Goat It Is

Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald — the man who has kept the blogosphere, if not quite the entire nation, on the edge of its seats for much of the past two-plus years in his ongoing work as the investigator into possible crimes attending the public outing of former undercover CIA agent Valery Plame — will not, after all, be pursuing a criminal indictment against White House svengali Karl Rove.

According to a statement released this morning by Mr. Rove’s attorney, Robert Luskin, Mr. Fitzgerald “has formally advised us that he does not anticipate seeking charges” against Mr. Rove.

Among the many things this morning’s announcement does and does not do, perhaps the one most likely to reverberate throughout the blogosphere will be the complete deflation of the credibility of truthout.org reporter Jason Leopold.

Some four weeks ago, in a development noted here, Mr. Leopold reported unequivocably on Mr. Rove’s indictment by the Grand Jury investigating l’ Affaire du Plame, and in the intrerim repeatedly stood by his sources and his story.

He was joined by Truthout editor and publisher Marc Ash, who, as late as yesterday, contended the charges against Mr. Rove were contained in a sealed federal indictment filed at about the time Mr. Leopold first reported his story.

This morning, like the streets of Baghdad and the hopes of American soccer fans, the reputations of Mr. Ash, Mr. Leopold, and their fledgeling news organization lay in waste.

As someone who has been, and remains critical of the mainstream media’s fulfillment of its duty to inform the public throughout the inconceivably hubristic reign of the Bush administration, I must say it brings me no pleasure to see Truthout go down in flames.

Already dismissed as the inconsequential ravings of moonbat leftists by members of what used to be called the Establishment, Truthout will undoubtedly have a difficult time attracting readership and respect going forward. Mr. Leopold is likely to become the butt of journalistic humor when the mention of his name doesn’t draw a response akin to “who?”

While few tears will be shed for the Truthout gang’s demise, the question still remains: how is it the deliberate exposure of an undercover national security asset’s identity, something the White House initially responded to with earnest assurances of the immediate firing of anyone involved, has produced a lone scapegoat in the form of I. Lewis Libby, the former Chief of Staff for Vice President Dick Cheney?

It may well be that no crime can be pinned on Mr. Rove, though he was certainly “involved” in the leak of Ms. Plame’s identity to the press.

Beyond that, however, it is a crime, a felony, no less, to knowingly disclose the identity of a covert operative of the nation’s intelligence community. Someone committed a crime in the disclosure of Ms. Plame’s identity to the general public — how is it that nearly three years after the fact neither the White House nor the Special Prosecutor’s office has articulated a plausible explanation for who it was?

I’m reminded of the refrain Bill Murray perfected in Meatballs, “It just doesn’t matter.”


  1. Butler Crittenden - June 13, 2006 @ 7:56 pm

    Nicely said, though ignoring that the “leak” to Leopold and Truthout could have come from Rove himself, in some disguised fashion, to make Truthout look bad. Wouldn’t be the first time for such a trick by Rove. After all, Fitzgerald’s boss is one of the Head Crooks and Criminals in Dubya’s regime, and to hope that Fitz would sacrifice two goats instead of one was a bit extravagant on our parts. But hope so, I did.

    Of course Rove was involved, as was Cheney. Thoughtful and well-read Americans know this. Now if the regime can convince I. Scooter to go quietly into the night, perhaps for a big enough monetary pay-off or by promising to spare his family, then Rove and Cheney will be “home free.” But if I. Scooter balks and squawks, Rove and Cheney may later be indicted by Fitz. We older guys never stop hoping.

  2. lonbud - June 13, 2006 @ 9:00 pm

    It’s interesting to consider who might have been the “knowledgable sources” Leopold and Ash seemed so willing to stand by as they were left twisting in the wind for the past month.

    Even up until yesterday!

    Are these guys the most gullible “journalists” in America, or what, exactly, happened that they could have thought they would be the only ones in the country to have the story? If they had the story, could they really imagine that no one else did and that everyone else was too chicken to report it?

    I’m getting to be an older guy myself these days, and while I maintain undying faith in the victory of truth and in the vindiction of right thought and right action, I don’t suspect Scooter will turn out to be much of a songbird.

    These guys are all going to end up just like Reagan, incomprehensibly feted in their times of dying. One can only hope they suffer similarly horrific passages into the round of interminable suffering that awaits them.

