riding the train. And in the morning, when I used to be reading the NYT, Counterpunch and the rest, I spent weeks reading student blue books. During office hours, when I used to spend time reading news and thinking about history, I've just been meeting with students or working away on trying to turn out the vote for the PSC's New Caucus (that's the CURRENT leadership in case you were wondering). All I do these days is wander the halls at work and ask people if they want to wear a "New Caucus" sticker and "did you get your ballot in the mail?"
Some of you regular commenters are way more up on the news than I am, so you probably know better than I do whether this latest bombshell is going to have an impact.
First of all, it seems, based on this most recent NY Times article, that my colleague was misinformed by an article published in the NY Sun, which said Bush had leaked Plame's name, rather than that Bush had leaked a classified National Intelligence Estimate, (NIE) in order to "bolster" his war claims. The fact that this NIE doesn't actually make a good case for Iraq's pursuit of WMDs didn't seem to matter to the cherry-picking prez.
Anyway, I'm sure you caught Murray Waas's article of last week about the role of the "NIE" document and the increasing "smoking gun" evidence of the lies that led ot the war. You've probably already seen Jason Leopold's Truthout article, which I read today, and which succinctly explains the NIE/Plame/Wilson leaks and the general effort in the Whitehouse to combat Wilson's critique of the Whitehouse war claims. You probably also read this regularly updated Dkos article on the Bush connection to the Plame outing.
The Guardian story today is a little more detailed than what you'll see in the US mainstream news.
Meanwhile, as Media Matters keeps us updated on spin," I'm beginning to understand a pattern.
First: a story comes out describing something that seems, well...PLAINLY ILLEGAL. You know: "fixing the facts around the policy"...."warrantless wire-tapping of American citizens" or "leaking the name of a covert agent to the media" and now "leaking classified military intelligence docs to the press for political reasons."
Then, as the public outcry begins, pundits appear to explain that while these actions might SEEM illegal, actually they're not. It might sound like the president was "spying on citizens" but you know, it's more complicated. In fact, words, like "spy" and "lie" aren't part of our vocabulary. So, vulgar. Moreover, the laws are so specific that don't really apply to things like lying to congress or spying on citizens; these kinds of activities are ordinary, part of the job of being president. In fact, if presidents stopped doing these seemingly illegal actions which seem like spying and lying, but aren't really, politics as we know it would just come to a halt, and that would be a disaster. If such actions are maybe, technically illegal, they're not if it's the president who's doing them, because just by the fact that he's the one doing the action, the action becomes "legal."
That this is Bush's argument is hardly surprising. Nixon said the same damn thing during Watergate. The fact that the media repeats it is an outrage. The fact that anyone believes this convoluted horse-shit is just depressing.
I knew that this was all starting to sound familiar and I realized that it's because we are all living in "This Modern World."


Anonymous said...

We've certainly come a long way since an American president was impeached for lying about having sex in the White House, and who was also denounced every minute for lying to the American people about it.

I recall all the moralizing on TV and print about the bad example this was setting for all the children, and how the entire affair had sullied the office of the President of the United States of America.

But now these very same pundits and numberless talking heads, who were so apalled that an American President could lie to us about a blowjob, are furiously spinning to convince us that Dubya is above any law, that all his lying, leaking, and disinformation is not really all that, but just what is needed to be done to fight the "War on Terror."

Inherent power, indeed.

Anonymous said...


The main mechanism for converting mainstream conservatives into right-wing extremists and white nationalists is a process I call transmission: extremist ideas and principles are repackaged for mainstream consumption, stripped of overt racism and hatefulness and presented as ordinary politics. As these ideas advance, they create an open environment for the gradual adoption of the core of bigotry that animates them.

Anonymous said...

Pro-Life Nation (NY Times)

...After a report comes in from a doctor or a hospital that a woman has arrived who is suspected of having had an abortion, and after the police are dispatched, investigators start procuring evidence of the crime (...) "The prosecutor can order a medical exam on a woman, because that's within the prosecutor's authority," she said.

In the event that the woman's illegal abortion went badly and the doctors have to perform a hysterectomy, then the uterus is sent to the Forensic Institute, where the government's doctors analyze it and retain custody of her uterus as evidence against her.