Friday, November 11, 2005

Morning copy 11.11.2005

Thank you veterans.

Stubborn and dishonest

A new AP-Ipsos poll shows George W. Bush at a 37 percent job approval rating. The "fundamentals" behind that number are:

1. Almost six in 10 — 57% — said they do not think the Bush administration has high ethical standards and the same portion says President Bush is not honest, an AP-Ipsos poll found.

2. More than eight in 10, 82%, described Bush as "stubborn," with almost that many Republicans agreeing to that description.

Bush needs new personnel and a few legitimate success stories.

What is the president doing today? He will give a speech at a military installation, the Tobyhanna Army Depot. Reports are he will respond to claims that his administration misused intelligence.

Richard Stevenson and David Cloud in the New York Times have a story on the Bush campaign that kicks off today:

"It will be the most direct refutation of the Democrat charges you've seen probably since the election," the official said, speaking on the condition of anonymity to outline a strategy that has not yet become public and will play out over several weeks through presidential speeches, close coordination with Republicans on Capitol Hill and a stepped-up effort by the Republican National Committee.

CNN has obtained a CIA report that casts doubt on an al Qaeda WMD link with Iraq from January 2003, before Colin Powell went before the United Nations:

The CIA report appears to support a recently declassified document that revealed the Defense Intelligence Agency thought in February 2002 that the source, Ibn al-Shaykh al-Libi, was lying to interrogators.

Peter Baker in the Washington Post recaps Stephen Hadley's briefing yesterday. Hadley was animated, to say the least.

Bristling from fresh assaults on its justification for war, the White House dispatched national security adviser Stephen J. Hadley to the briefing room to issue a rebuttal to "the notion that somehow the administration manipulated prewar intelligence about Iraq." The administration's judgment on the threat posed by Iraq, he said, "represented the collective view of the intelligence community" and was "shared by Republicans and Democrats alike."

John McCain

The "maverick" Senator from Arizona has called for more troops in Iraq. Note that this was a speech for the American Enterprise Institute. The Senator's point is recounted by the AP:

"Instead of drawing down we should be ramping up, with more civil-military soldiers, translators and counterinsurgency operations teams," McCain said.

"Maverick" may want to differentiate his Iraqi policy from Democratic presidential hopefuls. The Reuters story uses "maverick". I cannot wait to see a Hagel - McCain "maverick" nomination race.

McCain's speech yesterday is used as a launching point for a broader discussion about changing the Iraq war policy, Washington Post.

McCain also stands firm on his anti-torture amendment. In Japan Today:

"A clear and firm commitment on the part of the United States government that we will not only not torture but we will not treat people in a cruel or inhumane fashion is absolutely vital," McCain said.

"Otherwise it is difficult for young people to differentiate between ourselves and our adversaries," the former Vietnam war prisoner and presidential candidate said at the American Enterprise Institute think-tank.

Condoleezza Rice

Condi went to Mosul on a surprise visit to Iraq, New York Times:

MOSUL, Iraq, Friday, Nov. 11 - Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice made a surprise stop on Friday in this violent, Sunni-dominated city in northern Iraq , declaring that it had recently become a success story for the strategy of using Iraqi forces to quell the insurgency.

The Associated Press story:

"I want to talk about the importance of reaching across sectarian lines," Rice said on her unannounced visit to this northern Iraqi city, which is about 60% Sunni Arab.

Arnold Schwarzenegger

Who rebounds first: Arnold Schwarzenegger or George W. Bush?
A. Bush, he's still got Rove
B. Ahhnold has learned a lesson (see below)
C. All of the above
D. None of the above

Someone has given Schwarzenegger good advice. Peter Nicholas in the Los Angeles Times portrays the Governator looking to coöperate:

In a reference to his famous movie role, he said at a news conference: "If I were to do another Terminator movie, I would have the Terminator travel back in time to tell Arnold not to have a special election."

That got a laugh.

"The buck stops with me," he said. " … One should not shy away from that, and I would not blame anyone on my team. Because it was my idea to have the special election, and I said this is the year for reform and I told my team: 'You make it happen…. I have no patience, we're not going to wait. This is the year we're going to reform the system.' And it just didn't work out."

Meanwhile, (United States) House and Senate GOP members are tacking toward the center. Do you think Karl Rove will give Bush the same advice. All of you who answered "B." are probably correct. Time will tell.

The San Jose Mercury News has Democrats "weighing options".

Karl Rove

Judicial activism has become judicial imperialism according to the Architect. In the Los Angeles Times:

"These attempts, and many, many more … have led to widespread concern about our courts," said Rove, who noted that he was the only nonlawyer on the internal White House panel that considers judicial nominees. But he added that more than 200 of Bush's nominees to the federal bench have been confirmed and added: "In America, conservatives are winning the battle of ideas on almost every front."