  3. Tam O’Tellico - June 13, 2006 @ 9:49 pm

    Don’t know about Leopold’s “sources”, but you can rest assured the fix is in on the affaire de plame. I’m not suggesting Fitzgerald has been bought off, but if no charges are brought against Rove, it is because someone has quietly suggested it is in the country’s — or Fitzgerald’s — best interest to not pursue the matter.

    In fact, no charges have been brought against anyone for outing Plame. The charges against Libby, and the presumed charges against Rove, are for perjury. Apparently, no one outed Plame. What is far more likely is that so many bastards in this administration outed her simultaneously that it can’t be proved who was the first.

    If it’s true that Rove won’t be indicted, what are we to conclude about missing and miraculously “discovered” “lost” emails, testimony changed several times during at least five grand jury appearances, prior warnings from reporters to defense attorneys, and the very outing itself? Somebody is guilty as sin.

    And anyone who thinks Libby is going to do time has forgotten that these days a President’s final days in office are not reserved for the banquet circuit but for granting pardons. I can see it now — The Scooter Show on Fox following Ollie North.

  4. deep throat - June 14, 2006 @ 12:47 am

    Nice call Tam – “Scooter the Straight Shooter” sounds like a show Fox would sell… right before “Sybil the Soothsayer” of Network fame.

    And while we are in the fantasy world of politics, I mean movies, let’s not forget yet another gem from Meatballs which applies to this mess. As the loudspeaker announces the winner of the “guess the meat” contest for dinner, little Johnny D won by saying “some kind of pork”!

    That’s what we got – some kind of pork.

  5. Michael Herdegen - June 14, 2006 @ 6:27 am

    “Conspiracy & cover-up” rather than “I guess that I was wrong about that one” ?
    Very mature.

    At least lon resisted doing that in the main post, to which I sincerely say, “good job”.

    Apparently, no one outed Plame.

    Rather, it wasn’t a crime, since Plame wasn’t an undercover operative.

    One can only hope they suffer similarly horrific passages into the round of interminable suffering that awaits them.

    Is this the example that you wish to set ?
    Remember that we’re all connected in the web of Existence.

  6. lonbud - June 14, 2006 @ 6:43 am

    Except that Plame was an undercover operative, as the White House acknowleged at the outset. Only when it became clear that some very high heads would have to roll if the law were to apply did the rules of engagement change.

    This entire episode is but a further example of BushCo draping itself in the divine right of kings.

    And yes, Michael, you are correct we’re all connected in the web of Existence. However, each of us as individual actors is responsible for her own karma. I don’t wish to set any kind of example by taking temporal comfort in the eternal suffering to which w, shotgun, rummy, and krewe have dammned themselves.

    In fact, they provide us all with a rich opportunity to develop in ourselves the very compassion those men lack in this lifetime, the absence of which is the ultimate cause of their suffering.

  7. Michael Herdegen - June 14, 2006 @ 7:20 am

    So you’re saying that taking pleasure in the suffering of others is the karmically-correct thing to do ?

    You may want to check with Buddha about that, and Christ too.

  8. Michael Herdegen - June 14, 2006 @ 7:24 am

    …they provide us all with a rich opportunity to develop in ourselves the very compassion those men lack in this lifetime…

    One can only hope they suffer similarly horrific passages into the round of interminable suffering that awaits them.

    I’m sure that you can see the conflict between those sentences.

  9. lonbud - June 14, 2006 @ 1:24 pm

    See the conflict, ideed, I do. I have much to achieve yet on my own journey to nirvana.

  10. Meredtih Charpantier - June 14, 2006 @ 2:49 pm

    how high shall we hold the bar? and how low shall we let it fall?

    is there not some preferential setting of standards here as to what counts as wrong and what sins ought to be payed for -which sinners are going to have to anti -up.
    is harboring a vengeful thought akin to, I dunno, unjustifiably bombing a nation, robbing another one blind, ransacking the institutions of the latter while playing dirty to attempt to justify the former… really.
    and furthermore
    if it is one’s karma to come back as a bug… one might get stepped on.
    -not a buddist

  11. Michael Herdegen - June 15, 2006 @ 5:44 am

    The “Ecological President” strikes again:

    Hawaiian island chain will get national-monument status
    Elizabeth Weise, USA TODAY

    President Bush is expected Thursday to create the world’s largest marine sanctuary in a chain of uninhabited islands and atolls 1,200 miles northwest of the main Hawaiian Islands.

