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Archive for March, 2007

March 31st 2007

Iran’s Hostage Nab Fracturing Mullahland?

Is Iran together enough to manage the British hostage crisis, or are internal cracks widening under the pressure? Perhaps the latter, reports the Times of London:

THE fate of the 15 British marines and sailors held in Tehran may depend on the outcome of a power struggle between two of Iran’s top generals, write Uzi Mahnaimi and Marie Colvin.

According to an Iranian military source, the commander of the Revolutionary Guards has called for them to be freed.

Major-General Yahya Rahim Safavi is said to have told the country’s Supreme National Security Council on Friday that the situation was “getting out of control” and urged its members to consider the immediate release of the prisoners to defuse tension in the Gulf.

However, Safavi’s intervention was reportedly denounced by another senior general at a meeting of high-ranking commanders yesterday.

Yadollah Javani, the head of the Revolutionary Guards’ political bureau, was said to have accused him of weakness and “liberal tendencies”. Javani is said to have demanded that the prisoners be put on trial.

I’m not sure how the paper got the story or how accurate it is, but it very well could be dead-on because regimes as radical as Iran’s are intrigue traps.

There’s opportunity here to put some hurtful pressure on the cracks within the Iranian government. It’ll take some very smart work by Britain and its allies, and a willingness to keep the kidnapped sailors at risk in order to keep the pressure on and not give in to the appeasers.

There are so many ways to handle a crisis like this wrong, and few ways to do it right. Let’s hope.

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March 31st 2007

A Hat-Tip To Jimmy’s AG

There’s not much I like about Jimmy Carter and his administration, now long-gone but continuing to cause problems. I found one today in, of all places, the LATimes.

There, an op/ed by Pepperdine constitutional law prof Douglas W. Kmiek describes how Carter’s AG Griffen Bell stood up to Carter, and in doing so protected the separation of powers guaranteed by the Constitution.

In the aftermath of Watergate, President Carter directed Atty. Gen. Griffin Bell to prepare legislation that would make the attorney general an appointed post for a definite term, subject to removal only for cause. Carter’s idea was to keep the attorney general independent of presidential direction to ensure that the Justice Department’s authority would never again be abused for political purposes, as it had been during the ethically troubled Nixon presidency.

Despite Carter’s noble intent, Bell refused. In a little-known memorandum to the president dated April 11, 1977, he explained why. Any law that restricted the president’s power to remove the attorney general — and, by inference, to fire any U.S. attorney — would likely be found unconstitutional. The president, Bell reasoned, is held accountable for the actions of the executive branch in its entirety, including the Justice Department; he must be free to establish policy and define priorities, even in the legal arena. “Because laws are not self-executing, their enforcement obviously cannot be separated from policy considerations,” Bell wrote.

Carter argued that the attorney general is different from other Cabinet officers. The job entails dual responsibilities: carrying forward White House policies like any other Cabinet official, and representing the law of the United States, whether it coincides with the president’s policies or not. Bell agreed, but he found that insufficient to justify separating the attorney general and subordinate U.S. attorneys from presidential direction.

Chief Justice William Howard Taft’s opinion in Myers vs. United States (1926) was the foundation of Bell’s position, Kmiek writes.

Congress enacts different types of laws, the chief justice opined. Some laws require close supervision by the president, while others draw upon the expertise found within the specific agencies of government. Much law, however, generally empowers the executive, and when subordinates perform these functions, “they are exercising not their own but [the president's] discretion,” the court said. “Each head of a department is and must be the president’s alter ego in the matters of that department where the president is required by law to exercise authority.”

The court’s analysis did not deny the unique nature of the Justice Department. Indeed, Taft acknowledged that there may be duties that require evenhandedness from executive officers, “the discharge of which the president cannot in a particular case properly influence or control.”

Kmiek notes that the Senate has every right to inquire whether the White House or AG AG’s minions sought to improperly influence a particular case, but “has no legitimate basis to object if it turns out the U.S. attorneys were removed because they failed to bring the cases the president or his attorney general sought to give emphasis.”

So it’s up to AG AG: Can Gonzales convince the Senate that the eight went because they didn’t follow directives, or were they fired because they refused to be political hacks pursuing cases wrought from politics, not law?

