Rove and Scooter Lied to Prosecutors – Why Are They Still Running Our Government?

Raw Story:

Bloomberg’s Richard Keil will reveal tonight: “Two top White House aides have given accounts to the special prosecutor about how reporters told them the identity of a CIA agent that are at odds with what the reporters have said, according to persons familiar with the case.” The story reflects one given written by Murray Waas for the American Prospect.

Cheney’s boy Scooter Libby testified that he first heard Plame’s name from Tim Russert but Russert’s testimony contradicts this. Similarly, Novak’s testimony does not jive with Rove’s.

Lewis “Scooter’’ Libby, Vice President Dick Cheney’s chief of staff, told special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald that he first learned from NBC News reporter Tim Russert of the identity of CIA agent Valerie Plame, the wife of former ambassador and Bush administration critic Joseph Wilson. Russert has testified before a federal grand jury that he didn’t tell Libby of Plame’s identity.

White House Deputy Chief of Staff Karl Rove told Fitzgerald that he first learned the identity of the CIA agent from syndicated columnist Robert Novak, who was first to report Plame’s name and connection to Wilson. Novak, according to a source familiar with the matter, has given a somewhat different version to the special prosecutor.

These discrepancies may be important because one issue Fitzgerald is investigating is whether Libby, Rove, or other administration officials made false statements during the course of the investigation. The Plame case has its genesis in whether any administration officials violated a 1982 law making it illegal to knowingly reveal the name of a CIA agent.

Poll: Doubts About Bush, Iraq, Terror Grow

Since January, the number of people who approve of the way Bush is handling Iraq has fallen from 45% to 35%.

A Pew Research Center for the People & the Press poll released today finds almost half of respondents (47%) feeling that the war in Iraq is undermining the war on terror at home and more Americans have doubts about Bush’s handling of both the war and terrorism. Since January, the number of people who approve of the way Bush is handling Iraq has fallen from 45% to 35%. Over the same period, positive views of Bush’s handling of terrorist threats have dropped precipitously with only half (49%) approving of Bush’s performance, down from 62% in January.

While most opinions on Iraq have remained stable in recent months, the public is growing more critical of Bush’s handling of the war. Only 27% say he has a plan for creating a successful conclusion in Iraq —­ the lowest percentagw since the start of the war. By 72% to 23%, independents say Bush lacks a clear plan for ending the war.

About 28% of respondents said the ability of terrorists to launch a major attack on the U.S. is greater now than at the time of the 9/11 attacks. This is up 4% since last July, however, 40% believe the capability of terrorists mounting a major attack is about the same as it was on 9/11.

Almost four years after the 9/11 attacks and we’ve got an ineffectual president, an ongoing war, a Homeland Defense Department that is being reorganized yet again and a nation of people who don’t feel they are any safer from terrorists now than they were in 2001 and don’t see an end to the Iraq war.

Roberts’ Wife – Who Knew There Are Rightwing Feminists?

Go Johnny! His parents don’t look like a whole lot of fun but young John Roberts Jr. was gettin’ down at the White House Tuesday night.

Rightwing feminists are for empowering women – except when they become pregnant, at which point the government should force them to give birth.

Well, this is just oxymoronic. Jane Roberts, the wife of President Bush’s Supreme Court nominee, is a Catholic, and I think we can assume she is conservative – and yet she thinks of herself as a feminist.

Apparently, Mrs. Roberts – shown above (she’s the one in pink) – is a an ardent opponent of a woman’s right to choose. The Los Angeles Times reports that she “provides her name, money and professional advice to a small Washington organization — Feminists for Life of America — that offers counseling and educational programs. The group has filed legal briefs before the high court challenging the constitutionality of abortion.”

Who knew you could be feminist and conservative? I suppose rightwing feminists are for empowering women – except when they become pregnant, at which point the government should force them to give birth, whether they choose to or not. Whether they were raped or not.

It’s like queer conservatives, I guess. Makes no sense.

Knee-Jerk Reaction Further Burdens Schools

Florida’s Jessica Lunsford Act, signed by Jeb in May and set to go into effect Sept. 1, rode the express lane through the Legislature. It won unanimous support just over a month after the girl was found murdered by a sex offender. Now school officials are wishing the bill had taken the scenic route instead.