    White House officials say Bush will elevate the area now known as the Northwestern Hawaiian Island Coral Reef Ecosystem Reserve to national-monument status. The designation will immediately afford the region the strongest legal protections, with fishing and commercial operations being phased out over the next five years and visitors primarily limited to scientific researchers.

    “It’s the ocean equivalent of Yellowstone, Yosemite and the Grand Canyon all rolled into one,” says Joshua Reichert, director of the environmental program of the Pew Charitable Trusts in Philadelphia. […]

    There are 13 national marine sanctuaries in U.S. waters, and White House officials say this new one will be seven times larger than all of them combined.

  12. lonbud - June 15, 2006 @ 5:21 pm


    The “Empty Hat President” eyes his legacy is a little more like it.

  13. Tam O’Tellico - June 15, 2006 @ 6:55 pm

    Politics and Religion

    Hang in there, Lon, Meredith has it exactly right – there are degrees of evil. As for bad Karma, as far as I’m aware neither Buddha nor Christ promised or expected perfection in this life. Besides, the Universe has already forgiven you – The Great Nothingness is far too busy counting the atrocities in Iraq and Darfur to be bothered with a remark born of justifiable frustration.

    Michael, as usual, offers his black and white view of everything. I offer the words of Walt Whitman “If I contradict myself, I contradict myself.” If you can’t see the wisdom of that remark, you are probably a diehard Bush supporter. It strikes me as beyond absurd that anyone would even feign umbrage at a remark made in a fit of pique when there are so many real and terrible evils in this world. Like this administration and this Congress.

    Michael wants us to cheer for the marine sanctuary – so hooray – now if BushCo and Congress can just kick their addiction to Abramoffocaine and reverse the Sweatshops Protection Bill and provide some sanctuary for those poor wage-slave Asian women in the Marianna Islands.

    Speaking of Bad Karma, how about the Great Decider and Iraq? Before this war started I all but begged our minister to speak out against it – to no avail. “It’s all in God’s hands now”, he said, as if that was a responsible answer. “But what if you’re right, Preacher,” I said, “and God thinks this war is a bad idea?” He had no answer, but I believe the anarchy in the streets of Iraq and the growing American body count have provided one.

    No sane person seeks leaders who are perfect, rather they seek leaders who realize when they’ve made a mistake and are man (or woman, Condoleezza) enough to admit it and change directions. Far better a flip-flopper than a man who steadfastly goes in the wrong direction. In other words, if you are falling down a well, don’t stay the course; grab a rope and at least try to change directions.

    Two more bits of wisdom seem apropos:

    “A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of small minds.” Emerson
    “There is no virtue in being sincerely wrong.” Rev. Bob Childress

    Real men and real Conservatives now recognize the greedy thugs of BushCo and the K-Street Republicans for what they are: bagmen for Big Oil and Big Business. The only support these jackals have left comes from those blinded by the light of Big Jesus. Papal Pomp, Crystal Cathedrals, and Get Rich Religion all make a travesty of the teachings and the simple life of the man whose name they claim and shame.

    Off I-75 in Ohio is a one of those giant factory-warehouse-churches that, save for the twenty-foot cross, could easily be mistaken for a Sam’s Club. This one also sports a forty-foot tall concrete Jesus, his arms outstretched to the Interstate, as he rises waist-high from a reflecting pool. I guess having been thus compromised and commercialized; Jesus must have lost the ability to walk on water. Or maybe it’s all that concrete.

    Each time I pass this travesty of Christianity, I utter a small and simple prayer, hoping someone inside that cavernous corruption will hear: Feed the Poor.

    Like Whitman, I hear America singing – but it is an off-key, off-color hymn. I hear the bleating of sheep as the moneychangers continue the slaughter in the churches and the halls of Congress. I hear poor, old gay Walt mumbling as he walks the streets of New Orleans or Washington, D.C., amazed that the battle is still far from over and struggling to comprehend how after such promise and such sacrifice, we have yet to witness “a new birth of freedom”.

    O, Captain, my Captain, we thought the race was won
    But bringing love to this cruel world – we’ve only just begun.

  14. Michael Herdegen - June 16, 2006 @ 6:38 am

    The “Empty Hat President” eyes his legacy is a little more like it.

    Michael wants us to cheer for the marine sanctuary – so hooray – now if BushCo and Congress can just [save the world].