Talk about a grey area! It’s just the sort of greyness in which the Dem leadership thrives — and, I’m afraid, it’s also the murky place that is beyond Gonzales’ capabilities to clearly and forcefully illuminate. It’s not that the facts aren’t there for him to use; it’s that the Bush Administration has a long record of being unable to forcefully defend itself.

This is as much a non-scandal as the Plame Game, which the administration was incapable of stopping, and it’s looking like only the Dems took lessons from Plame. They’ve become as capable as making something out of nothing as the GOP has become incapable of stopping them.

hat-tip: Real Clear Politics

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March 31st 2007

Barbie Vs. The Mullahs

Strong men don’t beat women, and strong societies don’t beat their people. Weaknesses, inadequacies and fears drive men and societies to lash out at or repress those important to them, so a sign of a society’s strength is its ability to live without fear of its people or policies designed to cover inadequacies.

That’s why in America we have to suffer through flag-burners and have to extend rights to our enemies. It’s why things we know are bad for society, like pornography and attacks on our core beliefs, are allowed to exist.

And that’s why in Iran, the Mullahs area afraid of Barbie.

Here’s the story, from Thomas P.M. Barnett’s The Pentagon’s New Map, who is writing about the difficulties some countries have with opening their doors to globalization and the prosperity and freedoms it brings:

My favorite example of this effect is what happened to Barbie, the toy doll for young girls, when she decided to launch her one-woman invasion of Iran. Barbie apparently infiltrated Iranian toy stores at some point in the 1990s, exploiting the retaiil networks of the global economy. Soon after, the government-backed children’s agency labeled Barbie a “Trojan horse” for Western influence, complete with her revealing attire.

Despite — or perhaps because of — this official warning, Barbie apparently proved too popular with young Iranian girls. Eventually, concerned local officials engineered a counterattack — the moon-faced Sara doll clad head to toe in an Islamic Chador. But this officially approved anti-Barbie was not enough to stem Barbie’s negative influence, and so orders went out to local police to detain Barbie whenever she was found. Barbie has become a doll on the run.

I can see why the story is Barnett’s favorite, as it poses a big, tough nation against a tiny plastic doll, and all the openness of a global society against all the dogma and fear of a religious state that exhibits one of the hallmarks of a non-globalized society: The repression of women.

To accept Barbie is too much for the Mullahs. They would have to accept skirts on their women’s hips and independence in their women’s hearts and minds. It is too much for their non-global Islamic society to endure, and they know it, so they have to take away a freedom from their women and enforce it through their police.

As the father of three daughters, I am far more familiar with Barbie than I would like to be, and I’m not a big fan. She exposes more skin than I’d like, those big boobs and tiny waist seem likely to create self-image problems, and the clothes are an invitation to too much materialism.

But we’re a strong family in a strong society, so all three Incredible Daughters were allowed to have their Barbies — not a Sara in sight — and all three have turned out, well, incredible. They don’t dress like harlots, they shop at a level of womanly normalcy (i.e., somewhere between five and ten times more than I do), and they are self-assured and confident.

It’s that last part that frightens the Mullahs so. For whatever reasons, Islam has determined that it needs to keep its women down, bound and unfree to achieve their best. So they shut the door on globalization and its Barbie nightmares, feeling it is better to deprive their entire population of wealth and health than to risk losing their power to impose their will on their people.

Wherever you are, Iran Barbie, keep fighting!

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March 30th 2007

It’s Easter, Time To Bash The Christians!

Play this scenario in your head: A hotel in trendy New York decides to attract customers, so it opens the Kwanza season with some new art in its gallary: A statue of a lynched black farm work, sculpted out of marshmallow.

Or maybe on the eve of Ramadan, they showcase in the gallery a statue of Mohammed finely crafted in lamb kabobs.

Not a chance. That would take some guts, but the Roger Smith Hotel in Manhattan has no guts; it just has the routine disregard for Christians that’s so prevalent among the PC set. The hotel “boldly” launched a big pre-Easter publicity push hyping a major new piece in its gallery: Christ, nude, crucified, made out of 200 pounds of chocolate.

The “artist,” Cosimo Cavallara, thinks himself a great wit; he named the work, “My Sweet Lord.” How bold. How avant guard. How publicity-mongering. How juvenile.

Christians were not amused, says Catholic News Service:

“The media have reported that a so-called ‘work of art,’ manifestly intended to offend the Christians of our community, will be displayed during Holy Week in the Roger Smith Hotel in Manhattan,” Cardinal Edward Egan, archbishop of New York, said in a statement.

