Patterico's Pontifications


L.A. Times Quotes Larry “Karl Rove’s Mother Killed Herself Because She Hated Him” Johnson as an Unbiased Expert on the Administration

Filed under: Dog Trainer,General — Patterico @ 11:45 am

An L.A. Times article about Washington officials’ blabbing about Valerie Plame ends with this zinger:

Assessing Grenier’s testimony, Larry Johnson, a retired CIA and State Department counter-terrorism expert, said, “They wanted to avoid any unpleasantness with the vice president.”

Besides, Johnson said, “If you can’t give the vice president and president information with any degree of confidence that it is going to be protected, then you know, the entire game is up.”

BAM! What a burn! Because, of course, Plame’s identity wasn’t protected, and the L.A. Times has been busy implying that it’s Cheney’s fault. Now an independent “retired CIA and State Department counter-terrorism expert” has given them the quote they need to drive the point home. And when a “retired CIA and State Department counter-terrorism expert” says it, the credibility of the statement is undeniable. Especially since there’s no indication in the article that Johnson has any pre-existing bias against anyone in the Bush Administration.

But, like Columbo always said . . . there’s just one more thing. Unbiased “retired CIA and State Department counter-terrorism expert” Larry Johnson? Here’s what he once said about Karl Rove:

Karl is a shameless bastard. Small wonder his mother killed herself. Once she discovered what a despicable soul she had spawned she apparently saw no other way out. It would be one thing if his vile tactics were simply mere smears of politicians like Kerry and Murtha. They are big boys and should be able to defend themselves quite ably against this turd.

An isolated outburst? Well, back when blogger Seixon was questioning the Jason Leopold story about Karl Rove’s alleged indictment, Seixon said that Larry Johnson wrote Seixon a threatening e-mail in which Johnson “repeated my mother’s name, my parents’ address, and even my birth month and year.” Seixon says that Johnson then told him: “I am prepared to ratchet this up several levels,” adding: “I know where you are living.”

None of this information appears in the L.A. Times article. It might spoil that zinger, don’t you know. Better to describe him simply as a “retired CIA and State Department counter-terrorism expert.” That’s how the Journalism Experts do it.

UPDATE: More from unbiased Mr. Johnson, courtesy of Seixon:

Until Patrick Fitzgerald calls off the dogs that Porcine Ass called Rove ought to worry about who he might be getting up close and personal with in jail.


Now, if fat Karl had been at the head of the line to enlist in the Army and help lead the invasion, I wouldn’t be so cranky. But he didn’t, and Cheney didn’t, and Wolfowitz didn’t, and Rummy didn’t and the Bush daughters were busy getting drunk in DC bars. What is it about Republican chickenhawks who played every angle during the Vietnam War to avoid going to war but have no hesistation to start a war in Iraq and send other peoples children into the fray?

More at the link.

Just an unbiased expert, Mr. Johnson is.

Jan Crawford Greenburg on the Slandering of Clarence Thomas

Filed under: General,Judiciary — Patterico @ 9:35 am

I am late linking this excellent Wall Street Journal piece by ABC legal correspondent Jan Crawford Greenburg, who has a new book out titled Supreme Conflict: The Inside Story of the Struggle for Control of the United States Supreme Court. The linked WSJ piece explodes the myth of Clarence Thomas as a Scalia lackey, providing proof that Thomas has changed the mind of Scalia and others on many occasions:

Clarence Thomas has borne some of the most vitriolic personal attacks in Supreme Court history. But the persistent stereotypes about his views on the law and subordinate role on the court are equally offensive — and demonstrably false. An extensive documentary record shows that Justice Thomas has been a significant force in shaping the direction and decisions of the court for the past 15 years.

That’s not the standard storyline. Immediately upon his arrival at the court, Justice Thomas was savaged by court-watchers as Antonin Scalia’s dutiful apprentice, blindly following his mentor’s lead. It’s a grossly inaccurate portrayal, imbued with politically incorrect innuendo, as documents and notes from Justice Thomas’s very first days on the court conclusively show. Far from being a Scalia lackey, the rookie jurist made clear to the other justices that he was willing to be the solo dissenter, sending a strong signal that he would not moderate his opinions for the sake of comity. By his second week on the bench, he was staking out bold positions in the private conferences where justices vote on cases. If either justice changed his mind to side with the other that year, it was Justice Scalia joining Justice Thomas, not the other way around.