    One of the very most basic techniques for managing people, (as well as for training animals), is to praise actions and projects that meet with one’s approval, if one would like to see more of similar actions.
    Denigrating those actions and projects, on the other hand, is a sure way to see less of the same.

    Complaining about actions and policies that one doesn’t like is all well and good, but when someone acts in a way that one would normally approve of, if one fails to cheer it simply because of WHO did it, it sends a clear signal that those whom one disagrees with should just ignore one, as they cannot win one’s support or approval, no matter what they do.
    Therefore, as they have no incentive to consider or accommodate opposing positions, they’ll simply do more of what one dislikes, and less of what one does like.

    This falls under the heading of “How to Fail to Win Friends or Influence People”.

    Michael, as usual, offers his black and white view of everything.

    Since that’s the same as saying that “Michael, as usual, offers his analytical and decisive view of everything”, I thank you for the compliment.

    “A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of small minds.” Emerson

    The key word being “foolish”, for two reasons.
    Since consistency is usually a virtue, Emerson wisely wrote that one must determine that it’s being ill-practiced, before it becomes an evil, a “hobgoblin”; and also, many foolish people read the line as “consistency is the hallmark of small minds”, which is clearly a misreading.

    “There is no virtue in being sincerely wrong.” Rev. Bob Childress

    But if one is sincere, how can one know that one is wrong ?
    If one knows that one is wrong, then one isn’t being sincere, no ?

    All the Rev. Childress is saying, is that “There is no virtue in being sincere, if I think that you’re wrong.”
    Well, thanks for stating the obvious, Big Bob.

    It strikes me as beyond absurd that anyone would even feign umbrage at a remark made in a fit of pique…

    Which means that the exchange between lonbud and myself was not understood by you. If you wish to know what it was about, I’m sure that lonbud will be glad to explain.

    I offer the words of Walt Whitman “If I contradict myself, I contradict myself.”

    A person who often contradicts herself may make an amusing dinner guest, but nobody takes such a person seriously. Indeed, how could they ?
    That’s why Kerry’s “I voted for it, before I voted against it” gaffe was so damaging.

    It’s a shame that nobody thought to advise him to quote ol’ Walt – that surely would have gone over big with the American public, and Kerry would be sitting in the Oval Office right now.

    Also, it’s blackly humorous that one could harbor the idea that it’s no big deal if one acts or speaks in a way that contradicts the fundamental philosophy or values that one professes to hold dear, and with which one guides one’s life.

    But wait, it gets even better !!
    Suppose that such a person, believing that acting in contradiction to one’s claimed cherished beliefs is a trivial thing, then proceeds to lecture Christians about what they should believe, and then to berate American Christians for not behaving enough like this person’s vision of how Christ might act.

    The hypocrisy and irony are nearly too rich to put into words.

  15. Michael Herdegen - June 16, 2006 @ 8:41 am

    You on the other hand fail to understand the difference between a fit of pique and unfit to be President of the United States.

    lonbud and I were discussing lonbud during the exchange, not President Bush, so I question whether you do in fact “understand the argument perfectly”, especially since it wasn’t an argument at all.

    You find lying about a blow-job to be an impeachable offense…

    And yet Clinton wasn’t impeached simply because he lied about receiving oral sex from his delicious intern.
    You may wish to read some American history, so that you can comment intelligently about the subject in the future.

    Further, I find it hilarious that you rail against various religious sects for failing to put right what you find to be wrong with the world, but you also dismiss perjury and subversion of justice by America’s highest elected official with a shrug of the shoulder and a flip of the hand.

  16. lonbud - June 16, 2006 @ 12:35 pm

    One of the very most basic techniques…is to praise actions and projects that meet with one’s approval, if one would like to see more of similar actions.

    Mr. Bush’s intention to turn a large swath of the Pacific Ocean into a “National Monument” is a curious thing, actually.

    I think it’s fine whenever fishing and commercial operations can be reigned in to halt or slow despoilation of our Mother Earth, but it strikes me as laughable that the President would show an interest in preserving something in the middle of the largest body of water on the planet (territorial jurisdiction over which rests with the United States on tenuous grounds at best), when he shows virtually no interest in preserving or stemming the exploitation of any scrap of the Continental 48.

    “Ecological President” my patootie. Who are you tring to kid, Michael?

  17. Tam O’Tellico - June 16, 2006 @ 1:00 pm

    I will draw my comfort from the fact that Lon understands that I understand what you don’t understand I understand – understand?