“It is a scandalous carving of Jesus Christ allegedly made out of chocolate. What the Roger Smith Hotel would hope to achieve by this sickening display, no one seems to know. The Catholic community is alerted to this offense of our faith and sensitivities. This is something we will not forget,” Egan added.

New Yorkers, beware. Stay safely clear of the Roger Smith Hotel unless you want to risk being caught up in the rioting mob of Christians who will no doubt be forming soon, throwing rocks, chanting anti-anti-Christian slogans and demanding the decapitation of the hotel and gallery operators.

Not.

Nothing will happen, and PC artists, thinking themselves so very bold, will continue to offend Christians in the name of art. They will get the praise of critics, the adulation of their artsy friends, and take no risk whatsoever … at least on this mortal plane.

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March 30th 2007

Kids, Courts, Government And Free Speech

I‘ve always found it interesting that current news often creates a diarama in the foreground of older news that is just reaching the courts. As Tinker v. DesMoines, the landmark decision on the extent of freedom of speech in high school, comes up for a challenge before the Supreme Court, the world marches on, presenting us with examples that underscore the importance of the case.

Tinker grew out of the Vietnam era, when a couple high schoolers were suspended for wearing anti-war T-shirts. It’s been a tough issue for the courts ever since, with the basic rule now being along the line of, “As long as they don’t interrupt the school’s purpose of education, anything goes.”

As high school freedom of speech and Tinker come before the Court for a new review, from different sides of the world two very different stories frame Tinker with new urgency and clarity. First, from New Hampshire:

HAMPTON, N.H. (AP) – Some parents are protesting the “sex” edition of the student newspaper at Winnacunnet High School. Several said they were especially offended by a photograph of two women kissing under the headline, “Why men love women who love women,” a quiz question about anal sex, and an interview with an unnamed custodian who said he had found a vibrator in the girls’ shower.

“Those articles offended me personally as a parent,” said Venus Merrill, a school board member. “It’s not something you want to read with your 10-year-old and it’s not something that should be going home.”

Principal Randy Zito said the Winnachronicle had crossed the line of responsible reporting and that he had dealt with the problem privately. He also said he had pulled copies of the paper that normally would have been sent to middle schools in the cooperative school district.

The newspaper’s faculty adviser defended the editors’ decisions and said the February edition of the paper was intended to inform students, not shock people—although they knew it would stir controversy.

“The kids wrote the articles and came up with the topic,” said adviser Carol Downer. “They didn’t go out to cause controversy, but the Winnachronicle is also not a P.R. piece for the high school. This is a place for students to express their view and talk about the issues that are troubling the student body.”

The newspaper is not reviewed in advance of publication by administrators. The school board has not discussed the controversy in a public meeting, but parent Paula Wood, of Seabrook, said she wants it on the agenda for the next one.

Under Tinker, parent Venus Merrill may not have much to say about the newspaper. If the girls in the photo were students at the school, that could disrupt education and be grounds for stopping publication. Anal sex? That’s probably not something Tinker would meddle with.

Abe Fortas, who famously said in the Tinker decision that freedom of speech doesn’t end at the schoolhouse door, probably didn’t anticipate school newspapers writing about anal sex and vibrators; we just don’t know how he would have differentiated political protest from sexual messages.

Meanwhile in Europe, there’s a flare-up between the EU and Poland:


EUOBSERVER / BRUSSELS – The European Parliament is poised to investigate the legality of draft restrictions against discussion of homosexuality in Polish schools, if a bill is formally proposed. But a leading NGO has already expressed concern over civil liberties in Poland.

Warsaw is planning to ban discussions on homosexuality in schools and educational institutions across the deeply orthodox Roman Catholic country, with teachers set to be fired, fined or imprisoned if they violate the rules. Openly gay teachers would also be in line to lose their jobs.

The European Parliament’s committee on civil liberties discussed the Polish ideas on Tuesday (20 March) and decided to launch a study into the compatibility of such legislation with EU rules, if the bill is ever officially submitted to the Polish lower house.

“The disturbing proposals to outlaw discussion of homosexuality raise serious concerns about the commitment to fundamental rights in Poland,” said Dutch green MEP Kathalijne Buitenweg in a statement after the meeting.