Greenburg provides some specific examples:

Consider a criminal case argued during Justice Thomas’s first week. It concerned a thief’s effort to get out of a Louisiana mental institution and the state’s desire to keep him there. Eight justices voted to side with the thief. Justice Thomas dissented, arguing that although it “may make eminent sense as a policy matter” to let the criminal out of the mental institution, nothing in the Constitution required “the states to conform to the policy preferences of federal judges.”

After he sent his dissenting opinion to the other justices, as is custom, Justices Rehnquist, Scalia and Kennedy changed their votes. The case ended up 5-4.

Justice Thomas’s dissents persuaded Justice Scalia to change his mind several times that year. Even in Hudson v. McMillan, the case that prompted the New York Times to infamously label Justice Thomas the “youngest, cruelest justice,” he was again, initially, the lone dissenter. Justice Scalia changed his vote after he read Justice Thomas’s dissent, which said a prison inmate beaten by guards had several options for redress — but not under the Eighth Amendment’s prohibition of “cruel and unusual punishment.”

Interestingly, his independence was only reinforced by his nasty confirmation hearings, which confirmed for him that his critics have no credibility.

I am looking forward to reading Greenburg’s new book, which I recently ordered. Based on this article, she appears to be willing to tell the truth, even if it benefits conservatives. That’s a refreshing attitude from a Big Media reporter.

UPDATE: One of the contributors to Confirm Them has the book and says that, so far, it is very good. Of course, he got a complimentary copy, whereas yours truly is paying the big bucks for his. I (almost) never seem to get these free advance copies of books that bloggers are always talking about. What am I doing wrong?

One of the problems could be that, for some reason, people don’t seem to see this blog as a “legal blog” — even though, after media criticism, that is probably the primary topic of the blog. I cover confirmation wars and court decisions, and I think I get the legal analysis right most of the time — far more often than, say, the L.A. Times, to take one example. Still, people don’t seem to see me as a legal analyst. I guess you have to be a law professor to be taken seriously on that front.

In any event, I’ll have a review of the book out once I get it and read it. But since I always elect “Super Saver Shipping” from Amazon, that may be a while.

Dirty Harry Land Deal Exposed by L.A. Times — Now That Election Is Safely Over

Filed under: Dog Trainer,General,Politics — Patterico @ 8:42 am

The L.A. Times has an article about another one of Dirty Harry Reid’s land deals. The article is by Chuck Neubauer and Tom Hamburger. They have done good work exposing Reid’s shady deals in the past — but they had no story about his extensive shenanigans that emerged during the 2006 election season.

Timing is everything . . .


Patriquin Plan Working in Al Anbar

Filed under: Dog Trainer,General,War — Patterico @ 4:55 pm

The L.A. Times is catching up to a story I told you about six weeks ago (December 11), after reading about it on Teflon Don’s blog. It’s the story of a sheik in Ramadi who has been helping to turn things around there. As Teflon Don said at the time:

A local sheik came to the Army unit in charge of the sector he lived in, announced his desire to fight the insurgents, and asked for help in doing so. He was received with some healthy skepticism- many people in this part of the world will say whatever they think you want to hear in order to profit from you. To demonstrate his commitment, he organized his militia and began to attempt to quell some of the violence in the sector. Within days, indirect fire attacks against US bases from his area dropped to nearly zero over the next three weeks, from a former rate of multiple attacks per day. IED attacks and other insurgent activity was also down.

Today’s L.A. Times story has an interview with the sheik, Sheik Sattar Bazeaa Fatikhan. Teflon Don confirms that the interview is with the same sheik. Here’s a taste:

After Sunni insurgents killed his father and four of his brothers last year, Fatikhan declared war against the insurgency.

He convened a summit of about a dozen prominent sheiks. From that meeting came a document called “The Awakening,” in which Fatikhan persuaded all but one sheik to join him in opposition to the insurgency.

The sheiks pledged to encourage young men to join the police force and even the Shiite-led army. The document states that killing an American is the same as killing a member of their tribes. Since the gathering, Fatikhan said, the sheiks have “eliminated” a number of insurgents.

U.S. officials regularly visit Fatikhan, seeking his counsel, showing him the kind of deference one might expect for a leading government official.

For U.S. forces to court local sheiks is consistent with the “Patriquin plan” that I mentioned in my December post. And indeed, Capt. Patriquin gets a nod from the sheik:

Fatikhan ordered his followers to “adopt” the U.S. Army’s liaison to the tribes and give him an Arabic name, Wissam, which means warrior. After the officer, Capt. Travis Patriquin, was killed by a roadside bomb, the sheik ordered that one of the new police stations be named in his honor.