Rove's appearance at the Federalist Society is painted in broader strokes in the New York Times:

Hunkered down for almost all of October while a grand jury considered his fate, Karl Rove has rebounded as a visible presence at the White House over the last two weeks, according to administration officials and Republican colleagues. He is running meetings and pursuing candidates for the 2006 elections - and, associates say, devising long-term political plans that suggest he does not believe he will face future legal trouble despite the C.I.A. leak investigation in which he has been involved.

The conservative court movement

The Los Angeles Times has some anti-abortion activists questioning Samuel Alito:

"I don't know what his personal views are, but I know that he has ruled on pro-life cases four times and he has ruled against pro-life positions three times. And the fourth was a split decision," said Richard Collier, president of the Legal Center for the Defense of Life, based in Morristown, N.J.

"If you look at the paper trail, it is all negative."

Do not neglect the nod-and-a-wink campaign, apparently conducted by Karl Rove, that John Fund uncovered. The one that was going to lead to very tough testimony from James Dobson. Some prominent anti-abortion leaders were told that Harriet Miers would vote their way on Roe v. Wade. But, Miers was supported by the same New Hampshire politico that helped with David Souter. When will the Christian Right realize that Rove exploits them?

The not so happy members of the Federalist Society in the New York Times:

"What is there to be jubilant about?" asked Edward Whelan, the president of the Ethics and Public Policy Center and a former clerk for Justice Antonin Scalia. "We have a Supreme Court that has been essentially lawless in so many respects for decades now, and a lot of work has to be done to restore it to its proper role."

The Los Angeles Times also has a story on this society:

Many liberal advocates admit they look with envy at what the Federalist Society has achieved.

"They have been unbelievably successful in a short time," said Nadine Strossen, president of the American Civil Liberties Union. "They have taken over the courts and the government. If you go to their meetings, you see the attorney general, senators, the solicitor general. I wish we had the same kind of presence."

Abu Musab al-Zarqawi

The New York Times on the attacks on Jordan:

Mr. Zarqawi, by contrast, has seen a widening insurgency as an opportunity, and American intelligence officials say it is one that he has carefully nurtured. Mr. Zarqawi has long harbored deep hatred for Jordan's Hashemite monarchy, and his organization has maintained roots there. Even before Thursday's bombings, they said, there was evidence that Mr. Zarqawi was turning more attention to Jordan, by steering personnel and matériel there from Iraq.

The reaction in Amman was one of anger, New York Times.

The Associated Press has the apparent response from the blood-thirsty would-be tyrant:

CAIRO, Egypt -- In an apparent response to Jordanians who took to the streets to call for its leader to "burn in hell," al-Qaida in Iraq took the rare step Thursday of trying to justify the triple suicide bombings that killed 56 people, mostly Arabs.

The Los Angeles Times on the increasing U.S. - Jordan partnership:

Jordan's General Intelligence Directorate, or GID, has surpassed Israel's Mossad as America's most effective allied counter-terrorism agency in the Middle East. Since the Sept. 11 attacks, its cooperation with the CIA has grown even closer.

Budget cuts

The Washington Post (note the graf's assertion about how important this bill was):

A battle between House Republican conservatives and moderates over energy policy and federal anti-poverty and education programs left GOP leaders without enough votes to pass a budget measure they had framed as one of the most important pieces of legislation in years. Across the Capitol, a moderate GOP revolt in the Senate Finance Committee forced Republicans to postpone action on a bill to extend some of President Bush's most contentious tax cuts.

Officials at the White House are doing well, said officials at the White House

The Washington Times has the attribution set off in a second sentence and a second paragraph:

The phones are ringing off the hook at the White House political affairs office with Republican candidates calling to ask President Bush to appear at fundraisers and campaign events.

Despite a consensus among political pundits and Democrats that Mr. Bush was chiefly responsible for the Virginia gubernatorial loss Tuesday, the White House said yesterday.

I have not read pundits so sure of one source for Kilgore's defeat. But, this story is just awful journalism. It is shameful.

The quote later on in the story comes from Scott McClellan. Essentially this is a quote lede from the shaky press secretary. But it almost looks like a news story.

Assorted links

Jeffrey Smith in the Washington Post has FOUR sources saying Tom DeLay's lawyers tried to get a misdemeanor deal.

Mark Warner is the Washington Post's golden boy.

The 18 year old mayor-elect, Los Angeles Times.

A U.S. diplomat faces off with a Sudanese official, Los Angeles Times.

Chirac says France should help the poor as violent protests subside, Los Angeles Times.

Pat Robertson has warned a Pennsylvania town that they face God's wrath for not voting pro-Intelligent Design, CNN.

It's a good day for whack jobs on the right. Here is Bill O'Reilly as retold by SF Gate:

"Fine. You want to be your own country? Go right ahead," O'Reilly went on. "And if Al Qaeda comes in here and blows you up, we're not going to do anything about it. We're going to say, look, every other place in America is off limits to you except San Francisco. You want to blow up the Coit Tower? Go ahead."


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