“It is shocking that the government of a modern European country would even consider such draconian legislation. The promotion of gay hatred is the antithesis of EU anti-discrimination rules and the Polish government must publicly reject this approach,” she added.

Odd, isn’t it, that disallowing the teaching of homosexuality is seen as “the promotion of gay hatred?” Be that as it may, this case frames a counter-extreme to cases like that unfolding in New Hampshire.

To look at Poland’s proposed restrictions under a Tinker lens, imagine a school newspaper running a story calling for a ban on the teaching of homosexual issues and the expulsion of gay teachers. Such an article, offensive as it may be to Lib sensitivities, would certainly be allowed.

Libs pushing for expansion of free speech through a more liberal interpretation of Tinker need to be aware that the decision would allow more conservative actions — like challenging the imposition of the homosexual agenda in the classroom — not just liberal messages. And while Libs like big government, they can see in Poland’s proposed new law the risks that come with letting government control too much of education.

Conservatives offended by the New Hampshire newspaper (or a “bong hits for Jesus” T-shirt, as is going before the Court now) and hoping for a more narrow definition of free speech on campus should pause as they consider the EU’s heavy-handed meddling in Poland’s affairs, which is very parallel to states rights issues here in America. Do we want federal law dictating what can or cannot be said in our schools, or should that be left to local school boards?

Me? I prefer that schools be places of learning. Part of that learning experience is to give the students the chance to debate hot issues, and part of it is the opportunity to see adults acting intelligently. That means principals have to actually think, be role models and take actions.

Sometimes, letting free speech rule makes sense and spawns debate and learning. Sometimes defining the limits of free speech and prohibiting certain actions makes sense and spawns debate and learning. If the standing policy is “anything goes all the time,” students will not learn anything useful, just as will be the case if the policy is “anything controversial must be avoided.”

Of course, my idea requires bold principals who are not afraid to act. Don’t laugh; it’s not impossible. It is what we should ask of those to whom we entrust our children’s education, and failure to model effective moral clarity should be grounds for dismissal.

Hat-tips: Breitbart and Brussels Journal

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March 30th 2007

Are Surrender Hawks Now Our Troops’ Friends?

The Out of Iraq Caucus, the hard-left, flag-waving (as long as it’s white) passle of House Dems (natch!) that want out of Iraq immediately, may be the best friends of right-thinking Americans in coming weeks.

How can that be? How can a group advance our cause if it’s got founders like these?

  1. Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.), Chair, Co-Founder
  2. Rep. Lynn Woolsey (D-Calif.), Co-Founder
  3. Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich.), Co-Founder
  4. Rep. Charlie Rangel (D-N.Y.), Co-Founder
  5. Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.), Co-Founder
  6. Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.), Co-Founder
  7. Rep. William Delahunt (D-Mass.), Co-Founder
  8. Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.), Co-Founder

Others among the 80 members are Dennis Kucinich, first Muslim in Congress Keith Ellison, Louisiana cold (frozen) cash man William Jefferson and the PA congressman with the most ghetto sounding name on the Hill, Chaka Fattah.

The Out of their Minds … er, Out of Iraq … Caucus is responsible for the hard July 1, 2008 deadline for getting out of Iraq. (Handy, isn’t’ it, how that would supposedly remove Iraq as a campaign issue, much to the relief of any Dem candidate?) The Caucus fought for it, only supported the bill when hard lines were set, and now that they’ve got what they want, they’re sticking to it, even as the competing House and Senate Iraq funding/shut-down measures move to conference.

The Senate bill’s more distant pull-out mandate won’t synch with the Caucus, many of whom see even July 1 as too late a deadline. Today’s LATimes talks about future headaches for Reid and Pelosi as they try to get the Caucus to back off from their hardliner position:

There were already signals of the potential complications that lay ahead, however.

Freshman Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.) — a vehement war critic who was among the last liberals to get behind the House measure last week — said Thursday that he would oppose any bill that did not retain the House’s firm timelines.

“The timelines and the deadlines are the only thing that got me to support it,” said Ellison, who has called for a quick conclusion to the war. “And even then, that was a stretch.” …

Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.), who had urged his colleagues in the Out of Iraq Caucus to back the bill, cautioned that softening the pullout deadlines would risk defections. “If we substantially weaken the timelines, I’d have a real problem with that,” he said.