By the way, this is not a new idea. I mentioned it in April 2004. But according to Capt. Patriquin’s Power Point presentation, bureaucratic rules kept us from cooperating with the sheiks in the most effective way possible. Capt. Patriquin’s Power Point portrayed an American soldier named “Joe” who was stymied in his efforts to deal with the sheiks:

What’s that in Joe’s hand? Oh, a transitional authority law! It was written by the CPA (25 year olds from Texas, and Paul Bremer) and it says NO SHEIKS! ONLY ELECTED GOVERNMENT!!!

It appears that we are ignoring these ivory tower concerns and are making progress with the help of sheiks like Fatikhan.

Here is my favorite quote from the article:

Fatikhan, who wears tailored suits when not in traditional clothing, understands U.S. politics. He told a visiting journalist, “Please take a message to the Democrats: Let the American forces stay until we can hold Iraq together. Then we will have a party when American forces go.”

And we will have a party too.

(Thanks to Capt. Eric Coulson for the heads up.)

The Power of the Jump™: L.A. Times Implies That Cheney Leaked Plame’s Identity

Filed under: Dog Trainer,General — Patterico @ 3:57 pm

(Note: “The Power of the Jump”™ is a semi-regular feature of this site, documenting examples of the Los Angeles Times’s use of its back pages to hide information that its editors don’t want you to see.)

“OK, team. We all know that Richard Armitage leaked Valerie Plame’s identity. But how can we suggest that the leaker was really Dick Cheney, without actually coming out and saying it?”

If you listen closely, you can almost hear the editors of the L.A. Times asking themselves that question, as they put together yesterday’s article on the first day of the Scooter Libby trial.

The article is titled Cheney’s key role in leak case detailed. That headline alone implies Cheney was behind the leak. The deck headline continues the misdirection: “A former aide testifies in Libby’s trial that the vice president directed the effort to discredit a CIA agent’s husband.” Everyone knows that the leak of Plame’s identity was part of that effort to discredit Wilson, so the implication is reinforced. And the lede sentence reads:

In the first such account from Vice President Dick Cheney’s inner circle, a former aide testified Thursday that Cheney personally directed the effort to discredit an administration critic by having calls made to reporters in 2003.

What about Richard Armitage? Richard Armiwho? The article professes ignorance of the identity of the real leaker, and continues to imply that Cheney was behind the leak:

Cheney dictated detailed “talking points” for his chief of staff, I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby, and others on how they could impugn the critic’s credibility, said Catherine J. Martin, who was the vice president’s top press aide at the time.

Libby is on trial on charges of obstructing an investigation into how the name of a CIA operative, Valerie Plame, became public. The government says her identity emerged in conversations Libby had with several reporters. It is illegal to knowingly divulge the name of a CIA employee.

(Actually, no. It’s illegal only if it’s a covert employee.)

Not until Page A17 does the article finally admit — in passing, in the 15th paragraph — that the witness had no indication that Libby or Cheney actually leaked Plame’s name:

But Martin said that neither Cheney nor Libby had suggested that the identity of Plame be divulged as part of the game plan. She said that she had no knowledge of either actually doing so.

Coming as late as it does, this does little to rebut the clear implications of the headlines and first paragraphs that Cheney and Libby leaked Plame’s identity. Worse, the name of the actual admitted leaker, Richard Armitage, is not mentioned once in the story. Armitage’s admission is mentioned only at the tail end of a misleading accompanying timeline — one that also suggests, until the very end, that Libby was the leaker.

Business as usual at the L.A. Times, which has worked hard over the years to distort every aspect of this story against the Administration.

Thanks to Curt W.

P.S. The web version of the story is accompanied by this picture:


Cute. They’re not saying it, mind you — because there’s a question mark! That makes it okay — and so very objective!

Rutten Gets the Facts Wrong on Lyin’ Joe Wilson — Again

Filed under: Dog Trainer,General — Patterico @ 2:48 pm

Tim Rutten:

Wilson had been sent by the CIA to the African country of Niger to investigate reports that Saddam Hussein had been trying to obtain yellow cake uranium mined there as part of his alleged nuclear weapon program. Wilson reported that nothing of the sort had occurred and went public with that fact when Bush and other members of the administration falsely alleged otherwise in making the case for war against Iraq.