St. Augustine Record:

The law requires those who prey on children under 12 to be sentenced to at least 25 years in prison and, if they get out, to be tracked for life.

It also requires that all people entering schools (when children are there) have background checks…

The law means garbage men, repair men, food deliverers, construction workers, tutors, members of the media and the like will have the go through extensive evaluation before they can proceed in their purpose…

“(We) have to re-fingerprint (employees who had it done) within the last five years,” [St. Johns County School District Superintendent Dr. Joseph] Joyner said. “We have to go back and fingerprint our employees that haven’t had it done. It’s a cost we’re going to have to bear ourselves.”

There is an additional cost of $6 per year, per person, to have the fingerprints stored. The school district has 6,000 employees…

Joyner assured that implementation into the school system is going to be difficult, especially immediately. “We probably have 1,500 vendors … different people we write checks to,” he said.

For vendors, fingerprinting is $56 each time it has to be done, which will be covered by the organization the visiting individual is associated with.

Lunsford, it should be noted, was abducted from her home, not from her school.

Why are so many of these fights taken to the public schools? These new security mandates, which will likely only be followed by law-abiding citizens and therefore not save one child from Jessica Lunsford’s fate, join others, like having an American flag in every classroom, that are someone’s idea of The Way Things Ought to Be. Instead, they place ridiculous burdens on the system and divert energy and resources from the long ago purpose of schools: education.

State Dept. Memo Said Plame’s Identity Was Secret

If Rove read the memo, he knew Plame’s identity was classified when he revealed it to Novak – and he could be looking at a 10 year stretch.

The Washington Post has tracked down the contents of the State Dept. memo from 2003 that may prove to be the linchpin in the scandal surrounding the Bush White House leak that blew the cover of CIA agent Valerie Plame Wilson:

A classified State Department memorandum central to a federal leak investigation contained information about CIA officer Valerie Plame in a paragraph marked “(S)” for secret, a clear indication that any Bush administration official who read it should have been aware the information was classified, according to current and former government officials.

The memo was prepared in June 2003 and then circulated again among top White House officials the next month after the New York Times published a column by former ambassador Joe Wilson, the husband of the secret agent, in which he eviscerated the Bush Administration’s claims that Iraq had obtained nuclear materials from Niger. The column was published on July 6. On July 8, then Secretary of State Colin Powell was seen with the memo on Air Force One, on a flight to Africa with President Bush and his top officials.

Among those who read the memo was the White House press secretary at the time, Ari Fleischer. What is not known – except possibly by the special prosecutor in the case – is whether or Karl Rove read the memo.

This is crucical because if Rove read the memo, he was fully aware that Mrs. Wilson’s identity was classified when he revealed it to rightwing pundit Bob Novak on July 8, 2003.

If Rove knowingly revealed the identity of a secret agent, he could face a 10 year stretch.

Partisan Roberts Helped Bush in 2000; Bush Helps Roberts in 2005

Can you say, “Pay back?” I thought you could.

Florida newspapers, including the Miami Herald are reporting today that:

U.S. Supreme Court nominee John G. Roberts provided legal advice to Gov. Jeb Bush in the weeks following the November 2000 election as part of the effort to make sure the governor’s brother won the disputed presidential vote.

Roberts did this out of the goodness of his partisan heart, and on his own dime.

Roberts was ”one of several experts who came to Florida to share their ideas,” said [Jeb] spokesman Jacob DiPietre. Roberts came “at his own expense and met with Gov. Bush to share what he believed the governor’s responsibilities were under federal law after a presidential election and a presidential election under dispute.”

Roberts has been skulking around the right people for a very long time, with excellent results. The Herald notes…

His connection to Dean Colson, a lawyer with the Miami firm of Colson Hicks Eidson. Colson had been a clerk for Supreme Court Justice William Rehnquist at the same time as Roberts in 1980 and was best man at Roberts’ wedding. Brian Yablonski, who was then a top aide to the governor, worked at the Colson law firm before he went to work with Bush…

Since the recount, the ties between the firm where Roberts worked at the time, Hogan & Hartson, and Florida’s government has grown deeper, as Hogan & Hartson has taken on several high-profile legal jobs in the state. The firm, for which Roberts worked from 1986 to 1989 and again from 1993 to 2003, represents and lobbies the Legislature for the Scripps Research Institute, which was given $500 million by state and local governments to set up an operation in Florida.