Meanwhile,

Moderate Democratic Sens. Ben Nelson of Nebraska and Mark Pryor of Arkansas, as well as Republican Sens. Gordon H. Smith of Oregon and Chuck Hagel of Nebraska, provided the margin of victory.

Nelson has said he can’t support a bill setting a firm deadline for withdrawal.

Pryor may also have concerns about tougher deadlines.

The GOP has the votes to sustain a Bush veto no matter which way the Out of Iraq Coalition feels about what comes out of Conference, but we could use another spectacle of inept Dem Congressional leadership and a heap of pro-terrorist, anti-security quotes from the white flag Dems.

Against the rhetoric of these guys, the rhetoric of Bush sounds very good:

“We stand united. We expect there to be no strings on our commanders.”

No one wants war, but even fewer want to lose a war, so the Out of Iraq Coalition stands poised to help America understand which party better represents their interests and the interests of their nation.

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March 30th 2007

Amazing Reading

The results of my first Watcher’s Council vote for the most interesting blog entry of the week is in and it’s pretty exciting to see that the two articles I liked best came in first and second.

Topping the list was Demographics and the Medicalization of Human Existence from Eternity Road. It delves into the interplay between the Baby Boomer mindset, moral relativism and death — legalized death. As we Boomers used to say many years ago, “Heavy, Man.”

Next, Student Press Rights from The Colossus of Rhodey, which along with #3 Tinker Must Be Preserved from Rhymes With Right investigate the question of free speech rights in high schools. Colossus included some interesting parallels that showed the fallacy of left-think on this matter, which is why it edged out Rymes with Right for me.

Rounding out the rankings:

Tied at 3, 3 Card Monte — the Palestinian aid Scam Continues, Joshuapundit

Tied at 4, ahem, NanFran’s Cool Investments, Cheat Seeking Missiles and O Believers, Done With Mirrors

Tied at 5, Politicizing Science, Right Wing Nut House and Dollars (and respect) for Dahlan, Soccer Dad

And rounding out, tied at 6th, More Hollywood Idiocy: “Wristcutters: A Love Story,” The Education Wonks and Greece and Mesopotamia: Origins of Greek Thought, The Glittering Eye

Each Council member also submits a non-Council post for review. Michael Yon won this assembly of great posts with Tabla Rosa, a history of his reporting from Iraq, and my favorite entry, Iranian Machinations: Sun Tzu Would Be Pleased by Kobayashi Maru, came in second. I thought Kobayashi’s analysis of the current Iran/Britain confrontation was exceptionally lucid.

I also liked Flopping Aces’ Still Spewing Moron Emissions: Sean Penn, a fondness which was a bit unrequited by the Council, but still, it’s a very, very funny read.

You can see how the other non-Council submissions fared at Watcher of Weasels.

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March 29th 2007

Warmie Silliness Over Icemelt

If all the Earth’s ice melted, oceans would rise by over 60 meters (200 feet). Sell the beach house, Sadie!

Better yet, buy all the beach houses that frightened Warmies are putting on the market so they can move inland, neglecting as they do to take note of the word “if.” As it turns out, it’s a mighty big if, says some folks who know a thing or two about ice: the Russians.

Nicolai Osokin, a glacialist with the Russian Institute of Geology writes that Russia’s climate models show no such catastrophe is likely to happen any time in the next 1,000 years.

Our institute has prepared an atlas of the world’s snow and ice resources, which describes all the ice on the earth and even offers a map of the world without ice. It is, however, a model, not a forecast. Yet there are forecasts warning that if the global warming seen at the end of the 20th century continues for several decades, a lot of ice in the Artic Ocean will melt.

Well, forget that. Melting Artic ice has no impact on sea levels because the volume of water created by melting ice is equal to the volume of water ice dissipates when floating. It’s Antarctica and Greenland that we need to watch.

The melting of this ice could lead to a catastrophe. But is there any reason to panic? The temperature rise of 3-6 degrees Celsius over the next century promised by pessimists could not have a significant influence on the Antarctic.

Why is that? Well, because the average temperature in Antarctica is 40 degrees Celcius below zero. Did the Warmies forget to tell you that?

Osokin also confirms that permafrost has been receding in the Siberian Artic, just as the Warmies fret about — but:

Today, scientists say that the melting of the permafrost has stalled, which has been proved by data obtained by meteorological stations along Russia’s Artic coast.