That’s not what the Senate Intelligence Committee Report says:

[Wilson’s] intelligence report indicated that former Nigerien Prime Minister Ibrahim Mayaki was unaware of any contracts that had been signed between Niger and any rogue states for the sale of yellowcake while he was Prime Minister (1997-1999) or Foreign Minister (1996-1997). Mayaki said that if there had been any such contract during his tenure, he would have been aware of it. Mayaki said, however, that in June 1999,(REDACTED) businessman, approached him and insisted that Mayaki meet with an Iraqi delegation to discuss “expanding commercial relations” between Niger and Iraq. The intelligence report said that Mayaki interpreted “expanding commercial relations” to mean that the delegation wanted to discuss uranium yellowcake sales. The intelligence report also said that “although the meeting took place, Mayaki let the matter drop due to the UN sanctions on Iraq.”

In other words, contrary to Rutten’s claim, Wilson’s report contained evidence that Saddam Hussein tried to obtain yellowcake uranium from Niger. As Captain Ed notes, Niger’s four exports are uranium ore, livestock, cowpeas, and onions. The former Nigerien Prime Minister didn’t think Saddam’s delegation was after livestock, cowpeas, or onions.

So yes, Rutten has this absolutely wrong. But it’s not the first time.


Black-on-White Hate Crime Perps Guilty

Filed under: Crime,Dog Trainer,General,Race — Patterico @ 9:19 pm

After a slew of L.A. Times articles casting doubt on the evidence, it turns out that the youths charged in that black-on-white hate crime in Long Beach have been found guilty.

Read the linked article, which (to me) drips with sympathy for the defense. Sample quote:

[Kiana] Alford, 18, was able to reconstruct the incident in extraordinary detail, describing who in the scrum punched and kicked which woman — including who threw lemons and pumpkins.

“That’s the one throwing lemons,” she told police of a 14-year-old girl she had never met. “She hit at least two people with them.”

Praise for Alford’s abilities’ as a witness — or pro-defense sarcasm?

Read it all — and you be the judge!

Oh, by the way: in a group beating, you don’t have to show which person administered which blows, if you can show all the defendants participated in the beating. Read the article in vain for that legal tidbit.

P.S. Another unbiased quote: “Bouas accused the defendants — and one 13-year-old boy in the audience — of being gang members.”

Because there are no 13-year-old gang members.

For what it’s worth — and it’s worth a lot to me — Mrs. P. personally knows the prosecutor and likes her.

Books Ordered

Filed under: Books,General,Music — Patterico @ 8:58 pm

Thanks to an exceptionally generous gift by my wonderful mother-in-law, I am ordering the following books from Amazon:

Supreme Conflict: The Inside Story of the Struggle for Control of the United States Supreme Court – Jan Crawford Greenburg

L.A. Rex – Will Beall

I have already ordered three albums by the band “The Stereo” — the precedessor to “Let Go” — and there is still plenty left on this gift certificate.

She has no idea what joy these gifts bring me. Though I am going to do my best to tell her, starting with this post.

Jessica Lange: “If you support the war against Islamic radicalism, you are not a nice person…”

Filed under: General — Justin Levine @ 7:41 am

[posted by Justin Levine]

Ok, actress Jessica Lange didn’t quite say that exactly. But she sure came close in my eyes.

Like many, I now consider myself one who agrees that Bush has handled Iraq poorly (among many other issues). However, this exchange between Lange and writer Michael Coveney had me cracking up by exposing the loony litmus tests that the Left often puts on people:


Fox News To Air Cut Footage From ‘Path To 9/11′

Filed under: General,Media Bias,Movies — Justin Levine @ 7:04 am

[posted by Justin Levine] 

Two immediate reactions to this story

1. I was always under the impression that the footage that was cut from the director’s original version of “Path To 9/11″ could be found on YouTube and elsewhere on the Internet, so I’m not sure that airing this footage now on Fox is really all that big of a deal.

2. I am (pleasantly) surprised that ABC hasn’t screamed “Copyright Violation!” as a way of avoiding embarrassment and further protecting the Clinton administration.  But I suppose that they still have time to do that. After all, when other people bring video cameras into theaters to record footage, they are actually brought up on criminal charges of copyright violations. (Fair use in this instance? I was under the impression that the MPAA had already successfully killed off that concept…)

I am confident about one thing though, the really important part of the Fox broadcast won’t be the film footage that they show – it will be the subsequent interview with writer Cyrus Nowrasteh and former CIA agent Michael Scheuer. They will no doubt be very effective in defending their respective work in light of recent revelations. That part will be informative and potentially important.

In this case, a “fake but accurate” film on how 9/11 came about remains entirely justified in my view.

[posted by Justin Levine]

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