Thursday, November 11, 2010

Plame, Lies, and Videotape

The September/October issue of World Affairs contains a tour de force by lawyer-journalist Stan Crock, which is not only the authoritative takedown of “Fair Game,” Douglas Liman’s meretricious cinematic hagiography of Valerie Plame and Joe Wilson, but also the essential case, laid out with amazing meticulousness, for a presidential pardon for Scooter Libby—the pardon that ought to have been forthcoming the instant he was indicted, and, failing that, issued before President Bush left office. Inexplicable judicial rulings, coupled with the inexcusably disgusting cowardice of the president and his counsel, Fred Fielding, left a brave and loyal man on the field of battle, fending for himself.

A couple of highlights from Mr. Crock’s piece:

The entire thrust of Liman’s film, told from the Wilson/Plame point of view, is that the White House did something wrong, that it manipulated intelligence and then retaliated against Wilson by exposing a covert operative and endangering national security. But no one was ever charged with violating the law that makes it illegal to expose spies because the law requires an intent to undermine CIA operations. . . . As trial testimony showed, neither Libby nor anyone else knew Plame was covert. Most importantly, Libby was acquitted on the only charges that relate to leaking Plame’s CIA employment.

The more you probe, the more Kafkaesque the case becomes. Conversations prosecution witnesses failed to remember became proof Libby couldn’t have forgotten them. Witnesses said the FBI’s potentially exculpatory contemporaneous notes about their testimony were wrong, and their more incriminating memories to the contrary months later were right. When a key prosecution witness was shown to have been confused about which reporter he spoke to about Wilson’s wife, the prosecution argued that a faulty memory “about Wilson’s wife does not in any way, shape or form suggest a reason why [the witness] would fabricate, make up, or invent a story.” For the prosecution, confusing which reporter a witness had a conversation with doesn’t mean the witness is lying. Unless the witness’s name is Scooter Libby. The movie should have starred Ludacris, not Sean Penn.

But read the whole thing.

And to Fred Fielding, wherever you are: Shame, shame, shame!

Happy Veterans Day

To all who have served, God bless you. To all who are serving still, God bless you and keep you from harm. We owe you all our liberties, the ones we abuse as well as the ones we cherish.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Words of (Conventional) Wisdom from Graydon Carter

The editor of Vanity Fair is in dudgeon over last week’s election. Let’s call it the middle dudgeon of a well-dressed (and beautifully coiffed!) domesticated ungulate who receives the information upon which he bases his declared opinions from the rest of the herd of scribblers and celebrity-hounds who ruminate alongside him (nor should the excogitations of the actor/celebrities who flock to his parties be dismissed—they think things about things, too, and they have all the emotions). They heard this wave of Dem/lib defeats was coming, but it’s just possible they didn’t really believe it: How, after all, could it happen? Eight years of suffering—war, torture, lies, and oh, that mangled language—ended with the advent of Obamunism. Now they have to relinquish their antibiotic-free ranging and go back to huddle in their Robert Couturier-decorated pens? And all because of an enraged, pitchfork-bearing, brimstone mob of Tea Partiers? They don’t know anybody like that! Those people live elsewhere, in the great unwashed middle, as Katie Couric so deliciously put it, and aren’t they really just too dumb to vote, anyway?

If you share the herd’s fine politics and good clothes your emissions will pass muster: You don’t need to know anything at all about your subject to expound upon it—your fellow bovines will swallow it as their own cud. Thus is Mr. Carter’s analysis of America’s flaws not much more than the pre-digested grass regurgitated daily in the pages of the New York Times, the Atlantic, and The New Republic, among others: “The general anti-Obama rage out there is palpable.”

But it’s no more virulent than the anti-Bush sentiment that has pervaded the country for much of the past decade—although this being America, there’s an attendant hatred for Obama that has more to do with race than anything else. What makes today’s fury more worrying is the fact that angry right-wing extremists tend to carry guns in disproportionate numbers to their liberal counterparts.

Interesting choice of words—“anti-Bush sentiment”—putting delicately what could fairly be described as some of the most vicious “discourse” ever to emanate from the stalls of “journalism” and academia. And who, while we’re on the subject, could the liberal counterparts of angry right-wing extremists be? Surely he doesn’t mean Bernardine Dohrn and Bill Ayers? Or the stick-wielding Black Panthers menacing voters at a polling place—twice?

But it’s the casually tossed-off “this being America, there’s an attendant hatred for Obama that has more to do with race than anything else,” that really catches the eye: Mr. Obama has been president for nearly two years; Mr. Carter suggests we great unwashed ones have just now noticed he’s black, and have rushed to empty our gun cabinets. He gives himself away, though. Dumb (and armed) as we may be, we get the message: “This being Vanity Fair, there’s an attendant hatred for America that has more to do with class than anything else.”

And you can take that to the butcher.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Wild Monkeys Couldn’t Drag Me Away

Warships, armored cars, and armed guards are all very well in their place, but powerless when it comes to marauding fruits and macaques. Thus, according to the New York Post, authorities in Bombay, in a preemptive strike, are removing coconuts from trees in order to prevent them from falling on our president’s head when he visits Saturday; meanwhile, in Delhi, “‘As several incidents of monkey-menace have been reported from the area, we are keeping a watch on the simians,’ a police officer said.”

It’s a relief to know that whatever else may befall him during his post-election wound-licking weekend in India, Mr. Obama will not be interfered with either by monkeys or by coconuts.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Tender These Tender People a Homeland

Why shouldn’t the U.N. give Islamic Jihad and Hamas a state, as long as they’re thinking of doling them out? Blood-cultists need a country as much as the next “Palestinian.” The 10,000-man wipe-Israel-off-the-map rally is a growth industry, requiring room. Why must Gazans carry their sons on their shoulders to their convocations of sanguinity, when they could be walking side-by-side with them, sharing space adequate for the lobbing of rocks and grenades and the aiming of RPGs?

I say declare them a state, and don’t bother stopping at the tiny sliver of land that comprises Israel. Make it a big old Platonic state.  Like Atlantis, or Helike, or whatever it is we are these days calling the island kingdom that according to the ancients went down in one colossal night of earthquakes and tsunamis and now resides in perfect peace under the sea.