If temperatures are rising — and Osokin says they are — why is the melting of permafrost not expanding? Well, it turns out it’s one of the those tricky little global balance things:

An important factor is the snow cover. Global warming reduces it, therefore making the heat insulator for the permafrost thinner. Then even weak frosts are enough to freeze the ground deeper below the surface.

Did the Warmie models consider that? Or will we be accused of censorship if we suggest altering their findings with truth from the field?

And by the way, before fretting too much about the permafrost, remember that the earth is frozen as deep as 500 to 800 meters in the permafrost zones. What’s happening is some piddling around near the surface.

Gee, maybe there’s something going on here that could influence the whole global warming debate.

But I forgot … the debate is over.

Hat-tip: Greenie Watch

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March 29th 2007

Bummer For NYT: They Miss Rove Again

“Can we get Karl Rove? Can we really get him?”

You can just hear the urgency, the fervid anticipation in the voices around the editorial board room of the NYTimes. They missed him with the Plame Game, but maybe now, with AG AG and the federal prosecutors …

So, with sweaty palms and furtive eyes, they launched today’s salvo: E-Mail Shows Rove’s Role in Fate of Prosecutors.”

Except the emails don’t do anything of the sort.

Refresher course: When President Bush took office, something he accomplished with Karl Rove’s help, he set three goals for anyone who wanted to serve as a U.S. attorney: Prosecute voter fraud, prosecute immigration offenses, particularly by business, and pursue federal death penalty cases. Anyone who accepted a position as a U.S. Attorney knew what was expected of them.

Presumably, someone in DC would be tasked with monitoring how those goals are being achieved, both in the consideration of fed prosecutors and evaluation of their performance. And guess what? It was so, says the NYT:

Almost every Wednesday afternoon, advisers to President Bush gather to strategize about putting his stamp on the federal courts and the United States attorney’s offices.

The group meets in the Roosevelt Room and includes aides to the White House counsel, the chief of staff, the attorney general and Karl Rove, who also sometimes attends himself. Each of them signs off on every nomination.

Mr. Rove, a top adviser to the president, takes charge of the politics. As caretaker to the administration’s conservative allies, Mr. Rove relays their concerns, according to several participants in the Wednesday meetings. And especially for appointments of United States attorneys, he manages the horse trading.

The article then goes on to describe some of the horse trading. Perhaps a Senator who Bush had to burn a bit has a candidate for U.S. Attorney. Rove would then say, “If the candidate checks out, let’s throw the Senator a bone.” Or, as the article goes into in great detail regarding the Illinois investigation of former Republican governor, Rove enforced the political rule that U.S. Attorneys should be from the states in which they’ll serve.

As the president’s chief political advisor, that’s exactly Rove’s role: playing politics, rewarding allies, isolating opponents. You may want to check this out for yourself, but rumor has it such political play also was at work by Harold Ickes in Clinton’s White House, and by senior political aides of Carter, Johnson, Kennedy, Truman and FDR. So it is and was and will be.

Yet to the NYT, it’s Rove, so it’s different. There’s just one problem with their analysis. They know they’ve got nothing on Rove in this messy heap of “journalism,” yet they labored hard to bury that fact. But in the end, all they can say is that Rove was involved in the hiring of federal prosecutors; nothing in the story mentions his meddling in their firing — not that such meddling would be wrong in any way, since U.S. attorneys serve at the president’s will.

The story mentions problems with investigations of political corruption in Washington and New Mexico, and tries to make Rove the man behind the curtain that we’re not supposed to pay attention to:

In the months before the United States attorneys in New Mexico and Washington State were ousted, Mr. Rove joined a chorus of complaints from state Republicans that the federal prosecutors had failed to press charges in Democratic voter fraud cases. While planning a June 21, 2006, White House session to discuss the prosecutors, for example, a Rove deputy arranged for top Justice Department officials to meet with an important Bush supporter who was critical of New Mexico’s federal prosecutor about voter fraud.

Wait. There was a “chorus of complaints?” It wasn’t just Rove? You mean, perhaps a lot of people were aware that something was going wrong in the federal atty offices of New Mex and Washington, where directive #1, prosecution of voter fraud, was just not happening the way it should?