    As for our Ecology President, at the moment he’s busy muddying the ecological waters with a proposal to sell off more than 300,000 acres of protected lands, some of which are right here where I live – so please, no ANWR arguments about polar bears, okay.

    If these followers of James Wattian illogic succeed in peddling off our lands to pay for their foolishness and to enrich their cronies, we will soon have The Toyota Grand Canyon and The Dubai Smoky Mountain National Park. If you think that’s a joke, you also probably think J. Steven Griles didn’t get his hands dirty at the Dept of Interior.

  18. Michael Herdegen - June 17, 2006 @ 3:47 am

    “Ecological President” my patootie. Who are you tring to kid, Michael?

    Yes, “Eco Prez” is a jest.
    As with the CAFE standard increase story, I was just wondering who would be able to put their own self-interest over their base emotions.

    Which, by the way, is one of the flaws of economic theory: It assumes that people act rationally, which is only mostly true.
    The residents of the former Yugoslavia, for instance, would have been best-served by working together, or at the very least by separating peacefully, as did the former Czechoslovakia.

    But, they preferred to kill each other, even though it was also cutting off their noses to spite their faces.

    …we will soon have The Toyota Grand Canyon and The Dubai Smoky Mountain National Park.

    Well, what’s wrong with that ?

    If Toyota wants to pay us $ 100 billion for essentially nothing, why not take the money ?
    Few people will use the full name anyhow, except when writing formally. It would still remain just “the Grand Canyon” to most.

    [The Bush Admin. wants] to sell off more than 300,000 acres of protected lands, some of which are right here where I live…

    So the State of Tennessee should buy them from the Feds, if the locals want them to remain protected, no ?

    If the state or local governments won’t pony up, and no group of concerned citizens comes forward with the money, then obviously few care if those lands become private.

  19. lonbud - June 17, 2006 @ 8:10 am

    Well, to put the consideration of rationality in a more appropriate context, then, the citizens of the United States would be better served by a government that utilized its resources to increase security of its homeland than it is by one that squanders human and economic capital in an unwinnable war against an undefinable foe abroad.

    But the present government prefers to expend resources in a profligate manner producing no discernable benefit to the many while unjustly enriching a few interests with close political and economic ties to its leaders.

    Not rational at all.

  20. Michael Herdegen - June 18, 2006 @ 4:23 am

    If that was what was actually happening, then of course you’d be correct.

    You might wish to look more closely at your “unwinnable” war, since it’s been, y’know, won.

  21. lonbud - June 18, 2006 @ 8:43 am

    If the WOT has been “won” by anyone, it’s the bad guys who’ve walked off with the prize.

    Since 9/11, Americans have gladly capitulated to the demands of a paranoid, secrecy-obsessed administration which has imposed on us all the surrender of rights to privacy that not long ago were considered the very foundations of our free society.

    But it’s not just here that terrorism has won prominent purchase over the public’s fearful imagination: the other day in Japan an entire police station in Fukuoka prefecture was paralyzed, five famlies in its neighborhood were forced to evacuate their homes, and roads were closed while a bomb squad was called in to diffuse what turned out to be a case of beer.

    Rumors and unattended packages now have the power to shut down office buildings, evacuate airports, and disrupt the normal activities of just about any place you’d care to name.

    The authority of the Police State was further legitimized by the U.S. Supreme Court last week when a fundamental principle of our right to privacy — the right to be secure in one’s home — fell to the exigencies of clean, successful, swift prosecution of “the criminals” in our midst.

    Enjoy your “victory,” Mr. Herdegen.

  22. lonbud - June 18, 2006 @ 11:35 am

    In other news from the camp of the victors in the unwinnable war against an undefinable foe, U.S. troops on the ground, in the air, and in the water near the towns of Karagol and Yusufiya, Iraq continue the search for two American soldiers captured by masked men in track suits who pulled a dusk ambush on the Americans’ Humvee at a traffic checkpoint Friday.

    Another typical day in the capital city, Baghdad, saw seven “insurgent” atacks kill thirty-eight Iraqis and wound an additional seventy-five.

    Despite its having entered its last throes well over a year ago (according to U.S. Vice President “Deadeye” Dick Cheney), and having already been defeated (according to IJHTS conservative factotum Michael Herdegen), forces loosly aligned with the cause of terrorism can’t seem to quit the war game.

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