The Palm Beach Post notes Pres. Bush’s attitude of gratitude was evident early and, with this week’s nomination, often.

Two years after taking office, President Bush nominated Roberts, a conservative, to the federal court of appeals in Washington.

USA Today chronicled more of Roberts’ generosity toward Republicans.

Supreme Court nominee John G. Roberts has donated to the political campaigns of several Republican candidates, including one senator who will vote on Roberts’ appointment to the high court.

In recent election years, Roberts has contributed more than $3,700 to Republican candidates, including $1,000 to George W. Bush’s successful bid for the presidency in 2000…

Much of Roberts’ political giving was to his law firm’s political action committee. He gave more than $5,600 to the Hogan & Hartson PAC, especially during the 1998 and 2000 election cycles.

In 1998, the Hogan & Hartson PAC made $111,800 in political donations, with more going to Republicans than Democrats. The same was true in 2000; Hogan & Hartson gave $67,000 to Republicans and $37,250 to Democrats.

You Won’t Want to Miss Dr. Laura – Live!

Actually, you will want to miss this, I’m sure. I, for one, will be too busy washing my hair to attend on the night her “show” opens in Santa Barbara:

If Suzanne Somers can have a one-woman show on Broadway — and she does — why not Laura Schlessinger?

Well, it’s not quite the Great White Way, but the radio advice guru said Wednesday she’ll appear at the Lobero Theatre in Santa Barbara on Aug. 19 and 20 in “Dr. Laura: In My Never to Be Humble Opinion.”

The first act features Schlessinger talking about her life and current events; in the second she’ll answer questions submitted in advance by the audience.

The “Dr. Laura” theatrical show also has dates scheduled in Northern California and Texas later this year.

I would imagine that what she would really like is for hordes of protesters to show up – and knowing Santa Barbara as I do, they’ll be there.

FDA Issues Warning About Abortion Drug

The Food and Drug Administration has issued a warning over the use of the abortion drug RU-486, or mifepristone, following the deaths of five women who used the drug. Mifepex (the brand name) has been available in the United States since 2000, more than 1 million women have taken it worldwide over the past decade and about 200,000 women in the U.S. have used it to end unwanted pregnancies without surgery.

Following four deaths from infection, the FDA has issued a warning, even though it admitted to not being able to tie the deaths directly to RU-486. Four of the deaths were attributed to a blood infection called sepsis, also known as toxic shock syndrome. The other death resulted from complications of a ruptured ectopic pregnancy after Mifeprex was used. The FDA specifically advises that the drug not be used in the case of extra-uterine pregnancy because of the danger of infection.

These deaths were caused by the women using the drug in a manner not approved by the FDA:

The 4 deaths caused by bloodstream infections, or sepsis, all occurred in women who didn’t follow FDA-approved instructions for a pill-triggered abortion, said agency drug chief Dr Steven Galson. “We don’t know that this off-label use has caused the deaths,” he cautioned.

The action comes just 8 months after the FDA warned about 2 sepsis cases associated with Mifeprex, also called RU-486 or mifepristone. Additional sepsis cases were reported to the agency in April and June 2005.

The drug, sold by Danco Laboratories, is approved to terminate pregnancy up to 49 days after the beginning of the last menstrual cycle. It blocks a hormone required to sustain a pregnancy. When followed by another medicine, misoprostol, the pregnancy is terminated.

The FDA’s instructions call for women to swallow both pills, but most abortion clinics instead instruct that the misoprostol tablet be inserted into the vagina, Galson said. Studies have shown it can work that way, too. But the 4 sepsis deaths, all reported from California, came after this so-called off-label use. Galson couldn’t say whether the women had inserted the tablet vaginally themselves. In 2 of the infections, doctors identified a bacterium called _Clostridium sordellii_, a common germ not usually associated with illness, he said.