And Rove’s reaction to this chorus? Was it something particularly devious? Was it “Off with their heads?” No, he worked to placate an important contributor, which is what he is supposed to do. Protect the base, protect the fundraising, represent the president well.

Of course, sometimes Rove’s role was to push a new candidate that could help achieve the President’s objectives and score some political points in the process. Securing a position for such a person would require the removal of the attorney currently serving, so this is the door the NYT wants to drive a big truck through: Karl Rove axed so-and-so so a Bush Buddy could get the job. Again, they fail to come up with anything; this is as close as they got:

In Arkansas, Representative John Boozman, the state’s highest ranking Republican in Congress, said he recommended Mr. Rove’s protégé, Mr. Griffin, for a United States attorney vacancy in 2004, in part because of his ties to Mr. Rove.

A prosecutor in the Army Reserves, Mr. Griffin worked for Mr. Rove as an opposition researcher attacking Democratic presidential candidates in 2000. In between, for six months, the Justice Department had dispatched him to Arkansas to get experience as a prosecutor.

“I have been in situations through the years where Tim and Karl were at,” Mr. Boozman recalled. “I could tell that Karl thought highly of him.” -

Mr. Griffin dropped out of the running in 2004 when he accepted a campaign job for Mr. Rove, then became his deputy in the White House. But last summer, the department asked United States Attorney H. E. Cummins III to resign to make room and Mr. Rove’s staff began talking with department officials about how to install Mr. Griffin despite Senate opposition, internal e-mail shows.

No Rovian fingerprints are announced; a routine dismissal through routine channels followed by designing a confirmation campaign is the best the journalistic stars at the NYT can come up with — and if they bothered to look at Dem administrations half as scrupulously as they pore over every Bush/Rove move, they would find this is BAU — business as usual — in politics.

Bottom line: Having nothing didn’t keep the NYT from slapping a headline and a photo on this mess and waving it before the world so those who don’t take the time to read the two-clicker will come away with the impression that Rove fired federal attorneys.

It was just another big “expose” that exposes nothing more than the MSM’s relentless pursuit of their prey. This time, the fox again outran the hounds.

Hat-tip: memeorandum

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March 28th 2007

The Watcher’s Council Nominees

I was humbled earlier this week to be nominated to Watcher of Weasels‘ Circle of Watchers. My job is to submit and review the 10 Circle members’ nominations of the 20 best blog posts of the week — one from each of the Circle members, and 10 from non-members.

Nice work if you can get it, eh?

So here are the 10 nominations from the Circle’s members:

1. Josuapundit: 3 Card Monte – the Palestinian aid scam continues Joshuapundit reveals how aid to Palestine increased during the boycott of Palestine following the election of Hamas — and that corruption is thriving as usual in Palestine.

2. Done With Mirrors: O Believers Can art and pain be separated? Why do artists make the choices they make?

3. Soccer Dad: Dollars (and respect) for Dahlan Another take on the Palestine Aid flimflam and how terrorism can really pay.

4. Right Wing Nut House : Politicizing Science here, Rick takes on the intersecting of science and political agendas as evidenced by the global warming controversy.

5. The Glittering Eye: Greece and Mesopotamia: Origins of Greek Thought OK, where else do you get to read about the connects and disconnects between poetry, thought and ideals in Greek and Mesopotamian?

6. Rhymes With Right: Tinker Must Be Preserved One of two solid posts on freedom of speech in public schools.

7. The Colossus of Rhodey: Student Press Rights Control bratspeech redux.

8. The scary nihilism of the Left: Bookworm Room Book finds a sympatico in Evan Sayet, another lefty turned conservative.

9. Eternity Road: Demographics And The Medicalization Of Human Existence My generation does not look good under Francis’ hard examination. Our obcession with self and youth is leading to some very immoral thoughts regarding medicine and life.

10. The Education Wonks: More Hollywood Idiocy: “Wristcutters: A Love Story” Here’s a new fun idea from Hollywood: A comedy about teen suicide. Ugh.

11. Big Lizards: “What the Meaning of “Fizz” Is” The AG AG pseudo-crisis laid bare in all its ridiculousness.

And … ta-da!

12.Cheat-Seeking Missiles: NanFran’s Cool Investments As Joshuapundit encapsulates me: “New guy Laer takes a fun look at the hypocrisy surrounding Nancy Pelosi’s statements – as opposed to her actions that directly benefit her financially!”

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